Diving - sand sculpture
I learned how to dive many years ago off the Island of Ko Toa in Thailand. The water is so clear there, I could see for hundreds of meters in every direction. Floating in the depths as I controlled my breath to move around like a hot air balloon really felt like flying.
I have taken many courses over the years in other countries, trying to improve my skills and pushing myself as I explore deeper and for longer. The only thing that really freaks me out is the blinkered view you get with your mask. This is doubly so when you are on a night dive when all you can see is what the beam of your torch illuminates. A cone of light projects out and all the fish try to flee it. Knowing that if they are in this super-troopers beam preditors will zip in and gobble them up. All you see are these shadows looming just outside your view. Bigger fish there wanting, to eat.
Sound and gravity are different underwater. Sound travels in water but, it is much faster than in air so that is one sense confused. Sometimes it is also difficult to know which way is up especially if you get Nitrogen narcosis (a kind of drunkenness brought on by breathing air under pressure). The main sense you can rely on is your sight and with the mask on, this is reduced. If you suffer from claustrophobia it can get quite scary at times. Thinking, what might be there creeping up behind you.
Let me put this in perspective
Although this sculpture is not my proudest moment It does in some ways reflect how It feels for me while diving. It was made over three days at the Duncannon sand sculpture festival here in Ireland. The theme was Under the Sea and I was to make the sculpture just inside the entrance.
Using an extremely forced perspective, I wanted to give a really wide-angle view of a diver swimming towards the viewer. Behind him is an attacking shark.
I did like the idea from a visual point of view but also the fact that it gave the sense that when you are diving you are very much in your head and particularly your eyes. So giving them such prominence made it work on the two levels.
From the side, it looked completely silly. All squished up into a mess of distorted forms. That was Ok as we wanted the audience to keep moving to the next sculpture. This area can be a bit of a bottleneck so, you don't want people hanging out there looking at our amazing work. In the end, I think I achieved criteria.
The shark is comical and so badly carved I don't know how I let it slide. I think the main issue was that I wanted to show his teeth as he snuck up on the diver. Opening the mouth meant that I needed to hollow out the inside but of course, that is not always possible especially in Duncannon sand which is quite soft. So, I had to leave a mass of sand in there for support.
At the end of the day, it was an alright piece. Not my best, although it had some sort of atmosphere.