Meet the Sand Masters
Meet the Sand Masters: Rusty, Kirk, Sue, Andy, Matt and Morgan.
Rusty Croft began sculpting sand professionally in 1997 while working on a world record-setting sand sculpture in San Diego, CA. That project garnered him international acclaim. He has participated in contests and festivals worldwide including China, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan, winning many awards and accolades along the way. Croft continues to find the most pleasure in traveling to new places, meeting new people and watching as they react to his extraordinary creations.
Croft is one of the leading experts in sand sculpting for the Silicon Valley elite, with a host of national and international awards and experience working on world record-setting sculptures. He has been invited to sculpt sand in dozens of different countries, as well as participate in cultural exchange programs highlighting team building, alternative thinking and communication. Croft also enjoys working with children and donates his time establishing sand sculpture workshops that develop creativity, teamwork and fun for the Monterey County Parks and Recreation Department.
Kirk Rademaker began building sandcastles in 1997 at Stinson Beach, CA. After working for a construction company for several years, Rademaker quit his day job to launch his career in sand sculpting. Known as “The Sand Guy,” he has done projects in all regions of the world including Turkey, Portugal and Belgium. Further, while representing corporate clients in France, Puerto Rico and the United States, Rademaker completed sand projects in Switzerland, Austria and Spain. In 2010, Rademaker was part of the U.S. team at the world championships of sand sculpting, where he took second place.
Sue McGrew stumbled upon sand sculpting while playing at the beach in Tacoma, WA when she was 17 years old. A sand sculptor noticed McGrew’s enthusiasm and taught her to compact sand like a professional. She instantly fell in love with the art and a year later, attended her first sand festival in Zeebrugge, Belgium. While there, McGrew had her first glimpse into the life of a professional sand sculptor and started her network of friends from around the world.
While attending the University of Southern California, McGrew juggled college life and sand sculpting, working in the theater department during the academic year and leaving the summer months open for the exciting life of a sand artist. McGrew has demonstrated her artistic skills through sculptures carved in Europe and through competitions in the United States and Canada. She has even spilled over into the realm of ice carving. McGrew has earned several sand sculpting competition awards including first place solos at Revere Beach, MA 2009, second place solos at Port Angeles, WA invitational 2010, and third place solos at Revere Beach, MA in 2010.
Andy Gertler is a professional sculptor who specializes in the ephemeral arts. He has traveled the world, working with a variety of different elements including sand, ice, snow and pumpkins!
Gertler has been working professionally for various sand sculpture companies for over 12 years. In 2002, he started his own company, Sand Sculpt USA, where he focuses on sculpting and team building for corporate, charity and private events. Gertler has worked with a wide range of different clients, including Oprah’s O magazine, Martha Stewart, Cablevision, Atlantis Resort Bahamas, Coppertone, Armani Exchange, Yahoo! and many, many more… Gertler and his team received the Silver and Bronze Medals at The World Ice Art Championships in 2009 in the multi-block and single-block events.
When the goblins and ghouls come out, Gertler turns his knife on unsuspecting pumpkins. He performs 3D pumpkin carving demonstrations for festivals and corporate themed Halloween parties.
Gertler owns and operates Flashbooty Animation Studios creating custom websites and games and apps. He is also an accomplished singer/songwriter/musician who restored brass, woodwinds and stringed musical instruments for 20 years prior to going into the visual arts field.
Matt Long has sculpted sand for over 10 years, doing so professionally since 2002. An artist, woodworker and musician, Long has been commissioned to sculpt sand by an array of companies and organizations including Disney, The Curacao Department of Tourism and Time Warner. Long has sculpted sand in Rockefeller Plaza on three separate occasions, and his work has been featured at the James Cohan Gallery in New York, NY and at the Parrish House Museum Art Gallery in South Hampton, NY. He has carved several 9/11 memorial sculptures, which have been presented at the World Trade Center site, FDNY “Tunnel to Towers” Run and Freedom Flight 9/11 in Long Beach, NY. He is also a regular competitor at professional sand sculpting competitions around the United States. In 2011, Long was part of the U.S. team at the world championships of sand sculpting.
Long is the designer of Can You Dig It Sand Tools and creator of The Can You Dig It Sand Tools Super Deluxe Sand Sculpting Kit. In 2005, Can You Dig It Sand Tools were selected by the Parents’ Choice Foundation as one of the “Best Twenty Five Toys of the Last Twenty Five Years.” Can You Dig It Sand Tools sponsors numerous amateur sand sculpting contests nationally, and organizes The Cape May Amateur Sand Sculpting Contest in Cape May, NJ.
Morgan Rudluff began her artistic endeavors in her own section of her father's professional ceramic workshop in 1987 at the age of three. Rudluff considers herself to be an eclectically-educated science nerd who scrapped it all to live and work as an artist.
In 2007, Rudluff began sewing, salvaging and re-purposing garments, beginning what was to become the seeds of her own "Sew Stoked!" creative collection of clothing, costumes and accessories. That same year, through a mutual friend, Rudluff met Kirk Rademaker, “The Sand Guy.” Within a year, Rudluff decided to make a career in sand sculpting, and has been carving sand and providing instruction for over five years. Additionally, she continues to create custom funky clothing and small scale junk art.
Chris Guinto discovered his passion for sand sculpting in 2002 when a veteran sculptor saw him carving some figures on a New Jersey beach and invited him to participate in an amateur contest. After winning second place, Guinto soon found himself competing against some of the world’s best carvers at his first master sand sculpting competition, the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach. Since then, he has been invited to sculpt sand at competitions and events throughout North America and Europe.
Guinto has traveled through the jungles of Africa, the bush lands of northern Australia and deep within Central America to study animal behavior, specifically crocodiles. He also works as a Wildlife Control Operator in the Florida Keys, relocating wild iguanas and crocodiles. It’s not surprising that Guinto's sculptures tend to feature the vast diversity of the animal kingdom. He and his wife operate The Sand Box in Key West, Florida, where they teach sand sculpting and host events.