DESTIN — Most artists would be disappointed to learn that their works would vanish a few hours or days after creation, but not Rick Mungeam.
The Emerald Coast sand sculptor makes works of art out of the sugar white sand of the Emerald Coast. He says he can be spotted on the beach making a sculpture multiple times throughout the month and giving lessons during the summer.
“It’s not a permanent art form," Mungeam said. "There’s a unique draw to this type of art. I have to recognize it’s just sand. We photograph what we’re doing and then we walk away.
"I look back a few times and then I move on."
The Santa Rosa Beach man was an architect for 40 years before becoming a sand sculptor. He calls designing high-end and resort homes a “prior life.”
After dissolving his company, Mungeam and his wife Capri began traveling. The pair was visiting South Padre Island, Texas, when Mungeam saw Master Sand Sculptor Andy Hancock during a demonstration. Mungeam had an impromptu lesson from Hancock and began working his way along the coastline.
“I was building something every day on the beach, the skills were coming along,” Mungeam said.
It wasn’t until two years ago when he built a heart sandcastle one day and caught the eye of a wedding party that he realized his hobby could become a business. Now, Mungeam develops sculptures for a variety of clients from weddings to corporate events.
“Your eye will be inspired by different things and you try to recreate them," he said. "I’m fairly new at what I’m doing, so I’m still exploring and trying to find out what my style is."