Most people who have been to a beach have probably spent some time doodling in the sand, either a heart or a name or a big S.O.S. sign just for the fun of it. What’s certain, though, is that there’s a big difference between those doodles and the sprawling sand graffiti that this California-based artist creates.

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Andres Amador is what he calls an “Earthscape artist,” meaning that he uses “natural materials to engage the landscape.” With a rake as his main tool, he brings to life large-scale geometric patterns and designs on the beaches of Northern California and the rest of the world.

Andres Amador draws massive and intricate designs on sand armed only with a rake (and sometimes a rope and a compass for the most geometric patterns) © Andres Amador

His works, which can span over 100,000 feet (more or less 35,000 sq meters), are “geometry in action” – they expand by principles of growth and almost become their own entities. And no two pieces are the same, just like Andres tells Lonely Planet.

“Each [one] is unique in the steps needed to realize it. The designs are inspired by a wide range of sources [like] nature, the human-built landscape or cultural designs,” he explains. “Sometimes I start with an already existing pattern – such as cracks in mud – and other times I develop a new technique for creating at the large scale and then new designs emerge while exploring that.”

A picture of one of Amador's artworks titled "Field II"
Most of Andres' works come to life in Northern California, but he has also gotten the chance to create pieces around the rest of the US and the world © Andres Amador

This mix of planning and spur-of-the-moment creation is also why Andres has a very specific type of beach he likes to work on. “My ideal location has features I can interact with – boulders or spurs of a mountainside.” And he also adds that, understandably, he prefers beaches that are isolated from populated areas.

A picture of one of Amador's artwork titled "Glyph Trail"
Andres' ideal beach needs to be the perfect mix. "Not too sloped and dries too quickly, not too flat and doesn't drain," he explained to Lonely Planet © Andres Amador

Andres’ work is ephemeral by its very nature. Once the high tide comes in, his patterns are washed away for good – something that he has learned to accept. “Ultimately, when [a piece] is finished, I let it go,” he writes on his website. “For me, the energy and draw [are] around the act of creation.”

A picture of one of Andres Amador's works titled "Substructures V"
The pandemic has also impacted Andres' work but he told Lonely Planet that he took this time "to explore new types of design and mediums" as a way to "flex the creativity muscle and investigate new possibilities" © Andres Amador

If you’d like to know more about Andres Amador and his work, you can check out his official website here, where you can also find a link to the social media channels he uses.

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This article was first published October 2020 and updated November 2020

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