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Interview with Jben
Interview with Jben
Hi, J.Ben! Nice to have you with us. We love your art. It's something unusual that really fascinated us.
When do you start doing this kind of work with sand from the beach? Did you have any influence or experience to start specializing in this art?
Hello! I am 38 years old project manager and web designer who also works as a “beach art” artist for the past 4 years, mainly in the Charente-Maritime area, in the central west of France. I am a Passionate by different art form, I discovered this unusual and unknown type of art through research I did on internet, where I found Andres Amador, one of the pioneers in this field. This discovery was for me a revelation. I know well about working with the sand, as I worked for many years developing my skills as a sculptor and animator for the world marble championship.
My passion for the drones led me to build my first machines, with which I spent some time practicing the pilotage in order to do my first tests in aerial view photography and filming. As the drawings in beach art can sometimes cover me a surface of up to ten thousand square feet, using a drone to capture these artworks made sense. It is because of these reasons that I decided to do my first tests, which happened to be very promising start. I spent some some time working on more ambitious project in order to test my limits.
Are you looking for beaches where the conditions are favorable or just anywhere where there is sand you can make a work?
- Finding the right place to make a drawing can sometimes be quite difficult. You always have to deal with nature. Day after day the sand on the beach is moving and the place is not really the same each time. Sometimes you go on a particular spot and when you discover the beach you have to move to another for many reasons : the sand is not smooth because of the wind or sometimes it's dirty because of the pollution or even sometimes the beach is ruined by people walking, making sport, riding horses or something else.
But I also have my favorite spots that are mostly drawable. Specially the beach of La Grande Côte in Charente-Maritime where bunkers from the second war are still there after all those years.
How long do you estimate in making a work of the characteristics that we see in the photos?
Between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the drawing or even the size and also the density of the sand and most important the tides. More the tidal coefficient is high the most place I have on the beach to make a drawing.
I've been drawing on the beach for 5 years now and I made about 200 pieces. I try to go to the beach as much as I can depending on the low tides and the weather as well.
Has it ever happened to you that when a wave comes or the wind or some external phenomenon annoys you with all the work you've done?
I try every time to work with the best conditions but sometimes for example the wind becomes stronger as you are drawing and can blow the drawing because of the dry sand that flies on the drawing. So you have to leave the beach without finishing the piece and just let it go L
Can you explain to readers what materials you use to make your works as perfect as they are? What techniques do you use? Do you improvise or have everything planned before making one of your drawings in the sand?
I use 2 rakes on which I can change the claws. One of my rake as a 40m rope attached on it.With a little stick planted in the sand on the center, this rack allows me to draw circles the diameter I want. With a circle you can draw all geometric things, so it's important to have it, when you're working on project that looks like crop circles.
Pieces are sometimes prepared on paper, especially when I work on complex designs. Sometimes it's not prepared, I just go to the beach because it's the right time and then I let the feeling come to draw some free hand stuffs.
How many square meters was the biggest work you've ever done? Where was it? How often do you do any kind of work?
The biggest piece are around 60m diameter. I did some In Nauzan beach located Vaux-Sur-Mer. But sometimes I do long pieces that can be 100m long or more depending on what place the beach let me to work. We have nice beaches here in Charente-Maritime that are few kilometers long. I don't do often these kind of pieces but it happen 2 or 3 times a year.
Are you able to draw any kind of design or do they have to have special characteristics?
I try to explore any kind of design and can do lot of things. Idon't really have limits but the most difficult to reproduce are designs with lots of shades for example. It's way more difficult to do shades on the beach. Not impossible but it's not like working on paper.
Thank you so much Jben!Read more Close