Din – The Sand Scribbler Interview

By now there surely isn’t a single person in Barry who hasn’t seen or heard of the amazing drawings that keep popping up on Whitmore Bay. Din, the signature that appears under each has become a recognisable symbol on our beach and we can’t get enough. Drawings have come in various styles, shapes, cartoon characters, The Tardis and even Pac-Man has featured.

I had met Din previously whilst photographing a previous piece he had drawn on the beach but this time was different as unlike before Din accepted our invitation to have a chat and a coffee after he had completed his drawing. Although Din likes people to see his sand-drawings he’s not one who enjoys the attention it brings to himself, but after several approaches of an interview he finally conceded….. “You’re not going to give up are you.”

Following yesterday’s drawing on Barry Island’s Whitmore Bay; A poppy casting a shadow onto a cross we sat down for coffee at Bay 5. We sat outside facing the drawing so Din could observe people looking at his work. It was from watching the gathering dog-walkers and joggers that Din appeared to feel rewarded.

Our coffee arrived and we sat for a second or two glancing towards the drawing. The girl from Bay 5 who brought the coffee to the table spotted Din’s rakes (By tripping over them) and excitingly said “You’re the man that does the drawings!” She approved of his latest instalment on the beach and left us to it.

Where did the name Din originate and where are you from?

“Din is a nickname I got from School. I got the nickname from being a bit of an idiot, always the one caught laughing at the end of everything. Friends still call me it today.”

“I live in Cardiff but am from Bridgend originally and went to Kenfig Comprehensive then college in Bridgend also but moved to Cardiff when I started work.”

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When did you start doing sand-art?

“Going back to about 1980 I started surfing and joined the lifeguards but when there was no surf I just used to mess about on the beach and started to draw, nothing fancy, not as it is now. Life then takes over, leave school, married, kids and all the rest of it. I’ve got 2 girls and a boy and 6 grandchildren.” Din named all of his grandchildren but added: “Don’t ask me when their birthdays are.”

The kids have grown up and doing their own thing and I’ve got a bit of spare time and was left wondering; What am I going to do? So I started doing drawings again about a year and a half ago.”

“I’m very surprised by the amount of interest it has gained….Which is nice. It’s not just interest from here, there is interest in Southern Ireland, India and Hong Kong and it’s because of social media today that it has grown like that. I don’t do it to make big statements, I just do it because I enjoy it. It’s nice here in the morning, it’s peaceful, calm.”

It’s something I enjoy doing and I enjoy seeing the people on beaches looking at it, smiling.

What beaches do you visit to draw on?

“I’ve been up and down the beaches of Wales from Newgale, Llangennith, Porthcawl, Rest Bay, Sker. Sker is one of my favourites as it’s the beach I grew up on, that’s where I do my practising. I try them first down there because it’s all about proportions. I did a big Welsh Dragon down there the other week, drew a fantastic head then went to draw the body and the tail and ended up in the rocks. It’s all about proportions. This is what you learn.”

I do love coming to Barry, the people are lovely, especially the people who work down here like the guys on the bins.

What is the drawing you’ve had the biggest reaction from?

“The Sheep, it’s got to be. It was one of those days, I just walked down there and did. Didn’t plan it out but it just worked. The Tardis one also had a big response. But they were videoed ones. People have different reactions to different things. I did a Pac-Man and Space Invader and a man and his daughter saw them and the daughter was saying to her dad; “Dad..Dad look at the Pac-Man” and then he said “Stuff the Pac-Man, look at the Space Invader.” I loved that reaction.”


Din – Sheep

Have you been approached by anyone for commercial pieces?

“I’ve been offered commissions but I wont accept them, I don’t want to draw someone else’s ideas, I’d have to work out prices and I like to work to my times. For me it’s just a little self expression.”

Do you have any big plans?

“I’d love to do use the full width of the beach here, I’d love to do giant tyrannosaurus-rex feet running from one side to the other. I also want to start doing some stuff on the side of mountains. It’s something that will take a lot of time and a lot of planning but if you see a big Space Invader on the side of the mountain you know where it’s come from.”

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The Daily Vale would like to Thank ‘Din’ for taking the time to speak to us.

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