Beach artist wows visitors

From recreations of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and original creations, Filipino Nathaniel Alapide has been turning heads with his work.
Nathaniel Alapide with his Eid present to the people of Dubai at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.  Pawan Singh / The National
Nathaniel Alapide with his Eid present to the people of Dubai at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Nathaniel Alapide has a message for the people of Dubai in honour of Eid Al Adha.

The Filipino has taken up his trusty garden rake to spread his best wishes for the occasion across Jumeirah Beach.

“I don’t really have an idea of what I will be drawing until I get out on to the beach and wait for the spark of a design to come to me,” Nathaniel says.

“I don’t mind that what I make gets washed out after a few hours as the process is really enjoyable.”

His works at the beach have included recreations of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, as well as original art.

Nathaniel used to draw in the sand as a hobby, but managers at Jumeirah Beach Hotel saw his work and offered him a position as full-time artist.

“I’ve been working there since June and it’s been great as I’m doing what I love,” he says. “The responses I get from guests are really positive.

“If we have a VIP staying I try to do something special for them. We recently had the singer Najwa Karam at the hotel so I did a special picture of her as a surprise. But in general, my aim is to make it a memorable stay for all our guests.”

First inspired to create a tribute to his late grandmother two years ago, Nathaniel has been perfecting and developing his craft.

“I drew a tree in tribute for my grandmother because she was like a tree for my brothers and sisters by providing us with shade,” he says.

But using the beach as a canvas had its challenges.

“The sand needs to be wet for me to do the artwork so I have to check what time the tide goes out in the mornings before I start,” he said.

“That usually gives me a couple of a hours to get draw the picture on the sand before the tide comes in and washes it away.”

His biggest creation was his recreation of The Starry Night, which measured 40 metres by 50 metres.

“It’s a different experience drawing on a beach than a piece of paper so the creative process is a little different as well,” Nathaniel says. “Due to the huge scale I try to imagine myself zooming out about the beach to try get things in the right proportions.

“During the summer it got really hot at times but I get so involved with the process of making the picture that I don’t even notice the conditions.”

Salwa Al Obaidli, communications manager at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, says Nathaniel’s work helps to give guests a unique experience.

“We have about 2 kilometres of breach stretch, which is quiet a lot and as well as this all our rooms face the water,” Ms Al Obaidli says.

“When we saw Nathaniel’s art work we felt he would be the perfect addition to our team and provide guests with something that is totally unique.”

Published: September 10, 2016 04:00 AM


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