Andres Amador is a San Francisco-based artist. His artwork can span over 100,000 feet, achievable only during low tide. With tight time constraints and big goals, he is posed with the question: ‘How does one create from within that which one is creating?’ Exploring this concept of self-creation has brought Andres to investigate natural and human-devised systems of structure and growth.
His artworks do not last long- within minutes of finishing a piece, and often while still in progress, the returning tide begins resetting the canvas. This provides an opportunity to reflect upon the nature of impermanence, serving as a reminder that the act of joyous creation is its own reward. His ultimate desire with displaying the artwork is to bring a sense of wonder and immediacy to the viewer.
When did I begin the Playa Paintings?
I started the beach artwork in 2004.
How did the idea come to you?
The idea came to me while studying geometry, ancient architecture and crop circles. Our ancestors created their magificent works with very simple tools, but armed with great geometric insights. From there the art has evolved into many different styles over the years a the medium guides the exploration.
How many have you done?
I have lost count of the number I have done- at least several hundred.
How long do they take?
I generally give myself about 2 hours to work. WIth more people helping me I can do larger or more ambitious works. But everything must happen during the low tide, and ideally during the window in which the tide is at its lowest.
What tools do you use? A rake and sometimes rope for the geometric ones. That’s it.
Why do you do it?
Why…thats a big and shifting question. I do it because it gets me out to the beach and the fresh air and the elements- sun or wind or rain. I do it because it brings me peace and focus. Ultimately I do it because of the joy of the challenge. The artform feels to me to be an exploration of the various ways to make largescale creations. Over the years I have found a number of methods, and new ones continue to present themselves as I explore deeper. This year I purchased a copter with camera attached so that I can make the art and take photos at the landscape level in locations never before available to me. That has opened up whole new avenues of exploration. So I suppose I do it because the artform continnues to delight me with possibilties. And truly, its always a good day at the beach.
Does it bother you that your art gets erased so quickly?
Something big that comes with this art is the recognition of impermanence. I create with the knowledge of the impending erasure of my efforts, often while I am working. It has turned the artform into a practice of process over product. I am always striving for the perfect photo that I can share proudly. But when I get to the beach I have already let go of that expectation and surrender to the act of creation.
Andres Amador has been featured by the BBC, CNN, the Discovery Channel, and numerous T.V. programs and periodicals globally. His artwork has appeared on beaches in the US and internationally, with his primary canvas being the Northern California coastline.