Julian Richardson is a land artist, which means he creates his masterpieces in nature, submitting his designs to the chaotic whims of the surrounding world. He’s particularly fond of sand art, drawn to the “totally natural medium of [...] beaches,” as he writes online.
Not-so-secretly inspired by M.C. Escher, his ephemeral sand artworks appear like tessellations crafted a short walk from the water’s edge. Richardson has been making them for over two decades, leaving these geometric sketches on British shores, typically in Southwest England. To create them, he spends hours raking the sand, fighting against time in order to finish his shadowy markings before they succumb to the tide.
Before his land art disappears, though, he takes a photograph of the finished product, memorializing a unique configuration that will never be seen in person again. Even though a photo is all that remains, Richardson is confident that his efforts are worthwhile.
“By understanding the symbiotic relationship between sacred design and its position within an ancient landscape, my art has the ability to enter viewers psyche and effect how they interpret the world around them,” Richardson writes in his artistic statement online. “This motivates me to continue pushing the parameters of these mediums’ creative possibilities. Following on from the stone circle-makers of old, I am effectively attempting to create sacred spaces for contemplation, a catalyst by which visitors can question life, the universe, and their place within it.”
It’s been a rough week. Enjoy the beauty that is Richardson’s work below, and see more of his sand work on his website.