I remember going to the beach on the shores of Vancouver Island, as a child, while visiting my grandparents. The warm soft sea air, the distinctive smell and the clutter of strange sea dwelling animals to poke at were the highlights. I would sit there and shove some sand together, while internally declaring myself an artist. ‘What a wonderful clump of sand you’ve made’, I’d reassure myself before seeing a crab run across my view, as if asked to be chased. This was the peak of my sculpting abilities. Seeing these sculptures from Carl Jara remind me fondly of those days. If only I didn’t bother chasing everything I saw, and tried to make something beautiful like he has.
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This Cleveland based sculpture creates mind blowing art with sand and water as well as with woodwork. Now looking at these you’d suspect some foul play. I for one assumed he used plinthes to hold everything up and then just patted some sand around it. Not at all. In fact, here’s a direct quote from him about his work when questioned in another article:
‘About the “binder” nope sorry, nothin’ in there but sand and water. The finished piece is sprayed with a preservative, but like the coat of wax on your car, it ain’t going to hold it together.
The sand is packed from the ground, up, in layers no more than two inches high, takes about six hours for the pieces you see. the solid packed sand can be carved, but only as far as it will allow. That’s it, no tricks, no gimmicks’.
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Considering the patience and time required to create such pieces, the sculptures below leave me wide eyed and speechless.