Images via Sandcastle Matt
Forget your fancy sandcastle building tools. Your molded buckets may ensure a perfectly formed turret, but where's the fun in that? The artist behind these abstract sand designs, who goes by sandcastlematt on Flickr, uses the traditional drip method known and used by castle builders of all ages. By using a simple 1:1 mixture of sand and water, he's able to create sculptures that stick without any help from adhesives. Obviously—or maybe not so obviously—it's not all sand. He uses debris found on beaches (driftwood, fishing line, vines, plywood and some biodegradable twine) to create a base structure to build off of and give them that "leaning tower of sand" look.
Sand Castle Matt works with the beach's elements to play up his designs by using shadows, reflections and even beach-goers in the photographs of his work. His sig other put together a video following the creation of one of the castles. Check it out:
They're all a little eerie, really—some come off as living forms (see below for my favorite: a dinosaur-esque beach crasher) and others as abstract limbs rising up from the gritty ground. It's no surprise that one of his images made the rounds as an incorrect classification of "petrified sand" by means of lightning. What's really unfortunate is that these castles don't stick around for very long. After the surf or a big storm rolls in, it's only a matter of time before the majestic arrangements melt back into the beach.
Which is precisely why Sand Castle Matt photographs his ephemeral artworks, in the grand tradition of earth artists such as Andy Goldsworthy. Check out many more shots of these creations on Flickr.