Artist Vik Muniz is almost a regular here at OC. We first wrote about his art made from domestic and industrial junk in 2010. Then, in 2012 he was back with his recreation of classic paintings using torn magazine scraps. Now, in collaboration with artist and MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho, Vik has taken then opposite approach to his previous art forms. While his older, gigantic art could only be admired from high above, his latest work is microscopic – a series of sandcastles etched onto individual grains of sand.
Vik said that earlier he had the opportunity to work on an environmental scale. Around that same time, he thought of “going the opposite way around and actually making things so small that it would create a similar impression. They would be so tiny that they could only be imagined, they could not be seen.” When Marcelo was first approached by Vik, he thought it was a joke. “He came to me and said, I want to draw a castle on to a grain of sand. I think the sheer impossibility of that is what excited me.”
Vik and Marcelo spent four long years on trial-and-error experiments before they could successfully create the tiny, magnificent drawings. Each piece of art is less than half a millimeter in size – an inconsequential fleck of sand to the naked eye. Together, they devised a process involving both antiquated technology and innovative visual tools. Vik first created the sketches using a camera Lucida – an optical superimposition device from the 1800s that uses a prism to turn images in front of the viewer into projections on paper. Using this technique, he was able to trace the tiny castles.