Spotted last weekend near the Marina harbor (above) and on the steps of Aquatic Park Cove (below), these two reclining sand mermaids are thought to be the work of Scott Dosch, a West Coast sand sculptor with an interesting past.
In a December, 2000 profile in the Monterey County Weekly, a picture of Dosch is painted as:
A self-described "California folk artist" who speaks four languages, Dosch arrived at his career calling after wandering a path that lead him through five years in the Christian ministry and a stint as a salesperson. Cutting his hair and removing his earrings didn''t jibe well with the free-spirited personality he developed as an army brat ensconced in Europe.
"I hated that whole thing--being the cog. I just hated it," Dosch says. "In 1986, I basically moved into a van on Venice Beach. And it just hit me one night to do sand sculptures."
...After dealing with LAPD harassment for concocting sand sculptures on the boardwalk, Dosch got a chance to turn the Hollywood spotlight on his art. He landed gigs creating a background for a scene in Oliver Stone''s The Doors and lending atmosphere to a larger-than-life Nike commercial.
In 1994, Dosch and his apprentice split LA (for what he calls "personal reasons") and drove up the California coast. Dosch dropped his sidekick off in Big Sur and ended up in San Francisco. But after a month, he headed down to Carmel. "I drove down to the Central Coast and fell in love with it," he says. "I saw my apprentice was working in Carmel and I told him to hit the road. I have a deal with people I teach: If we find each other on the same beach someday, they have to defer. He honored that and went to Half Moon Bay"
That wasn't Dosch's last brush with the law — in 2011 Dosch announced his departure from Santa Barbara after 15 years there following a dispute with the city over his use of a public fountain. According to a report in the Santa Barbara Independent, Dosch said he had to use fountain water for his creations due to a "physical handicap, which reputedly leaves him unable to access ocean water."
“I don’t want to go up against the city,” said Dosch, “If they don’t want me here, which they have expressed, then I don’t want to be here.” Currently in his third year attending Santa Barbara City College, where he is studying studio art, Dosch said he intends to bid farewell to Santa Barbara once his class schedule is sorted out. Without access to the fountain’s water, he said, he would be unable to create his statues. He added that he would like to sculpt “without hindrance to the right of [his] expression of public art.”
But though Dosch has been in San Francisco from time to time — here's another local work of his from last September, for example:
He appears to remain in based in Santa Barbara. According to CBS5 last weekend's artist “said he was trying to get gas money to head down to Santa Barbara,” they quote one of the mermaids' admirers as saying.
“(I) gave him $4 and said it might be easier to walk.”