Fine Art: Joe Mangrum

My day job is in property management and I’m fortunate to be a part of some pretty amazing events and opportunities because of that.  Last July, with the assistance of the marvelous King Art Collective, we invited renowned sand artist Joe Mangrum to revisit his Chicago roots and create a piece for display in our lobby.  You can read more about who he is and how he got to where he did on his website.  It is truly an incredible process.  I love photography because I can look at something that is already there in a certain way and using my camera I can show my vision to someone else.  Joe takes a blank space and sees something that is not there and with incredible precision and handfuls of sand produces his creation from thin air so everyone can see it.  I am a big admirer of anyone who can draw freehand (my husband included) but to see it done with such symmetry and with sand is truly something else.

What I particularly found interesting is that we took something impermanent and made it as permanent as we could by roping off the area from foot traffic.  And still it was affected by the environment surrounding it.  It collected dust balls in some areas, others were smudged by curious passerby who stretched their feet beneath the rope unable to believe it was sand, and best of all it was paid a visit by an out-of-his-element bird who was attracted by the bright colors.  He was relocated back outside, but not before leaving his own mark on the work in the form of tiny foot prints.

Knowing that eventually the piece would be swept up to make way for a new artist I decided to have some fun.  I brought my daughter in on a Saturday and let her go to town.  She didn’t hesitate to walk under the rope and gleefully transform the precise and deliberate lines into something chaotic.  It was incredible to watch her.  She took her time at first exploring until she was racing around like a maniac.  Then she got too comfortable and started eating the sand, so it was time to go.  I hope you enjoy these images of the construction and ultimate deconstruction of this amazing work.














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