Toshihiko Hosaka began making sand sculptures in art school and has been using beaches and sand boxes as his canvas for almost 20 years. His work defies what we typically think of as sand art as he sculpts and carves the loose, granular substance as if it were some malleable form of clay.
There is no core, mold or adhesive ever used throughout the process: just sand. The only trick Hosaka uses (and this is commonly accepted) is a hardening spray applied to his sculpture only after it’s been completed, in order to prevent wind and sun from eroding it for a few days.
Earlier this month Hosaka competed in the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival along with 22 other international professional sand sculptors. The theme for the contest was “Hero” and Hosaka spent 3 days sculpting a figure of Musashi Miyamoto, which was awarded 1st prize on May 6th. Hosaka depicted the 16th century expert Japanese swordsman seated down in a calm position, sword tucked under his belt.
You can see some of Hosaka’s past work on his website but we’ve also included a few selections below. The artist continues to be active in and around Japan. According to an interview, he’ll be at the Sakaide Minato Matsuri on May 18th creating a salt sculpture (which will go on view on the 27th). Then on July 15th he’ll be at the Ishikarihama Sand Park. He’s also available for group workshops where he’ll teach you everything there is to know about sand sculpting.
In the ultimate display of pursuing perfection, Hosaka even collaborated with a Japanese chemical company to create his own environmentally friendly Sand Art Glue, that substance he uses to spray on his sculptures once they’re complete.