Andoni Bastarrika discovered his gift when he took his children to the beach and created a mermaid for them.
We often see people with exceptional talents around us but not all of them have the opportunity to display it to the world. With the emergence of social media and its widespread use, some artists have been lucky to have been noticed and appreciated by many. One of them was Andoni Bastarrika, whose art captured the attention of many on the internet.
Bastarrika is a multi-media artist from Basque Country in Spain. His realistic art sculptures have become widely famous. If you are thinking of what is special about them, the answer is sand. The artist uses sand to express his creativity and build magnificent sculptures out of it. Most of his work revolves around animals such as bulls and sharks. However, he was not aware of his talent until an incident at the beach.
During the summer of 2010, the artist went to the beach along with his two daughters. He made them a little mermaid sculpture. It is then he realized his hidden talent. He discovered the “fluidity” of his hands and decided to use it.
That day, he decided to develop his newfound gift. "They knew what they were doing. I devoted myself to developing this gift and have spent the last 10 years doing just that," said the man in conversation with Bored Panda.
In his Facebook post, the artist spoke of how he was fascinated by sand and the things you can learn if you put your heart to it.
“The sand fascinates me because no matter how you look at it, it will always teach you things if you are willing to learn. 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," said the artist.
He also stated that there were many other reasons for his love for sand as a medium. He believes that even humans can learn something from sand. “To create a beautiful world, we should all embrace each other just as tightly. There are a lot of reasons why I like to make animal sculptures as well, but one is the fact that animals are free spirits," Bastarrika explained, according to Bored Panda.
"Humans can reflect and learn from them," said the artist. He added, "Then, there’s the nudity they bring with themselves to this world at birth which they keep until their death. That nudity—at least to me—symbolizes freedom, the essential ingredient to being able to truly live. Humans ‘overdress’ to survive in a lot of ways. I have never made nor will I make an animal with a necklace or chains. I prefer to embrace their freedom, power, and wisdom through beauty rather than a form of suffering."
Bastarrika starts his process by shaping the moist sand with his hands. For adding the fine details to his creation, he uses tools such as a brush, small sticks, and toothpicks, according to Wonderful Engineering. He adds the layer of realism by mixing sand with coal powder, clay powder, stone powder of different color, ashes, and glass shards. He also uses horns and hooves for the effect.
Though he has been doing this for a while, his work gained international attention only after the picture of his bull sculpture went viral on Reddit. People could not believe it was art and Bastarrika received a lot of positive feedback.
Meanwhile, the talented man does not want to be selfish about his art. He organizes workshops and opens up about the secrets of sand sculpting. Additionally, he uses his Instagram and Facebook to showcase and talk about his art.