Sculptor in the Sand
Mario Gagnon is retired from his life as a hospital maintenance engineer in Quebec, but when we retire from our profession, we do not retire from our interests, and his lifetime fondness for what he calls “decorating” comes with him when he comes to the beach. Like most of those camping beachside, he has made the palapa living area of his campsite “homely” in only one usage of the word. From hammocks to wall sconces fashioned from fruiting bundles of palm trees, his environs are beautiful in addition to comfortable.
I revisited him yesterday, partially because I’d forgotten to take a picture of him when I met him on the second day I visited, but I was also there because of my curiosity over whether he altered his sculpture each day. I did find him fussing with the tail of the iguana, but that was perhaps just staging for the bypasser who was currently taking his picture. When the “interloper” (kidding) departed, it was my turn.
This time it was a female neighbor who translated for us and she explained to me something that I had not cottoned on to the first time we’d met. “He can’t understand you because he is deaf and he can’t read your lips because he doesn’t speak English! Formerly, I had thought his friend was interpreting only because of the language barrier, and when I spoke Spanish, thinking it was closer to French, it hadn’t helped much either. Trying to imagine what the beach would be like without its sounds to accompany it, I asked him if he could feel the pounding of the surf. “Yes, he told me, “because I am deaf, my other senses are stronger. When I smell a fire, I can tell how long ago it was lit, what is burning and what was used to start the fire.”
This dapper, handsome man was generous in sharing his art, his home away from home and his time. Here are some of the pictures I took of his world:
(Please click on first photo to enlarge and view gallery.)
The artist––Mario Gagnon
Palm fruiting pod sconces
The artist at rest
The artist still at rest!
When I asked if I could photograph his living space, “Wait, wait!” he cried and scurried around perfecting his environment.
If you didn’t see the first segment I did on Mario’s wonderful beach sculpture of the iguana, to see it, go HERE.