Liset Castillo’s Intricate Sand Sculptures
Going to the beach means lounging in the sun, wading in the water, and building sand castles. It was more true when we were kids, but building sand castles may be the most fun activity on beach days. As kids, we would build giant sand castles all day while simultaneously guarding them from the mean kids who went around ruining them.
Ruining sand castles is as easy as tearing a sheet of paper. Sometimes you may even ruin your own. All you have to do is lightly step on it, and it withers away. They are fragile works of art. No matter how much water you put in them, their stability is faulty. That’s why we took pride in those sand castles that held up all day, the ones we could compare to our friends’ and the ones that made us a little sad to leave behind. We’d always return to the same spot a few days later, hoping by a miracle it would still be there, but all that was left was a pile of loose sand.
While we may have been sand castle artists as kids, nowadays it isn’t our go-to beach activity. It requires too much work and running back and forth from the sea to gather water. Yes, we’re lazy adults. We’d rather sit in our beach chairs and get our tan on. Yet, there are those who still appreciate the artistic qualities of sand.
Liset Castillo, a New York-based Cuban artist, loves making things out of sand. She doesn’t make sand castles though; those seem too amateur for her high level of skill. Castillo creates life-sized sand sculptures resembling the beautiful models we see in magazines and on the runway. It’s all very metaphorical. A model’s beauty is delicate, fragile, and temporary, just like the sand. Her goal for the series, titled Human Studies, was to create these beautiful masterpieces and destroy them.
The message Castillo sends is that beauty is temporary. She wanted to give a “commentary on the ephemeral nature of beauty, America’s obsession with youth culture, and decay.” Castillo reminds us that beauty should not matter so much because it is truly a temporary experience for those who have it. But I think the metaphor can be extended even further than beauty to encompass the temporariness of life itself. We’re unsure of when our time will come, of when we will be “destroyed” like Castillo’s sculptures.
Castillo’s sculptures urge us to enjoy our life while we have it and remind us what’s important.