The highly sought after sculptor arrived from Japan on Sunday, and will spend a total of seven days creating his masterpiece at the gallery, located at the prestigious Cope-Williams Winery in the Macedon Ranges.
Mr Ugolini’s work will be showcased as part of the region’s first ever sand sculpture exhibition, ‘The Art of Music’.
Opened this May, the exhibition will be extended until April 30, 2018 to give visitors from far and wide a chance to soak up its splendour.
Crafted by eight of the world’s most renowned artists in the field, the pre-existing works will be accompanied by an additional four pieces for the remainder of the exhibition: that of Mr Ugolini, one by Marielle Heessels from Holland, and a piece by each of the exhibition’s organisers, Leo Vamvalis and Rosie Gallicchio.
Speaking with us, just a matter of minutes before beginning to shape the huge block of orange sand before him, Mr Ugolini said it was both a blessing and a curse to be one of the last artists to sculpt.
“I have the advantage of seeing the work already done here and being inspired to do something completely different in terms of both the style and the theme,” he explained.
“But the disadvantage is that there’s lots of pressure because I have no excuse not to do something completely different. I have an idea but I’m still working on some minor details.”
Hailing from Forlì, in the province of Emilia-Romagna, Mr Ugolini can’t remember when his lifelong passion for sculpting began.
The talented artist recalled spending entire days building sand castles on the beautiful beaches of Romagna as a child.
“You could say I never stopped; I’m still doing it as an adult, only a little more refined,” he laughed.
Although Mr Ugolini studied architecture in Florence, it seems his love for sculpting was too strong and, by chance or fate, he ended up travelling the world as a professional sand sculptor.
You wouldn’t believe it looking at his work, but Mr Ugolini never had any formal training in sculpting.
Instead, he learnt all of the techniques, styles and secrets of the trade simply from being around other sculptors, using them to hone his remarkable natural talent.
While Mr Ugolini has attained residency in Lithuania, he travels the world all year round for his profession and doesn’t have a fixed address.
He has spent around five months between Japan and Vietnam this year, travelling to the US, Canada and parts of Europe for the rest of the time.
"On the one hand, it’s good because you live well and with satisfaction, but on the other, you’re never home,” he said.
The nomadic artist has lived like this for almost 20 years, since his name became known in the late 1980s and he started receiving invitations from all corners of the globe to share his work.
Even though he has only spent a week in Italy this year, Mr Ugolini will always consider the Belpaese “home”, in particular Florence, where he lived for many years before his career took off.
On his second visit to Australia, Mr Ugolini is impressed by the high quality of the work on display at the Sand Art Gallery, along with the exhibition’s unique presentation.
“This type of exhibition is more like theatre than sculpting in the sense that the public can watch you while you work, like an actor on a stage,” he explained.
“There’s a limited time you can see it, then all that’s left are photos, memories and, hopefully, some emotion that the artist has been able to evoke within the visitor.”
Mr Ugolini also highlighted that the exhibition is special in that it gives artists a huge amount of creative freedom within the chosen theme, something which is evident in the extremely diverse, yet equally impressive pieces already on show.
Mr Ugolini will craft a jaw-dropping sculpture in a matter of days and, in a blink of an eye, he’ll be on another plane to Italy, to spend a few days with his daughter before heading to Holland for work.
We can’t wait to see what he can do with the 14-tonne block of sand waiting to be turned into something stunning.
The Sand Art Gallery is open Monday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.