Drawn to the Beach: Sand Art by Jim Denevan

Posted on by Lauren Moss

With the temperatures heating up and beach season well underway, we thought we'd take a look at a few examples of beautiful public art that makes the most of the warm weather and low tide: Jim Denevan's monumental (and fleeting) sand drawings.


The Santa Cruz-based artist, chef and surfer has created several hundred of these unique, geometric installations since the late 1990's, using only a rake or stick with the landscape as medium.


While the scale is massive, the freehand drawings that often cover miles of beach are ephemeral, lasting only until the tide washes them away.


Though photographs of his work have been exhibited at MOMA and documented on film, it is the physical process, the integral connection to place and time, and the temporal nature of each installation that makes every design truly singular. The changing nature of the landscape is a dynamic, beautiful canvas for the precision of the geometries Denevan imagines for each location.


'My movement has a present, and then where I want to be, that's the future. And when I move, then the line has a past.' (via)


'The motion of taking a stick and leaving that central point, curving... it's very profound, because I have to embody the beginning, the middle and the end in the entire motion.' (via)


All images are from Jim Denevan's website, where you can view more photos of his large format land art in sand, ice and earth. To learn more about his process, take a look at this video from KQED, in which Denevan discusses his background, approach and inspiration. Enjoy!