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Rock Beats Paper for This Artist

It's high tide at Greenwich Point, where Joel Dawson and his children are meticulously balancing rocks, one on top of the other, to make art.

"It's windier than I'd like it to be," Joel said, climbing off the rocks and standing back to look at his latest balancing rock sculpture. "They'll fall right down, and sunset is almost over, so we'll have to get the photographs quickly."

Joel is balancing rock sculptures right after making them because as soon as the tide rises, they can break apart and fall back down among other rocks, as if they had never been moved at all.

"It's so tranquil out here," he said. "It's amazing when I find the center of balance; after trying and trying, the rock just stays."

Joel, a New York native who moved back from California to Greenwich for a corporate creative director's job in 1992, fell in love with Greenwich Point as soon as he found it. "It's like vacation in your backyard," he said. "It's what made me want to come here."

As his children, Cameron and Taylor, were growing up they would visit Greenwich Point to hike on the trails and balance rocks on the beach, but back then it was just for fun. When Dawson was released from his job due to downsizing in 2008, he returned to his artistic roots.

"One day in March 2009, I came down here with my son and his friends. From 10 a.m. until dusk we built 88 sculptures," he said. "Then, I got the bug and I started photographing."

He went on to sell postcards and prints of his photographs and distributed them around Greenwich. Currently, photographs of his rock sculptures are being featured at Images in Old Greenwich through Aug. 28. He's also hoping to expand his business after landing a corporate commission at a Rye Brook office building. "But for now, I'm just going to have fun and keep building. It's what I do," Dawson said.

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