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The Mind-Blowing Sand Sculptures of Toshihiko Hosaka

Looking at Toshihiko Hosaka’s incredibly detailed sculptures, it’s hard to believe that they are made from grainy beach sand, and not some sort of clay. But he only uses sand, his talent and 20-years of experience.

43-year-old Hosaka has been making sand sculptures ever since he was in school, and has been honing his skills for over two decades. Today, he is able to create large-scale masterpieces without any molds or adhesives, only simple sand and a handful of metal sculpting tools. He spends hours, sometimes several days sculpting away at mounds of moist sand, but the result is always breathtaking.

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German Artist Spreads Dust on a Sticky Canvas to Create Mind-Blowing Artworks

Tim Bengel, a young artist from Stuttgart, Germany, has returned to the childhood pastime of playing with sand for his latest art series. He uses only black and white sand on a sticky board to create spectacular paintings of people and places. 

Bengel, 24, starts off by covering a blank canvas board with a special type of adhesive that takes a long time to dry. He then sprinkles black and gold sand over the drying glue in the shape of the design he has in mind, and sometimes even adds individual grains of sand using a very fine scalpel. This ‘drawing’ stage can take him weeks to complete.

When the design is completed, he spreads white sand all over the canvas. Then, he shakes off all the excess sand in one sweeping motion to reveal the completed artwork underneath. The dramatic effect of this final step is well worth the hours of effort that he puts into each piece.

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19th Century Artist’s Amazingly Detailed Sand Art Will Blow Your Mind

Andrew Clemens (1857 – 1894) was an extraordinary self-taught artist from Iowa who created unbelievably intricate art using tiny grains of colored sand, with tools and techniques that were way ahead of his time. Although the man was completely deaf and nearly mute for most of his life, he managed to nurture his passion and make hundreds of bottles of beautiful sand art.

Clemens was born to German and Prussian parents who met and fell in love on their way to the United States. After living in various cities, his father finally moved the family to McGregor, Iowa, to take advantage of the gold-rush and the settlement of the American west. It was here that, at the age of five, Clemens was struck with ‘brain fever’ (or encephalitis as we know it today). Although he was lucky to survive, he permanently lost his hearing and speech to the disease.

Andrew-Clemens-sand-art

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Microscopic Wonders – Incredibly Detailed Castles Etched onto Individual Grains of Sand

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.

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Ukrainian Artist Creates Incredibly Detailed Artworks from Sand and Seashells

Svetlana Ivanchenko is a talented Ukrainian artist who uses overlooked natural materials like sand, seashells, quartz, tree roots and tree bark to create wonderful mosaics that look almost painted by hand.

Born and raised in Yalta, on the shores of the Black Sea, Ivanchenko was always fascinated by the abundance of natural materials that surrounded her. She studied at the Crimean Art School, under the supervision of renowned artist Sergei Bokaeva, and later graduated from the Glukhivskiy Pedagogical Institute. The artist currently based in the city of Dnepropetrovsk uses a variety of sand, shells, quartz and tree parts to create amazing works of art inspired by her place of birth and the warmth of the female body. It’s hard to believe, but every little piece of material used to create the artworks is placed by hand, and no coloring other than that of the composing elements is used. As Pinar from My Modern Metropolis notes, Svetlana “merges the various textures and colors brilliantly, making it difficult to imagine the frames being made of anything else.” Her natural masterpieces have been exhibited in international galleries, and many of them reside in the private collections of connaisseurs in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Estonia and the Dominican Republic.

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The Mind-Blowing Sand Paintings of Ilana Yahav

Ilana Yahav is a world-famous Israeli sand animation artist who uses only her hands to create wonderful stories out of simple grains of sand. Her incredible videos have been watched by millions of people around the world.

Ever since she was a child, Ilana knew her destiny was tied to the art world, and she experimented with painting, sculpting other types of plastic art. But growing up on the shores of the Mediterranean, she was fascinated by sand. As a young girl, she would always visit the beach on her way to school, and draw a personal story on the sand. “I would draw quickly, trying to finish it all before the wave would come and wipe everything out,” the Israeli artist remembers. “I was totally spellbound. I would stand and watch until the drawing disappeared, realizing that everything is transient and temporary…” The ability to create a unique story using such a simple and natural medium as an exciting concept, so she decided to turn it into an art form.

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Y Lan – The Lady Playing with Sand

Y Lan, real name Tran Thi Hoang Lan, is a famous Vietnamese artist who uses multicolored sand to create beautiful paintings. Her works are famous all over Asia, as well as in Europe and North America.

Y Lan has no formal arts training and discovered her unique talent for making sand paintings purely by mistake. In 2001, while visiting her husband’s home town in Phan Thiet she saw the coastal sands in the area and was mesmerized by their beauty and took three differently-colored varieties in a transparent flower vase. After she came home she was just obsessed with the exotic beauty of the sands, so she went back and took more sand samples of different colors. Then she started thinking about what to do with this wonderful colored sand she had gathered, and the idea for her grainy sand paintings was born. Now, Y Lan is internationally recognized as the inventor of sand painting and has established her own company selling these masterpieces all around the globe.

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