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Fred Dobbs – Creating Castles in the Sand

Fred Dobbs
Fred Dobbs has been sculpting for most of his life. In fact, his desire to sculpt was kindled at the tender age of 5 by his father, who was simply doing what dads do - playing in the sand with their children. Fred reflects that sculpturing started for him that summer, on a beach, in his native Ireland when he was buried waist deep in sand. “On that day, my father and I created a convertible sand car with me in the driver’s seat fashioning a steering wheel while my father built the body and wheels.”

Fred’s family immigrated to Canada shortly after their day on the beach. His parents viewed Canada as an excellent place to live and raise Fred and his two sisters. Since then, Fred has called Victoria home. He studied fine arts at the Victoria College of Art, and commercial art at Camosun College in the late 1970s. 

By the late 1980s, the sculptural fire was rekindled when Fred discovered the art of sand sculpting. He began competing in competitions in Canada; first Whiterock, then Parksville, and what followed was a string of events along the Pacific coast as far south as Imperial Beach, California.  For 8 years Fred collected his friends and headed to the beach for 'Serious Fun' in the sun, slowly building a reputation and winning prestigious sand sculpting events across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Germany. Some of Fred’s smaller sand sculptures involve turning 25 tons of sand into masterpieces such as “Bearly Possible” which won the People’s Choice at the 2012 PNE. Larger sculptures use as much at 5,000 tons of sand and tower at a staggering 50 feet.

Fred also works in concrete and cold cast bronze. His piece displayed in the Sidney Seaside Sculpture Walk entitled, Sea Otter Plaque is part of his Ocean in Motion series and is cast in bronze.  Ghost Cat, a life-size sculpture of a cougar, has been cast in both concrete and bronze and will be on display at the Sculptors in Action event taking place in conjunction with Sidney’s Annual ArtSea Festival. 

Artists website

Bearly Possible

Sand Sculpture entitled 
Bearly Possible by Fred Dobbs

Winner of People's Choice at the 2012 Pacific National Exhibition