You’ve heard of golden sand beaches, now get ready for gold and sand masterpieces.
German artist Tim Bengel is the master of an unusual medium, using sand, gold and glue to craft grand-scale works of art with detail as rich as a photograph.
Tim’s mesmerising work has been seen by millions through viral videos of the sand-covered canvas being titled to allow the loose particles to come cascading down, revealing the striking image beneath.
We spoke with Tim to find out how he discovered his medium, when his fascination with art began and more.
What’s your earliest memory you have of creating artwork? Was it at this point an idea of a career as an artist was conceived?
When I was a kid, my Mom took me to the museum and I totally didn't understand all the abstract paintings and why the grown-ups were so fascinated by them. So, when I went back home, I tried to imitate the works I just saw. I thought imitating art would make me an artist and as an artist, I would know what art is.
Your unique medium of glue, sand and gold creates some incredibly striking end results. What influenced you into exploring this style, was it more ambitious than anything you'd done before?
It took time, until I was 16, to realise that art is born in a process of innovation, not imitation. I searched for years and experimented with plastic, wood, metal to find my own technique with recognition value.
What's the process like from conception of an idea to its final creation? Do you meticulously plan ahead or is the development more natural?
I plan a lot of the work ahead. Only details get changed in the process. In the end, the work is always different than I wanted it to be. Mostly the result is better than expected.
Are there any other mediums you'd like to try that you haven't had the chance to experiment with yet?
There are many! I experimented with others before and I will never stop to try new things. I'll stay curious.
Through the internet, your creations have been seen by millions. What's been the most memorable reaction you've ever had to your work?
It's difficult to pick one, but some people wrote to me in private emails that my creations saved them from committing suicide. I still don't understand how my works did this, but it seems sometimes a little bit of inspiration can save a life.
What was the last piece of artwork you saw that really moved or inspired you?
When I went to Miami, I saw the golden mammoth skeleton made by Damien Hirst. It is beautiful and also kind of crazy. I like it.
When you're not working to create another remarkable piece of art, how might we find you spending your time?
I am working a lot because I love what I do. I also try to cook every day and to make time for some meditation and sports to stay healthy. No successes are more import than your mental and physical health.
What has been the most challenging piece to create in your career so far?
Every piece has new challenges. But as soon as a piece is done, I forget the difficulties and only remember the fun and enjoy the result.
Is there anything exciting that you have coming up you'd be able to share?
There is something very exciting, but I can't spoil the surprise!
Discover more of Tim’s creations and learn more about his story below.