It is always a source of wonder why an artist creates something impermanent and cannot be preserved for posterity. One such artist is Manu, an artist based in Waterford, Ireland, who loves to create sand art on the beaches. He has to work against time to complete his art in the gap he gets between high and low tides. According to him, he never leaves a beach design before the tide reaches it and starts erasing it.
But why does Manu create art that perishes in a matter of hours and is only preserved as photos? He shares it on celticnationsmagazine.com, thus, “Nature – in my case the incoming and outgoing tides – provides me with a perfect blank canvas, I use it in the time I’m given and then nature claims it back. It’s a fair deal and needs to be accepted.”
And Manu’s art is not just small patterns on the wet sand, but huge sand drawings that can reach almost 40 meters in diameter. He uses tools, such as bamboo sticks, string, and a measuring tape, to outline the drawing for his stunning sand art. From here on, it is all freehand for which he uses a set of rakes.
The artist uses nature to bring contrast to his art. Says he is on weloveireland.ie, “The tidal sand contains a lot of moisture underneath the dry and bright surface, and raking the sand brings up the wetter – and therefore darker – sand. It creates a contrast, and this is how I draw.”
Manu loves being surrounded by beautiful landscapes offered by the sea. And combined with the sounds of the sea and the tranquility of a remote beach, such as Ballydowane Beach, Ireland, he finds the experience almost surreal. But his art remains a race against time. He gets a maximum of six hours to draw, before the incoming tide acts as an eraser and wipes out everything, only to present him once again with a perfect blank canvas.
After the completion of his sand art, Manu snaps a picture of it and posts them on social media. This is how his art, created with care and precision, got noticed. Within weeks of his first posting, his art went viral and he started receiving laudatory messages interspersed with messages that accused him of photoshopping.
Manu continues to create new patterns on the sand and uploads them on social media.