SANDS OF TIME: Sand artist John Thiering was part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
SANDS OF TIME: Sand artist John Thiering was part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Rachel Vercoe

Sand blast

FROM performing for a few at intimate venues to entertaining thousands on cruise ships, sand artist John Thiering's latest gig was broadcast internationally. He performed during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Excited and humbled, John had a lot of work ahead of him when he was told three weeks out his artworks would be part of the ceremony.

"It was a big challenge, there were times when I was thinking it was one of the biggest challenges I've had to do because of how short the time span was,” John said.

When sand artist John Thiering from Coffs Harbour received an email wanting to talk about using his sand paintings as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, he was thrilled.

"I had a meeting with them in August last year but nothing was confirmed until about three weeks before the ceremony,” John said.

"It was short notice, I had three weeks to create what they wanted but it was really exciting and I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to get world wide exposure.

During skype sessions with the artistic director and his team, John was given a brief before practising and creating ideas.

"When we came up with a plan, I went to the Gold Coast and spent seven hours in a photographic studio with a film and artistic team.

John's sand art was filmed in preparation for the opening ceremony.

"There are six regions of the commonwealth. As an introduction to these regions, I did six 30-second sand paintings to represent them and welcome them to the Gold Coast.

"When talking with the artistic director, what he liked was the idea of the journey from far away, symbolised by birds. The paintings started off with one bird representing one of the regions, five other birds were added and become a flock flying towards their destination, the Gold Coast.

"Before athletes marched into the stadium, there was 30 seconds worth of sand painting on the big screens in the stadium.”

The excitement of John's career hasn't stopped at the Commonwealth Games.

Already performing on four cruise ships this year, he will set foot on another in May, perform at a public projection on a building in Port Macquarie in two weeks and work with an opera company in Sydney in a month.

"One thing about sand painting is it's sort of like a solo gig and it's nice to work with other people and see what can happen.

Artwork from the Commonwealth games opening ceremony by John Thiering.
Artwork from the Commonwealth games opening ceremony by John Thiering. Contributed


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