Sand Artist Creates Incredibly Realistic Sculptures And People Easily Mistake Them For Live Animals

While for most of you, a trip to the beach is to have fun and enjoy the sun, this guy does it to show off his sand sculpting skills. And oh God, his talent is massive. If you’re an artist, everything is a medium. And for Andoni Bastarrika, that’s sand. That’s right, while most of us feel really good about ourselves after we build a castle at the beach, Bastarrika isn’t content with that.

In fact, his sculptures look so realistic, people often mistake them for real animals. His works are much more ambitious, usually revolving around the natural world. From bulls to sharks and beyond, continue scrolling and check out some of the best creatures the artist has made. And yes, they aren’t just animals that he unearthed, Bastarrika really did sculpt them.

Bastarrika found his interest in sand carving by chance approximately a decade ago when visiting one of the beaches in his birthplace in the Basque area of Spain, despite the fact that neither his work nor his education had anything to do with sculpting. He was at the beach with his two daughters, when he decided to model a tiny mermaid in the sand. He realized straight away, he was gifted with some divine talent.


My both hands were looking like they knew what they were doing,” Bastarrika shared with the Bored Panda. “I devoted myself to developing this gift and have spent the last 10 years doing just that.” From that moment, Bastarrika never gives up on his passion. In fact, he started t dedicate much of his time visiting the sandy beaches in northwestern Spain, to create very unique sculptures. All masterpieces!

“The sand fascinates me because no matter how you look at it, it will always teach you things if you are willing to learn,” the gifted artist wrote on Facebook. “In order to create a sculpture, an unthinkable number of sand particles participate, hugging each other tightly through humidity, so that someone could model their union. And once the artist steps back, its piece will remain at the mercy of nature, meaning that sooner or later the wind will dry them up and release each particle, slowly consuming all the individuality and authenticity.”

Most of Bastarrika’s work is inspired by the animal world. He’s actually so talented, his three-dimensional sculptures look unbelievably realistic. His real-sized masterpieces seem they’re just taking a nap on the sand, that’s how good he is.


According to Bastarrika, although there are a thousand reasons why he’s attracted to sand, this one is probably the main one. In fact, he even thinks that we humans should act like this. “To create a beautiful world, we should all embrace each other just as tightly.”

The actual creation process goes something like this: Bastarrika piles up moist sand and starts shaping it, trying to find its expression, the movement that will bring it to life. After finding it, he uses a sharpened stick and a feather to deepen that expression and to transmit life into it. He also sometimes uses other materials like ashes, coal powder, clay powder, stone powder of different colors, glass shards, and so on.

To create his sculptures, Bastarrika gathers between 1,100 lb and 3,300 lb of sand. Bastarrika works mostly with his hands. He likes feeling and touching the sand.

“The time it takes to create one piece largely depends on its size,” Bastarrika explained. “The elephant, for example, took me 2 days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about 6 to 8 hours.”

In most ways, Bastarrika’s work is a mark of humility instead of ego. “Working with sand can be quite challenging,” he said. “Especially because I work with low-quality sand, meaning that I cannot build high sculptures. But sand has always been my teacher, that’s its way of teaching us a lesson about the dangers of ego and trying to go too fast.”

Bastarrika asked us to pass on the following message to you: “Today is the time to make art and live peacefully, to lead a simple life, but a happy life.” What would you tell him? Do you agree with his statement? Do you think art is still a meaningful way of rebelling to reach happiness?

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