The Performing Arts - Sand Animation

An image drawn in sand by Kseniya Simonova on "Ukraine's Got Talent."
An image drawn in sand by Kseniya Simonova on "Ukraine's Got Talent."

The Art Form:

Sand animation is simply the art of using one's hands to draw with sand. Artists create their master pieces by adding or removing sand from glass table lit from below. By using both positive and negative space, amazing images come to life before the audience. The presentation is often enhanced by the use of music and various lighting techniques under the table. Most performances follow a story line or script. This creates a sense of motion in the imagery and draws the audience into the creation process.

Initially a means to create animated short films, sand animation was brought into the live performing arts stage by Ferenc Cako. You may hear these live performances called sand art, or sand painting. Although the art itself has been around for decades, there are still very few successful artists. Many find that simply being able to draw images with sand is not enough to captivate observers. They must also be able to entertain and create and tell a compelling story. Today there are only a handful of well known sand animation artist within the community. Below are the most prominent.

Ferenc Cako

A Hungarian artist with over 30 years of experience. He is credited with moving sand animation to live performances. As one would expect he has been very successful with his performances including an apperance at Techfest 2004 and work for various TV shows.

Ilana Yahav

An Israeli artist with several years of commercial experience. She is most known for the use of her art in several Qwest commercials. Ilana's work can be found on as well as

David Myriam

Currently in France, David is not only a sand artist, but also a poet and author. As with many of the others, his work is also available on Youtube. David stays busy with live performances, but still enjoys creating the traditional shot films.

Joe Castillo

Currently a pastor by profession, Joe uses sand animation to create captivating images from the scriptures. He is best know for his performance to the soundtrack of the Mel Gibson file “The Passion of the Christ.” Joe is also the most publicaly connected performer with profiles on Flickr, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Youtube. He focuses on the story aspect of the art to the extent that his work has attracted the title of SandStories.

Kseniya Simonova

Kseniya is the newest artist to the genre. The young Ukrainian, at only 24 years old, won the “Ukraine's Got Talent” show in 2009. With many decades ahead of her and true tallent, it will be a joy to see how she advances the artform.

If sand animation interests you there are many resources online. Below are the available official sites for the artists above. Many have workshops and other information for aspiring artists. There are also links to past performances and schedules for future one. This is a truly unique gift these individuals have. With such a young artform the future should be impressive.

Comments 19 comments

wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

Wow, I have actually never heard of this before. I think it's pretty cool how they do that...absolutely amazing to me. This is a great story phil

Mezo profile image

Mezo 7 years ago from Egypt

amazing art, didn't even know it existed


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

The first time I saw the sand art animation, I loved it. Esp. when they made stories to go with it. :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

Wow - what a great topic. Thanks so much for the amazing videos! I've never seen anything like that.

PhilD41 profile image

PhilD41 7 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comments. I am glad you have enjoyed this. IT was a little bit of a stretch for me, but I have enjoyed the art for a while now. I thought others would like it as well. Seems I might have been right. :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

Now this is a kind of Performance Art I can really connect with! The young woman is a lovely performer - what a talent! Thanks so much for sharing this great hub!


Jessica Horn profile image

Jessica Horn 7 years ago

I remember seeing a commercial about sand-art a few months ago & it was really cool! I never realized it was actually so popular. Thx for sharing.

Ebower profile image

Ebower 6 years ago from Georgia

I LOVE sand animations and I love that video about the passion...awesome hub! :)

Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

Fantastic. Really informative, captivating hub. The young woman's performance was entrancing:)

loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

i love sand art...thx 4 share, a very nice hub

PhilD41 profile image

PhilD41 6 years ago from Iowa Author

Glad you all enjoyed this. I find that sand animation is one of the more intriguing arts. It is kind of mesmerizing in a way.

I would have to agree with you GW & RedElf, Simonova's performance is wonderful! Ebower, I too loved the passion performance.

sivajitv123 6 years ago

fantastic, really innovative.. very creative.. good work..

Luciendasky profile image

Luciendasky 6 years ago from Florence, OR

Phil... this is absolutely incredible... the video was amazing too!!! I can't believe the amount of talent these people have!

PhilD41 profile image

PhilD41 6 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks Luciendasky! I often drop by here just to watch the videos. They are so captivating. As you said, the talent is incredible as well.

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Love this sand art, have llana on one of my sites:) Great hub:)

PhilD41 profile image

PhilD41 6 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks heart4theword. They really are amazing and relaxing to watch. There are so many creative ideas in this world. It was fun discovering one more.

adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

This is simply raw art. It's my first time to hear about this and the images are amazing.

Dgfslp123 6 years ago

What type of sand is used to do this type of drawing?

rembrandz profile image

rembrandz 5 years ago from Dubai Media City

What lovely talent! It's totally different from the conventional animation I do. Wow! One needs to have practiced so much to be this perfect and tell a story.

Thanks for sharing this lovely world of art!

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