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Beach Artists Use the Sand as Their Canvas

Life is a beach for these two sand artists. They both use the sand as a canvas for monumental land art.

Story by Bonnie Alter - Source:

Photo © Evewright

Life is a beach for these two sand artists. They both use the sand as a canvas for monumental land art. But one is from Britain, and the other from Sweden and one uses people whilst the other uses tractors to make their “love letters in the sand”.

Photo © Evewright

Everton Wright creates his Walking Drawings: Across the Estuaries by using a combination of freehand and mechanical tools on the Cumbrian beaches. He draws out the path in the early hours of the morning on a beach at least a quarter of a mile long.

Photo © Evewright

Then people of different ages, genders and cultures all dressed in black are led onto the drawing and invited to walk its lines in various patterns. In another, Evewright used 15 Shire horses with their riders to walk the lines. He has to work fast with the participants: he only has about five hours before the sea washes the whole piece away. The entire process is filmed and photographed.

Photo © Urdaibai art

Gunilla Klinberg has a completely different style. Her work, Sign In Space, is a huge, repeated star-pattern on the sand at Laga beach, Spain. Made during low tide by truck tires on a tractor, the pattern will slowly disappear as the tide rises.

Photo ©Urdaibai art

First noted at dezeen, the star-shaped printed pattern is made with a steel-cylinder; the graphic pattern is a relief made of truck tires. This is attached to the beach cleaner’s tractor as it makes its rounds, from one end of the beach to the other, in the early morning.

As the artist explains:

 “It resembles decorated paving in public squares. A beach is another public space where people gather and meet. Nevertheless, the tide makes this demarcated space very temporary.”

The work follows the lunar and tidal calendar, done on days of low tide which coincide with the beach cleaners’ working schedule. A nice combination of practical and artistic labours coming together.

It’s part of an international contemporary art project Sense & Sustainability, at the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve in Basque Country of northern Spain.

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