A long walk on the beach at Denmark's Søndervig Sand Sculpture Festival packs more art than the average gallery. For the 15th year in a row, 43-year-old Karsten Nielsen and his 70-year-old mother Anni Nielsen have curated dozens of monumental artists to inscribe the resort town of Søndervig's beach area with large-scale sand sculptures. This year's theme is "Life Under the Sea."
The main attraction is a seven-meter-tall, horseshoe-shaped wall of imagery. Whales, turtles, coral, and anchors make it feel like you're deep underwater long before you set foot in the ocean. This year, Spongebob, Patrick, and a squid prance around one corner of the wall. Nine four-meter-tall standalone sculptures are scattered across the 200-meter stretch of beach, which attracted nearly 150,000 visitors in 2016, up from 58,000 visitors in 2003.
Nielsen paid each of the 44 artists who contributed to the 2017 Søndervig Sand Sculpture Festival 2,200 euros. "The artists we use every year are professional educated sculptors that work with almost all materials worth carving in," he tells Creators. "A lot of them make snow and ice sculptures, and making the yearly ice hotels and the ice city in China."
The Neilsens started the company with Karsten's grandfather, Erik Friederiksen, who died five years ago. Nevertheless, Nielsen and his mother are determined to make it bigger than ever. Check out Nielsen's photos, shared exclusively with Creators, below.
Learn more about the Søndervig Sand Sculpture Festival on the official website.