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Sam Dougados transformed the beach into his personal office, and the world into its subsidiaries. Join us as we dive into his artistic thinking and learn about his zero impact art policy and question whether art can make us more conscious of our surrounding beauty.

Words By Léa Mouillot

Sam Dougados defines himself as a beach artist and is a proud part of a unique movement; Land Art. This movement was born in the sixties and the seventies in America, and is characterised by the direct intervention of the artist in nature. Since 2008, Sam started to approach such techniques in Biarritz, a dreamy town near the Spanish border of France. Steep cliffs, pointy rocks, golden beaches and tumultuous seas, make Biarritz a daydream reverie and the ultimate surfing destination. It is in this “French California” corner of paradise that Sam first began to experiment with beach art.

Under the Lightening

Sam tells us what makes him most invigorated about his art work; “Freedom is the greatest part of my work. As a self made artist, being capable of freely expressing myself through any available means is the greatest thing”. Sam explored many different arts and crafts before finding his path in beach art, though many may not understand what beach art truly is, and how it differs from other kinds of art; “First, the beach is my living studio. The weather, the tide, the waves, the light continuously create opportunities and challenges to my work and dictates the rhythm of my inspiration. Improvised creativity is my motto, I am not used to program ahead what I am going to do”, Sam explains.

Sam is also an avid and talented photographer. While his artworks fade with the rising tides, his exclusive pieces are available only to the well-timed observer, yet he stresses that a photograph lasts forever. Sam tells us how he would climb across the coasts and on the surrounding hilltops to find the perfect light and perspective to capture his pieces. When asked how his art ‘gets on’ with nearby bathers, he responds: 

“I like that humans interact with my work. In the photographic aspect of the process, I would even ask people to stay inside the patterns I created”.

Kite and Surf Summit

Entre Deux Mondes


Indeed, humans are themselves creatures of the hearth, and as such their beauty is complementary to their surroundings.What’s more, many performing artists have also exhibited themselves in proximity and around Sam’s creations; a beautiful way for two opposing forms of art to speak to and compliment each other. When dancers started making pirouettes between the lines in the sand, moving gracefully all together, the static figurative artwork really comes to life.

“Asteroidea”, the performance conceived and interpreted in collaboration with the Malandain Ballet of Biarritz, at World Ocean Day 2019.

“Even if Biarritz has my heart, it is difficult to reinvent yourself always on the same beach, to change point of views. I am now practicing a bit less, but in new cities and foreign countries. My studio is the world”, Sam confesses. Sam’s main mission is to convey to the observer a greater consciousness of the surrounding beauties. This is then what drives his travels: the desire to encounter consciences and minds of different cultures and languages, facing the most diverse social issues, and have them reflect on what surrounds them. Both from a tangible point of view and from an intangible perspective.

Sam adores his lifestyle, the freedom, the differing weathers and all the personal moods.

“I wake up in the morning without a fixed schedule. If I want to surf, I do. If I want to get creative, I manage to. I may not earn as much as someone working in a bank, but that’s the essence of being an artist; abnegation. Being capable of living with less, and understanding that less is more. Less is more freedom. Less is more happiness”.