Well known for his 3D-style pumpkin sculptures, Ray Villafane of Villafane Studios is not just skilled at pumpkin carving, but apparently he can also build a mean sand sculpture. Using wet sand as his medium, he piles and sculpts what was once a childhood pastime into unbelievable works of art. Among his creations includes “Chessie Trunkston”, a whimsical full-scale depiction of an elephant playing chess with a mouse, and his towering recreation of the 14th century epic, “Dante’s Inferno”.
A lot of work goes into making a good sand sculpture. Sculptors need patience and endurance to create their masterpieces from thousands of tons of sand. “I think every sculptor needs to mess around with sand. No other material that I know of allows for you to complete such huge pieces in a relatively short amount of time,” says the Arizona based artist, who has been practicing sand sculpture for nearly a decade.
After seeing him compete on the first of the Food Network’s Pumpkin Challenge Shows, Villafane was contacted by a professional sand sculpting company and invited to Italy to participate in their annual holiday sand sculpting project. Though he had never sculpted in sand, he took the opportunity and in 2008, created his first sand sculpture. He has been traveling the world to build his sand sculptures ever since.
His latest sculpture is on display under the Sanderson Lincoln Pavillion in downtown Carefree, AZ through the end of August.