A Yorkshire man has gained fame in the community after visitors to the region’s beaches have shared photographs of his provocative and well-crafted drawings online.
Fred Brown, who describes himself as an animal rights activist and amateur beach artist, has received hundreds of likes and well-wishes online for his beautiful and provocative sand art.
The York local has travelled to beaches across the region, including Saltburn Beach, to draw anything and everything from seals, octopus’ legs and charitable messages.
Following overwhelming praise on social media, Fred told The Northern Echo that beach art was something he just “stumbled” into.
He said: “As an animal rights activist I used to chalk pro-vegan messages on the ground in York. The designs I chalked were quite simple as I'm no artist, but I did like to make them as big as possible in order to make them hard to miss.
“I'd got the bug for drawing large pieces and tried to think of other ways to present messages that couldn't be missed.
"One thing that really inspired me was the huge 'climate change is real' message for Donald Trump's visit that Ollie Nancarrow mowed into the grass in the grounds around his home in 2019.
“I wanted to do similar, so looked into how I'd go about it. At some point I stumbled across pictures and videos of sand art on the beach. And that was that.
“Initially I thought I'd just use the beach to perfect my drawing technique but soon realised it was actually the ideal canvas for presenting my messages.”
Since then, the York local has taken to beaches including Whitby to spread his messages, more recently creating a Gary Lineker-themed piece at the South Bay beach in Scarborough.
As well as his more traditional work, Fred likes to dabble in what he called “overtly contentious” pieces that can range from pro-vegan rhetoric to political messages, as he admits the response can mostly be positive.
Fred told the Echo: “The response very much depends on the piece. Most of the time I like to draw pretty pictures with simple messages to try and provoke thought and discussion which are received well, and for the most part appreciated.
“Other times I draw more overtly contentious pieces, which provoke a more love/hate response. On the beach people ignore me for the most part, which is fine by me as I'm not overly fond of chatting.
“Many people won't even realise I'm drawing a picture because the scale can be quite large. Some people approach me to ask what I'm doing, or to offer kind words and encouragement, to tell me that they've seen other pieces and appreciate what I do, which is obviously nice.
“Sometimes I'm racing the incoming tide, so I can be fairly terse if anybody interrupts me then!”
Locals can often find Fred’s artwork on beaches with vantage points, as the pieces are captured by drone to be sold as prints and photos.
As for where the amateur artist gets his ideas, Fred told the Echo social media brings him a wide range of inspiration.
He said: “A lot of inspiration comes from Facebook! Social media tends to envelop us in a bubble of like-minded people, so much of what comes up on my feed I tend to agree with, and it is potentially suitable as artwork.
“I also have friends that draw me pieces to copy, these are the pieces that I most enjoy drawing and draw most often.
“A drawing can be quite simple, but it's an intimate experience for me - because every tiny stroke that has been drawn with pen - I will faithfully follow on foot.”