39 Hyperrealistic Sand Sculptures Of Animals

Ephemeral art — art that is fleeting with time — exists outside a museum or gallery exhibit and has no financial worth. Over time, whether it be minutes, hours, or days, it fades back into the environment from which it came. There’s a particular value art that is temporary in its nature, but permanent in its beauty and impact.

Virtually anything can become a medium for artistic practice, and for Andoni Bastarrika, a Spanish artist, that’s sand. His artistic adventure began in 2010 when he made a mermaid sculpture for his two little girls. From then on, he committed to cultivating his newly-discovered skill.

Sand Art

The process of creating art using sand instills an inherent appreciation for nature due to working directly with natural materials and being with them in their natural environment.

“The sand fascinates me because no matter how you look at it, it will always teach you things if you are willing to learn,” he wrote on his Facebook account. “In order to create a sculpture, an unthinkable number of sand particles participate, hugging each other tightly through humidity, so that someone could model their union. And once the artist steps back, its piece will remain at the mercy of nature, meaning that sooner or later the wind will dry them up and release each particle, slowly consuming all the individuality and authenticity.”

Bastarrika’s works are hyperrealistic and ambitious, ordinarily featuring the subject of the natural world. He explains that the main reason he likes to create animal sculptures is that animals are free spirits. Not only they are unique and beautiful, but they also bear profound wisdom that could teach us, humans, a thing or two.

The process of creating a sand sculpture begins with Bastarrika starting to shape moist sand, searching for the perspective and attitude that will bring it to life. To make his sculptures, the artist uses a sharpened stick and a feather to add dimension, as well as such materials as ashes, coal powder, clay powder, stone powder of different colors, glass shards, and others.

“The time it takes to create one piece largely depends on its size,” Bastarrika revealed. “The elephant, for example, took me 2 days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about 6 to 8 hours.”

From dogs to horses and crocodiles, jump below to view some of the most majestic sand sculptures the artist has created.

Incredibly Realistic Sand Sculptures

1. Can you believe this isn’t a real bull but a sculpture?

2. When your vivid imagination becomes a source for your artistic inspiration.

3. Would you like to see your pet as a sand sculpture?

4. Creativity on a new level. This gives quite an unsettling vibe.

5. This majestic sand sculpture is rendered with impressive realism, isn’t it?

6. The elephant appears almost too real-looking to be a sculpture.

7. The creature that sends a bit of a chill down my spine.

8. Such pretty colors, and the usage of beach glass to decorate the sea turtle’s fins is top-notch.

9. Dolphin on a mound of garbage makes you think about the ecology and the future of our planet.

10. Imagine walking along the beach and seeing something like this…

11. The sand sculpture looks pretty massive compared to the real dogs, doesn’t it?

12. See you later, alligator, In a while, crocodile.

13. This mermaid must have quite a tragic story to tell.

14. It’s incredible how the artist draws attention to issues of particular concern through art.

15. The shark really looks like it’s crawled onto shore.

16. The eyes look so realistic and full of emotions!

17. This majestic creature looks like he roamed very far away from home.

18. Breathtakingly magnificent animal with such beautiful and intelligent eyes!

19. This wise man looks so real you can see his whole life in his face.

20. Didn’t you think, just for a second, that Rufo was real?

21. This happy pair looks absolutely adorable, doesn’t it?

22. In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight.

23. This is apparently what happens when your art gets too realistic.

24. This crocodile is so real-looking that I would be terrified if I saw it on the beach.

25. That sweet smile captures the pure innocence of childhood beautifully.

26. Two best friends hanging out on the beach.

27. Aww, isn’t this dog the cutest? The artist outdid himself.

28. Wow. What would you think if you stumbled upon such creature on the beach?

29. Isn’t it a joy to watch dogs play in the water?

30. Incredibly realistic sand sculpture of a beautiful marine creature.

31. Hands down the most distinct sand sculpture in this compilation.

32. The artist is definitely making some bold statements here.

33. Aww, wouldn’t you just love to cuddle this little creature?

34. Isn’t this sculpture breathtaking? The little animal even has whiskers!

35. This snake’s yellow eye looks quite unsettling, doesn’t it?

36. Another hyperrealistic alligator absolutely no one would like to stumble upon on a beach vacation.

37. Such a majestic whale! The artist is truly a master of his craft.

38. This can give a person a serious fright!

39. Another impressive sand sculpture that proves how unbelievably talented the artist is.

The art Andoni Bastarrika creates fades almost immediately after he created it, and that’s okay because it makes more room for future adventures.

Aren’t these sand sculptures breathtaking? Which one do you like best? Tell us in the comments, as we would love to know. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends — they will appreciate the fantastic compilation.


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.