Artist Leonardo Ugolini Makes Sculptures out of Sand

Like any child, Italian artist Leonardo Ugolini spent his youth drawing, playing legos, and building sandcastles at the seaside. While most leave their dreams of creating new worlds out of sand at the beach, Ugolini turned the childhood pastime into a profession. Now, having mastered the art of sand sculpting, Ugolini takes his skills around the globe competing in international events and festivals. With a fascination with fantasy and fiction, Ugolini’s sculptures are inspired by Greek mythology, fairytales, and movie landscapes. His incredibly detailed and realistic creations can stand up to 10 metres tall and can take anywhere between 14 to 30 days to make. Ugolini also replicates distinguished architecture from around the world, such as the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Taj Mahal, and even the city of Prague, which ended up being 24 metres long and 5 metres tall.

Sand sculpting is not as simple as childhood memories may recall. There is much more that goes into creating a quality sand sculpture that can endure the pressures of time. Depending on the project, sand sculptors must take into consideration the type of sand their using, the location their in, and the weather conditions. Surprisingly, beach sand lacks the clay and silt that is needed for sculpting, therefore most professionals like Ugolini use river sand. When done properly in moderate climate locations, sand sculptures can withstand rain and wind, lasting up to 4 to 6 months. 

Bringing an imaginative, boundless, and childlike spirit to his craft, Ugolini has gained a lot of attention on social media platforms. After a video of him creating the Hogwarts castle went viral, millions have immersed themselves in his artistry, putting a much-needed spotlight on a niche community of artists whose impressive work tends to go unnoticed. Ugolini has shown that sand sculpting is more than a chance to connect with your inner child, but a chance to explore the imagination as deeply as children do.