Grain by grain

Traditional art and being confined to the structure of orthodox drawing, she realized, was not something that interested her. Freshman Beryl Zheng takes her artwork to the next level by exploring the whimsical and creative world of sand drawing.

Zheng first discovered sand drawing when she was watching a performer on America’s Got Talent, who showcased the complex skills behind the masterpieces.

“I was really amazed by the art that they could do, and it was just by using sand,” Zheng said. “It was something that was different and unique as well, and I was interested by how simple they made it look. So after seeing that, I decided to become more involved with it.”

A sand drawing usually takes Zheng about twelve to twenty hours to complete, but there are relatively few steps in the process. First, she finds a clear surface or box and dims the lights. She then fixes a light lamp under the surface and starts pouring and arranging the sand in different patterns.

“I don’t really think about it, I just start drawing and making pictures. It’s a way to be more creative, and it’s something that most people don’t think about,” Zheng said. “I really like that aspect of [sand drawing]. It’s relaxing, and I enjoy doing it.”

One piece took Zheng especially long to finish. While she completed the others in no less than a day, an untitled, brown sand drawing took her about two months and over 30 hours to finish. It was an ongoing project that she decided to start in order to relieve stress and is the largest piece that she has done.

“To me, I drew it because I have [had] so much stress because of family related things but, from my perspective, the drawing is a beautiful piece of art,” Zheng said. “It may look simple, but it’s [actually] really complicated. It means to me that there are more things than what I see eye to eye, that I should see more positive things and live my life like a flower. You know, just go along with whatever I’m doing — if there’s something [that] I did wrong or [if] I got a bad test score, there’s always a next time. Just as long as I try harder and harder each time.”

The hobby has become a way for Zheng to express herself through a new medium. With each drawing, she has become more interested in the process and hopes to continue creating more pieces in the future.

“Most people, when they work with art, it’s painting, like watercolor or acrylic,” Zheng said. “I find that making art with sand is really unique. Everyone knows that you can make drawings with sand on the beach, but the actual details when you really start to learn more about it are really amazing when you’re done with the piece.”

By Ashley Liang, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Beryl Zheng

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