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The joy of creating great beach art

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Sand art expert Andres Amador might be feeling a little cramped on Bermuda's beaches. The San Francisco artist is known for the “bigness” of his work with some pieces spanning 100,000 feet.

He is in Bermuda for the third annual Bermuda Beach Art Festival and will be giving workshops today, tomorrow and Thursday at Horseshoe Bay in Southampton.

Beach art basically involves raking the beach into patterns. The raked sand is wet and therefore stands out against the unraked portions of the beach to great visual effect.

“Bermuda beaches are much slimmer and more petite than I am used to,” he said. “The main beach that I work on in San Francisco is called Ocean Beach and it is 3.5 miles long.”

He has a science background. His interest in beach art started accidentally while he was studying ancient geometry.

“I was on the beach showing a friend some concepts in ancient geometry,” he said. “I realised that these large complicated structures could be created with simple methods on the beach.”

He is now a world renowned beach artist with over 185,000 followers on his Facebook page.

Although beach art is rapidly becoming a competitive event in the United States and Europe, for Mr Amador, it is not about competition.

“That is not my draw,” he said. “I can appreciate that competition can motivate.”

He is now working full time on his beach art and takes commissions. In one commission he was asked to create beach art to go with a wedding invitation. The tide started to come in just as he finished, but the target had time to appreciate it.

“The tide often washes away what I have done within minutes,” he said. “That is just part of beach art. You always have to be working with the tides.”

He also uses his art to make statements. After one beach in California experienced an oil spill, he created a bio hazard symbol the beach.

“I had oil on shoes, on that day,” he said.

One of the hardest things about creating some large pieces on a beach is that it is sometimes hard to see what it looks like as it is being made. Mr Amador said he had a couple of techniques for coping with that challenge.

“A big focus of my art is processes that I see in nature,” he said.

“When you are working at a large scale there are several ways to keep it together at such a large level. One of those ways is geometric because then you are creating something that is perfectly spaced and you know where everything is. Another way is to have an image that grows as it would in nature.”

He finds inspiration all around him. It usually takes him about two hours to do a design. The beach art has led to interesting collaborations for him, such as a piece he did with the Santa Cruz Philharmonic Orchestra.

Workshops will be today, tomorrow and Thursday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm at Horseshoe Bay Beach in Southampton. They are free to the public.

“The aim of the festival is to make people aware of the beach, make them adorn the beaches and see how beautiful they are and how they can create beautiful things on the beach,” said Bermuda Beach Art Festival organiser Nicky Gurret.

“The workshops present people with a great opportunity to meet Andreas.”

The Beach Art Festival will take place from 11am to 2pm across beaches all over the Island on March 29. Artists will take pictures of their beach art and submit them by March 29 at 3pm to entries@bermudabeachartfestival.com.

People who would like to compete for the cash prizes of up to $500 in each category, tourist, teenagers, family and adults can e-mail match@northrock, or message Bermuda Beach Art on Facebook or call Nicky Gurret at 295-4597.

For more information about Mr Amador's art see www.andresamadorarts.com.

Sand artist Andres Amador stands on the beach with one of his works of art
Andres Amador's painting of xiuhcóatl the fire serpent
Andres Amador's sand painting Geoglyph

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Published March 25, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm)

The joy of creating great beach art

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