For well over a decade California artist Jim Denevan (previously) has made his mark in the sand, etching elaborate geometric artworks on beaches around the world using little more than a rake or found stick. The pieces last only a few hours, or begin disappearing even as he works, as the tides quickly erase each design leaving only a memory or a photograph. Great Big Story recently visited Denevan and shot this brief profile of the artist as he created a number of pieces.
Artist Calvin Seibert spent part of the summer on Rockaway Beach in Queens where he made quick work of erecting several of his trademark geometric sandcastles that we’ve admired for years here on Colossal. Seibert is a professional sculptor who relishes the challenge of building these temporary sand structures inspired by brutalist architecture and aspects of modernism. He shares about his process:
Building “sandcastles” is a bit of a test. Nature will always be against you and time is always running out. Having to think fast and to bring it all together in the end is what I like about it. I rarely start with a plan, just a vague notion of trying to do something different each time. Once I begin building and forms take shape I can start to see where things are going and either follow that road or attempt to contradict it with something unexpected. In my mind they are always mash-ups of influences and ideas. I see a castle, a fishing village, a modernist sculpture, a stage set for the oscars all at once. When they are successful they don’t feel contained or finished. They become organic machines that might grow and expand. I am always adding just one more bit and if time allowed I wouldn’t stop.
Bruce Shapiro (previously) has transformed the tools that create sculpture into the sculpture itself, using CNC machines to produce tables that trace beautiful patterns in thin layers of sand. Shapiro named this kinetic art project Sisyphus, an appropriate title as the metal balls that move through each table’s sand seems to be forever rolling and creating patterns, much like the Greek myth.
Shapiro has been producing the Sisyphus sculptures for almost 20 years, and has permanent installations of his works in Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. Desiring the works to also live in individual homes, he has created a Kickstarter to begin production on three different types of smaller, domestic tables: an end table, three-foot metal coffee table, and a four-foot hardwood coffee table.
“Over time I have come to view Sisyphus as more than a kinetic art piece: it is an instrument,” said Shapiro. “As a musical instrument plays songs, Sisyphus plays paths. My goal with this Kickstarter is to get Sisyphus into people’s homes for them to enjoy as both furniture and art, but also, to inspire a community of composers to write ‘music’ for it.”
You can view Shaprio’s other artworks, including his projects that utilize computerized motion control, on his website.
Driven by super-human forces and undaunted by the powers of nature, artist Simon Beck (previously) trudges across sand or through knee-high snow to create massive geometric drawings left behind in his footprints. From sandy expanses on the shore of New Zealand to frigid outlooks in the Swiss Alps, any pristine surface that stretches for hundreds of meters can work as a suitable canvas for Beck’s designs.
Each site-specific piece is planned well in advance on a computer and carefully mapped out on-site before the artist begins his grueling expedition. After walking for entire days, the painstaking details of enormous fractals, snowflakes, dragons, and undulating geometric forms are left in his wake—often with barely enough sunlight to snap a few quick photos.
Seen here are a number of pieces by Beck from the last year or so. You can learn about the fine details of his process in this FAQ and see additional photos over on Facebook. He also published a book of his work titled Simon Beck: Snow Art.
Artist Calvin Seibert (previously) recently completed a new series of his geometrically precise sand castles on the beaches of Hawaii. A professional sculptor, Seibert seems to borrow angular ideas from Bauhaus architecture or the flair of Frank Gehry. How he’s able to control the sand so perfectly is anyone’s guess, it certainly puts my traditional upside down bucket method to shame. You can see more of his work over the last few years here.
Artist Joe Mangrum (previously) was just in Zuidlaren, Netherlands, where he was commissioned by the Doe Museum to create 8 temporary sand paintings over a period of 11 days. All of Mangrum’s paintings are spontaneous and evolve as he works, a grueling physical process that involves dozens of revolutions around the artwork as he adds new details and flourishes by pouring brightly colored sand. All eight artworks were photographed as he worked and turned into time-lapse videos, three of which are included here. The sand paintings will remain on view through October 30, 2015. You can follow more of Mangrum’s work on Facebook.