Reon Zeff with his sand art. Picture: Supplied.
Reon Zeff with his sand art. Picture: Supplied.

King of sandcastles in Cape Town beaches

By Shanice Naidoo Time of article published Jun 19, 2021

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Cape Town - With a bucket of water in one hand and sand in the other, Reon Zeff is the king of sandcastles on Cape Town shorelines.

The sandman has always had a strong passion for art and has been sculpting out of sand for the last 20 years.

“I have done art my whole life.

“One day I was sitting in Clifton Beach. I picked up an ice cream stick and I made a step pyramid out of it with sand that just unleashed my passion.

“I trained myself for several years and learnt the techniques and taught myself every day, then I ended up working and training with the world champs.

“That then just super bolted me into what I knew I wanted to do and I was the 30 years old at that stage,” said Zeff.

Reon Zeff’s work.

He did art throughout school and then studied interior design.

He went to New York and worked for an architect.

Zeff gets to the beach around 5.30am and in the darkness he prepares to sculpt.

When the first light breaks he starts.

After unleashing his passion he went to the beach for a year and a half.

It was a calling for him. One of his first sculptures was a castle.

Unfortunately, through Covid-19 he was hit badly with many corporates pulling out.

So at the moment, he has been doing sculptures opposite Ons Huise in Blouberg since October last year with a donation bucket to survive.

He said it’s been going okay but now it’s kind of dead because no one is there during the week so it’s not viable for only a weekend.

Sand sculpture by Reon Zeff. Picture: Supplied.

Over the 20 years, he still looks at a sculpture he has done and is so overwhelmed, it ignites in him a good feeling.

“This also keeps me fit.

“The art form itself to me is so beautiful because it is organic there are no chemicals involved.

“Its organic art in its purest form.

“After doing a sculpture and I get home then I decide what I feel in my heart that I am going to do.

“I love animal life, marine life, and castles.

“If I am going to do a turtle I would do it in such a way that I haven’t done before.

“I have done quite a few turtles before, so I would make it different,” said Zeff.

Some of the most memorable sculptures for him included the inside of a Polo Jetta to scale.

He also recalled one he did for Caltex where he sculpted a full-sized generic car and the engine to scale which took him about four days to complete.

The biggest one he did was for Vodacom July which took him seven days to complete.

“If I am building for a corporation or something that’s more technical and I have to get through the job properly but when I am free sculpting, doing what I want to do then it's a different story that goes through my mind. It’s like total Zen.

“It is just a very exhilarating feeling

When he makes a sculpture on the beach depending on what it is it takes him about three to four hours, some even six to seven.

He does this just with sand and water.

Zeff uses some tools to help him sculpt as well.

“Everyone asks if there is a bonding agent or cement, there is nothing, it’s just God’s given gift.

“Just sand and water. It all just boils down to the compaction.”

His latest sculpture was a BitCoin with two hands holding it up.

He draws some of his interest from Pinterest and then applies it in a drawing which he translates into a sand sculpture.

Some of his other sculptures are completely spontaneous.

Palette knives are usually used by him to sculpt.

Zeff said it all boils down to physics and knowing what you can and can’t carve.

He said a sculpture can last up to a year depending on a few things like the weather.

Weekend Argus

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