Opposite Brighton’s Sand Festival, a homeless man is twenty days into his thought-provoking stone sculpture on the beach.
Dr. Geebers, PebbleMan as he is known, is creating a 3D ‘Rock’ band and stage, complete with pebble guitar, amp and grand piano, a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the Brighton Mods and Rockers.
“Five years ago I fell upon hard times. I was forced to live on the streets and sleep in doorways. I saw my friends get beaten up, pissed on, set on fire, or worse — like my mate in Hove recently — kicked to death. I knew I had to start doing something different.”
Initially, Dr.Geebers began making beach art purely as a way to keep his mind focused on something, and give his life a sense of purpose.
But when he reached the Sidmouth beach, a local journalist picked up his story and mistakenly wrote that his intention was to walk the entire coastline creating loose pebble art.
Dr. Geebers realised accepting such a challenge could not only raise the profile and awareness of the struggles of homeless people like him, but would probably change his life for the better.
Five years on and 6800 miles later, the Pebbleman has created sculptures on more than forty British beaches, and has learnt he can survive on the donations to buy the food and gas he needs.
“I get people looking all day long,” he says. Indeed, I witness passers-by stopping every few minutes to appreciate his ‘live’ work, dropping change down a makeshift shoot into the ‘rock-pool’.
“If Lyme Regis can have stone balancing, and Weymouth a Sand World, then why can’t Brighton have a 3D pebble artist?” he says, dreaming of a permanent beach-art space beside the Palace Pier.
“I’ve already been invited to do the Brighton Science Festival, and I hope my art stays around long enough to make it into the Fringe, but I don’t know if the council will have kicked me off by then.”
Dr.Geebers’ blog: drgeebersthepebbleman.blogspot.co.uk