Mention sand art and the image that comes to mind is that of an intricately carved sculpture or design sketched on a beach surface. Though impressive, they are transient masterpieces that disappear with the first large wave or splash of rain. However, 24-year-old Tim Bengel’s sand art is permanent. That’s because the German artist uses the grit to “paint” his masterpieces on canvas. While the final product is certainly stunning, what is even more so is the way it is created.
Bengel begins by covering a blank canvas with a special adhesive that dries extremely slowly, giving the artist ample time to draw the desired image. He then begins “painting” with grains of black sand and in some cases, gold foil. It takes the young man anywhere from 80 to 300 hours to complete each work of art.
What is most intriguing about Bengel’s process is that only the artist knows what the final image will be. To the rest of the world, the canvas appears to be a mess of black sand. It is only when Bengel sprinkles white sand over the canvas and then dramatically sweeps off all the excess grit that the masterpiece is revealed!
The talented artist, who is currently studying art and philosophy at the University of Tubingen, says his interest in the subject began after he visited the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart art museum as a child. Bengel was so inspired that he came home and began trying to reproduce the paintings he had seen at the museum. After winning an art competition at this school at the age of 18, Bengel knew that it was the career he wanted to pursue. But the young man also realized that to be successful, he would have to develop his own unique style.
A few years ago, he came up with his sand art idea. But as you can imagine, painting something that you cannot see even after it is completed is no easy task. Bengel says his first few paintings were a total disaster. But after some practice, he managed to perfect his sand art skills and was soon creating the masterpieces that have made the young artist world famous.
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