This post was written by Tom McCallum

A Line in the Sand: The Amazing Beach Murals of Andres Amador

Armed with nothing but a rake and a rope, earthscape artist Andres Amador has been creating some of the most striking art installations in the USA. Along stretches of beach on the Northern California coastline, he masterfully etches incredible geometric shapes and patterns into the sand, creating art works that, when viewed from above, form stunningly intricate and eerily other-worldly works of art.

Andres’s innovative beach murals have caught the attention of art fans worldwide, not just for the detail of the patterns, but for the sheer scale of the designs. Some of Andres’s larger murals span over 100,000 feet – a mighty effort from just one man and a rake.

image of earthscape artist andres amador holding a rake

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

You have to be lucky to catch one up close, however. Each creation lasts for a maximum of a few hours before the tide eventually comes in and washes it away or the  coastal breeze scatters it to the wind. Most artists would find this quick destruction of their masterpieces incredibly frustrating, however, the transience of the designs, says Andres, is part of the whole point:

“Something big that comes with this art is the recognition of impermanence. I create with the knowledge of the impending erasure of my efforts, often while I am working. It has turned the artform into a practice of process over product. I am always striving for the perfect photo that I can share proudly. But when I get to the beach I have already let go of that expectation and surrender to the act of creation.”

image of honeycomb earthscape mural in sand by andres amador

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

The majority of Andres’s work is captured spectacularly by various fine art photographers. The best shots are always from high above the mural, often from a surrounding cliff face. From this perspective the scale of the work takes on a powerful, ethereal persona reminiscent of fictional representations of alien planets or even crop circles. In fact, it was while studying the geometry of crop circles that the idea of creating giant beach murals first came to Andres:

“The idea came to me while studying geometry, ancient architecture and crop circles. Our ancestors created their magnificent works with very simple tools, but armed with great geometric insights. From there the art has evolved into many different styles over the years and the medium guides the exploration.”

andres amador creating a sand mural

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

Through photography and film, Andres’s sand murals have been met by an enthusiastic global audience, and he has often featured on mainstream television networks including the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Today Show. His Facebook page has gathered a quarter of a million fans and images of his beachscapes have been shared hundreds of thousands of time across the web. It’s not for fame or recognition, however, that Andres continues to create his beach murals:

“I do it because it gets me out to the beach and the fresh air and the elements – sun, wind or rain. I do it because it brings me peace and focus. Ultimately, I do it because of the joy of the challenge.”

image of a sand mural created by andres amador arts

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

“The art form feels to me to be an exploration of the various ways to make large-scale creations. Over the years I have found a number of methods, and new ones continue to present themselves as I explore deeper. I suppose I do it because the art form continues to delight me with possibilities. And truly, it’s always a good day at the beach.”

bubbles in the sand mural by Andres Amador

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

Andres has lost count of the number of beach murals he’s created since he began in 2004, but he estimates that it’s around “several hundred”. Looking to share the benefits of creating art works on the coastline of Northern California, Andres has had recent success in inviting others to join him for corporate team building days, allowing others creating a temporary piece of art that’s unique to them. Most of his work however, remains entirely his own and takes around two hours to complete, depending on size. Each mural is also a race against time as the tide constantly creeps in to wash it away:

“With more people helping me, I can do larger or more ambitious works. But everything must happen during the low tide, and ideally during the window in which the tide is at its lowest.”

image of Anrdes Amador mural in the sand creation

Image courtesy of Andres Amador Arts

Andres continues to create temporary installations on beaches in Northern California and around the world. He recently travelled to the Channel Islands in the UK and is keen to take his beach murals even further afield. You can find out more about Andres Amador and purchase images of his art work on his website.


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