Like many kids with a love for digging in sandboxes, Calvin Seibert (previously) grew up creating grand castles and towers from piles of the sediment. But for Seibert, the practice wasn’t just a childhood pastime. “In hindsight I see that much of what I made was more like sculpture. It really was all about the object and its resonant meanings rather than interiors and spatial flow,” he says.
After studying at the School of Visual Arts, the Colorado-born artist began sculpting modernist buildings featuring sharp angles, clean edges, and various geometric shapes that resemble brutalist architecture rather than something from a children’s story. “While not all of my structures have quite the rugged fortress-like presence of a Kenzo Tange or a Paul Rudolph building, it is something I aim for,” he writes. “Certainly I see my sandcastles in opposition to those frivolous turreted fantasies that Cinderella would feel at home in.”
To create his works, Seibert begins by mixing water and sand to create layers, before packing and smoothing the rest by hand. He cleans the edges with various trowels and knives that he’s made himself. Plus, he never works without a five-gallon pail because it’s “indispensable for digging and fetching water, as well as carrying stuff to the beach.”
I always start at the top and work down, taking great care to keep the horizontals level. I pretty much make things up as I go along, allowing surprises and engineering difficulties to shape the castles. Robert Venturi’s prescription of ‘complexity and contradiction’ is always in the back of my mind, while mash-ups of gameshow sets and artillery bunkers are soon added to the mix.
Seibert tells Colossal that he’s moved to Colorado since making the works featured here, which limits his time on the beach, although he dreams of transforming a pile of sand at the Venice Biennale or as part of Casa Wabi in Mexico. Follow what he’s up to, and perhaps get a glimpse of his next visit to a sandy landscape, on Instagram.
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There’s a traffic jam on Miami Beach thanks to Leandro Erlich (previously). Erlich’s installation, titled “Order of Importance,” is an effort to put conversations surrounding climate change front and center. Commissioned by the city of Miami Beach and curated by Ximena Caminos and Brandi Reddick, the installation features 66 life-sized cars and trucks erected on the beach at Lincoln Road. Made of sand, the vehicles blend in with the surrounding beach and highlight the temporary nature of their construction. They will be allowed to deteriorate until the exhibition closes December 15.
“The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions,” Erlich says. “As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality, in particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.”
Caminos added that the exhibit, “like an image from a contemporary Pompeii or a future relic, also alludes to our fragile position in the large universal canvas. It interacts with the climate crisis facing the world, particularly the rising sea level.”
Erlich, who resides in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, is known for combining architecture, sculpture, and theater to create surreal works that alter traditional conceptions of natural environments. “Order of Importance” is his largest installation to date. You can find more of his work on Instagram and his site.
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If you’re walking along the beach this summer and you see a group of napping cat sand sculptures, there’s a good chance it’s the work of a Neko Cup (neko is the Japanese word for cat). Neko Cup is the latest product from Japanese design brand h-concept. Made from biomass plastic (bamboo and scallop shells) the hollowed out object creates a silhouette of a napping cat.
It can be used on the beach, in your park’s sandbox and, in the winter, with snow. And when it’s not in use, it also functions as ab adorable little sculpture. Designer Yuka Morii says she loves seeing cats sleeping on the sidewalk and she wanted to preserve that warm feeling she gets when she spots one out of the corner of her eye.
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May 30 is Zero Waste Day in Japan (The name is derived from the numeric pun for 5 (go) 3 (mi) 0 (zero), which can be read as gomi zero, or zero waste). On this day, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ran a full-page editorial made to look like a front-page headline titled “Plastics Floating in our Seas” and highlighting the devastating impact that plastic is having on sea life. Everything from the article headline to the images and text were actually carved into sand on a beach in Japan and photographed from above.
The actual editorial that was carved into sand is the work of artist Toshihiko Hosaka (previously), who specializes in sand sculptures. Hosaka worked with local residents and students at Iioka Beach in Chiba prefecture to create the massive sand sculpture. It took 11 days to complete and measures 50 x 35 m (164 x 115 ft). Below is a brief excerpt from the text:
The sea does not speak. So, I will speak in its place. Currently, the lives of many creatures in the sea are being taken. The cause is plastic. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam… 8 million tons of plastic used in everyday life are dumped in places like rivers and the ocean every year, and remains floating as garbage. By swallowing or being entangled in plastic garbage, about 700 species of animals including sea turtles, seabirds, seals, and fish are harmed and killed.
The editorial also calls out Japan as for its addiction to plastic:
We Japanese are also largely responsible. Japan produces the second most garbage per person. In order to rectify this, we have to take a good hard look at what is happening in the ocean. We need to think about things we have been ignoring as a result of prioritizing economic growth, everyday convenience, and such.
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Since 1997, Texas SandFest has attracted thousands of visitors to Port Aransas on Mustang Island. For the 2019 iteration, the three-day-festival awarded British Columbia-based Master Solo competitor Damon Langlois first place for his illusionistic work Liberty Crumbling. The piece portrays Abraham Lincoln in the likeness of the 1920 marble statue in the Lincoln Memorial. However, this one is cracking at its foundation. With his hand to his face, Lincoln appears exasperated as he sits on his crumbling platform.
Other sculptures in the competition also had messages for the audience, although many were environmental. Todd Pangborn’s Out of Sight Out of Mind featured a giant sea turtle next to a coral reef, and Jeff Strong’s Continental Drip displayed an ice cream cone holding a melting Earth. You can see more winners and competitors from the United States’ largest native-sand sculpture competition on Texas SandFest’s website, and view more of Langlois’s sand works on his website. (via Twisted Sifter)
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Sisyphus: the Hypnotizing Kickstarter-Funded Kinetic Sand Drawing Machine is Now Available to The Public
Sisyphus, the wildly successful Kickstarter-funded kinetic table designed by Bruce Shapiro (previously), is now available to the public via pre-order. The 2016 project raised $1,924,018 and is, to date, the most-funded campaign in the history of Kickstarter’s art category. The coffee table design includes a bed of sand with a magnetic steel marble that continuously traces programmed patterns through the malleable material. Many of the original designs are meditative mandala-like configurations, but it’s also possible to program the marble to create continuous line drawings or custom messages.
Sisyphus started taking pre-orders this weekend via their website. The table is available in two styles (coffee table or end table) and a variety of metallic and wood finishes. You can also follow the brand’s progress on Facebook and Instagram.
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Toshihiko Hosaka began making sand sculptures in art school and has been using beaches and sand boxes as his canvas for almost 20 years. His work defies what we typically think of as sand art as he sculpts and carves the loose, granular substance as if it were some malleable form of clay.
There is no core, mold or adhesive ever used throughout the process: just sand. The only trick Hosaka uses (and this is commonly accepted) is a hardening spray applied to his sculpture only after it’s been completed, in order to prevent wind and sun from eroding it for a few days.
Earlier this month Hosaka competed in the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival along with 22 other international professional sand sculptors. The theme for the contest was “Hero” and Hosaka spent 3 days sculpting a figure of Musashi Miyamoto, which was awarded 1st prize on May 6th. Hosaka depicted the 16th century expert Japanese swordsman seated down in a calm position, sword tucked under his belt.
The artist continues to be active in and around Japan. According to an interview, he’ll be at the Sakaide Minato Matsuri on May 18th creating a salt sculpture (which will go on view on the 27th). Then on July 15th he’ll be at the Ishikarihama Sand Park. He’s also available for group workshops where he’ll teach you everything there is to know about sand sculpting.
In the ultimate display of pursuing perfection, Hosaka even collaborated with a Japanese chemical company to create his own environmentally friendly Sand Art Glue, that substance he uses to spray on his sculptures once they’re complete. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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Editor's Picks: Craft
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.