Nearly anyone who visited the beach as a child built sandcastles. After all, it’s quite exciting to building something extraordinary from something so simple! Well, sand artist Andoni Bastarrika has a passion for much more than castles. He creates lifelike, amazingly realistic sculptures of animals and creatures out of sand!
Sand Artist Andoni Bastarrika
You might think that a sand artist probably developed their love for sand and sandcastles as a child. However, that’s not the case for Andoni Bastarrika. In fact, the fortysomething has been working as an artist for years and only got into sand over the past decade. It all started when the artist from Basque Country, Spain visited the beach with his daughters in 2010. That’s when Bastarrika realized that sand had so much more potential than he had ever noticed before! It took him a while, but he’s been hard at work perfecting his technique. Looking at the pictures, it seems like he’s done a fantastic job!
“Sand fascinates me because no matter where you look, it will always teach you if you are willing to learn,” Bastarrika said in a Facebook post. “The reason why I like to make animal sculptures, one among many, is because animals are free spirits, even if we the unconscious have them locked up. They are unique, beautiful, and carriers of great wisdom, so that humans can reflect and learn from them.”
A Long Process
So, how does Bastarrika create these incredibly realistic sculptures? First, the artist finds a suitable location on the beach, preferably flat and elevated a bit away from the waves. Then, he brings enough buckets of sand to the place to work with, depending on the size of the soon-to-be creation. Adding some water to the material, he starts working on the main shape of the sculpture, before moving on to molding and carving expressions, fur, or skin texture.
For the really minute details, like the eye of the elephant in the photo above, Bastarrika uses feathers and sticks to complete his work. Finally, he colors the sand sculpture using natural colorings like ashes, coal powder, clay powder, stone powder, or even recycled glass! We just feel bad for anyone stumbling along the beach: its almost impossible to look at the sand creatures and not think they are really alive!
Never Stop Learning
Over the past ten years, Bastarrika has created everything from dogs and crocodiles to bison, mermaids, and even humans! However, he still loves making animals above all. Not only does Bastarrika continue to learn how to sculpt, but he’s also learns about animal anatomy. Now, this information helps the artist turn sand and mud into lifelike sculpture.
And it’s not easy! “The time it takes to create one piece largely depends on its size,” Bastarrika explained in an interview. “The elephant, for example, took me two days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about six to eight hours.”
Afterward, the artist will take pictures with onlookers and the sand art, as well as sharing them on his Instagram. With how much the internet loves them, hopefully, Bastarrika will gain even more fame!