Call me old fashioned, but when I think of a sand castle competitions my mind is filled with images of giant structures adorned with mermaids, pirates, and sand dollars, enormous boat-devouring sharks, and faithful replicas of Mount Rushmore or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How pleasantly surprised I was to find these striking figurative sculptural works by Cleveland-based sand sculptor and woodworker Carl Jara, who says his intention is to sculpt things with sand you would never expect to see at a sand castle competition. His work is so accomplished you almost forget the medium you’re looking at, the pieces appearing as if carved from marble or wood.
Jara began working with sand in high school when a desperate art teacher, afraid Carl’s insatiable hunger for art might lead him to re-take the available art classes a third time, connected him with sand sculptor Tom Morrison. Once in college he studied fine arts, mainly illustration and graphic design, but when it came time for his degree show at Meyers School of Art in Akron, he realized he possessed neither the desire nor talent to become a designer, and decided to focus his efforts on a 15-foot sand sculpture. The response was overwhelming and landed Jara on the evening news and served as the formal launching point of his career that now includes nine World Championship medals. You can see much more of his work here.
Industrial designer and tinkerer Markus Kayser spent the better part of a year building and experimenting with two fantastic devices that harness the sun’s power in some of the world’s harshest climates. The first he calls a Sun Cutter, a low-tech light cutter that uses a large ball lens to focus the sun’s rays onto a surface that’s moved by a cam-guided system. As the surface moves under the magnified light it cuts 2D components like a laser. The project was tested for the first time in August 2010 in the Egyptian desert and Kayser used thin plywood to create the parts for a few pairs of pretty sweet shades. But he didn’t stop there.
Next, Kayser began to examine the process of 3D printing. Merging two of the deserts most abundant resources, nearly unlimited quantities of sand and sun, he created the Solar Sinter, a device that melts sand to create 3D objects out of glass. Via his web site:
This process of converting a powdery substance via a heating process into a solid form is known as sintering and has in recent years become a central process in design prototyping known as 3D printing or SLS (selective laser sintering). [...] By using the sun’s rays instead of a laser and sand instead of resins, I had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine and production process for making glass objects that taps into the abundant supplies of sun and sand to be found in the deserts of the world.
In mid-May the Solar Sinter was tested for a two week period in the deserts of Siwa, Egypt, resulting in the amazing footage above. It’s incredible to think that the solar energy generated for both machines is used only to power electronics, servos and the mechanism that tracks the sun, while the power used to cut wood and melt sand is just raw, concentrated sunlight. While I fully understand the mechanics and science at work in Kayser’s devices, there’s something about them that just seems magical. Definitely head over to his website to explore more photos and info. (via stellar, sorry can’t link the post for some reason)
Stumbled onto this striking 2010 photograph by Cuban artist Liset Castillo while poking around on ArtStar.
In my new body of work, “Human Studies,” from 2010, I subvert notions of enduring beauty with life-size images of women sculpted in a labor-intensive process out of sand, which I then photographed before destroying them. I create life-size sand sculptures of models typically found in high-gloss fashion magazines, photograph the works in sand and then I destroy them as a commentary on the ephemeral nature of beauty, America’s obsession with youth culture and decay.
Every once in a while, advertising is amazing. World champion sand sculptor JOOheng Tan was recently asked by ad agency Lowe in Singapore to help create these impressive backdrops for an OMO washing detergent ad campaign. In an age when something like this could have been created digitally, they asked Tan to physically build three 18-ton sand sculptures to be used as backdrops in ads encouraging kids to get dirty. I recommend clicking through to see the pieces above in full size as the details are somewhat lost when scaled down. Also, the video is pretty phenomenal as it shows the creation and behind-the-scenes execution of each photoshoot. Superb art direction by Karen Vermeulen. (via ads of the world)
San Francisco-area landscape artist Andreas Amador etches massive sand drawings onto beaches during full moons when his canvas reaches its largest potential. Using only a rake and often several helpers the geometric and organic shapes are slowly carved into the sand, often interacting with the physical topography like the stones in a zen garden. The works exist for only a few moments, just long enough to snap a few photographs before being completely engulfed by the encroaching tide. Amador has also collaborated on a number of killer marriage proposals, the question popped as part of his elaborate drawings viewable from an elevated distance. You can see much more on his website, and he also sells prints. If you liked this, also see the works of Sonja Hinrichsen and Jim Denevan. (architizer, raymond tham, and the artist’s blog)
Similar to a camera capturing multiple exposures in a single image, artist Katie Grinnan created this sculptural time-lapse of her body moving through a daily yoga routine using sand, plastic, and enamel. The end result is representative of both time and form as each split second is layered onto the last creating what is both a singular figure and many. Ginnan describes this as an exploration of “peripersonal” space. “Mirage focuses on the concept of peripersonal space, the space that your body encompasses at its most extended point in every direction, which describes the body’s potential boundary.” Images courtesy Brennan and Griffin. If you like this, make sure you’re familiar with the works of Sukhi Barber and Paige Bradley.
Speaking of yoga and the passage of time, I found this time-lapse video of Meghan Currie’s yoga routine set to Philip Glass pretty enchanting if not completely exhausting. I knew certain poses required extreme flexibility and strength but this just seems like inhuman endurance. (via stellar)
Armed with little more than standard garden rake, environmental artist Tony Plant transforms the breathtakingly scenic beaches of England into temporary canvases for his swirling sand drawings. Each work is created below the tidal zones where the sand is flatter and wetter, allowing for greater contrast as he quickly drags the rake into various geometric patterns. The beauty however is fleeting as the artworks last only a few hours before being consumed by the incoming tide. Recently Plant’s work was used in the music video above by Light Colours Sound for recording artist Ruarri Joseph. If you liked this also check out the sand art of Jim Denevan and Andres Amadore. (via faith is torment)
Jim Denevan is a surfer, a sand artist, and a self-taught chef, the man behind the traveling outdoor dining experience Outstanding in the Field (previously). His geometric sand sculptures are made with little more than rakes and sticks and can span miles of North California beaches. The pieces take many hours to create but can often disappear much quicker as the incoming tide gently erases them from earth.