True artists can make art out of almost anything. We’ve seen talented people who create astonishing artworks using paper, wood, stones and even pieces of scrap metal. This time, prepare to revel in the beauty of Andoni Bastarrika’s stunning sand sculptures. From bulls and horses to sharks and more, this sand artist creates strikingly realistic animal figures by the beach. In fact, they’re so lifelike that they can even make you doubt your own eyes.
Bastarrika discovered his affinity with sand in the summer of 2010 while on a beach trip with his two daughters. Back then, he attempted creating his first-ever sand sculpture—a little mermaid. To his surprise, his hands seemed to have known what they were doing. This experience made him realize the “fluidity” of his hands, which he considers as a gift. So, he spent the last 10 years developing this gift, and now, he has ultimately perfected his craft.
Sand artist Andoni Bastarrika creates hyperrealistic animal sculptures by the shore
According to the talented sculptor, he finds the sand fascinating for its ability to teach mankind valuable life lessons. Bastarrika also shared how nature plays a significant role in his creations.
“In order to create a sculpture, an unthinkable number of sand particles participate, hugging each other tightly through humidity, so that someone could model their union. And once the artist steps back, its piece will remain at the mercy of nature, meaning that sooner or later the wind will dry them up and release each particle, slowly consuming all the individuality and authenticity.”
Bastarrika is particularly fond of sculpting animal figures for a good number of reasons. For one, he sees animals as free spirits, making them bearers of great wisdom that humans can learn from. On top of that, he perceives their “nudity” as freedom or “the essential ingredient to being able to truly live.”
“Humans ‘overdress’ to survive in a lot of ways. I have never made nor will I make an animal with a necklace or chains. I prefer to embrace their freedom, power, and wisdom through beauty rather than a form of suffering.”
To build his masterpiece, he starts off by accumulating moist sand and shaping it into his desired form. Along the way, he tries to determine and capture the perfect expression and movement to bring his creation to life.
Aside from using his bare hands, Bastarrika also uses a sharpened stick and a feather to define finer details. In some cases, he also incorporates other materials like ashes, clay powder and stone powder into his works. According to him, the time it takes to complete a figure is highly dependent on its size.
“The elephant, for example, took me 2 days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about 6 to 8 hours.”
His creations are so lifelike that some beachgoers have mistaken them for the real thing