Self-Taught Artist Creates Stunningly Realistic Sand Sculptures

Andoni Bastarrika, a multi-media artist from Spain’s Basque Country, has been getting a lot of attention for his ultra-realistic animal sculptures made almost exclusively with sand.

Bastarrika has been entertaining beach-goers in his native Basque Country region for almost a decade now, but he only recently garnered international acclaim, after a photo of one of his sand sculptures – a life-size sitting bull – recently went viral on Reddit. People couldn’t stop talking about how lifelike the sculpture looked, from the subtle muscle definition to the hair-like sand detailing on its forehead. Soon photos of other of Bastarrika’s realistic sand animals started circulating on various social media networks.

Photo: Andoni Bastarrika/Facebook

The Basque artist reportedly started experimenting with sand sculptures in 2010, as a way of entertaining children when going to the beach. The feedback was so positive that he started focusing on this newly discovered art form more, developing his own techniques as he progressed. Before he knew it, he had made a name for himself as a sand sculptor and even supplementing his summer income.


Bastarrika mostly uses his own hands to shape sand sculptures, but when it comes to fine details, he uses simple tools like a brush, small sticks and toothpicks. To add another layer of realism, the artist sometimes uses various accessories, like the horns and hooves on his now famous bull sculpture.


Apart from wowing beach-goers with his realistic-looking sculptures, Andoni Bastarrika also hosts workshops where he teaches others the secrets of sand sculpting.


For more of Andoni’s sand sculptures, check out his Instagram and Facebook pages.

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