Sand Artist’s Incredible Creations Only Last for Hours
These remarkable photos show the results of an artist’s race against time and tides to create sand art. Seen from above, the beautiful patterns stretch across vast swathes of the beach, before the waves roll in to reclaim the sand canvas as their own.
The artworks were created by Wiltshire artist Julian Richardson, using little more than a rake. Since 2013 he has created 45 sand artworks across the south and west of England, and has even worked with the National Trust.
Richardson normally operates at Brean Down in Somerset, as the Bristol channel has one of the world’s largest tidal ranges and the rocky headland offers a view over the beach.
The 42-year-old notes his work is unique not only in its limited duration, but also in the very specific way it’s meant to be viewed: “Due to tidal conditions, the sand art’s nature is very ‘of the moment.’ Each piece can only be fully appreciated when viewed from overhead. At ground level the art appears more abstract in appearance.”
Richardson says the the Bristol Channel is ideal for him thanks to a “wide expanse of beach during low tide, which is perfect for my art which can measure up to 500 feet in diameter.”
To create his work, Richardson has perfected an efficient working method: “Each piece of art is the final process of a design concept that has been carefully considered in advance. My tool of choice is an adjustable wire-headed leaf rake which I use to tickle the surface of the sand. This exposes the wetter subsurface, thus providing the contrast for the art to become visible.
“I only have a seven hour work window in which to create and record each piece of sand art before the incoming tide erases it. On the odd occasion I’ve had to alter a design due to the beach being slow to dry out, or have had to amend a piece in order to complete it to a sufficient stage and document the art before the incoming tide engulfs it.”
Behold more of his sand art below.