Self-taught Austrian artist Klaus Bösch has been creating #Art since the 1980s and has worked with different mediums including paint, colored pencils, photography and, most recently, sand. A creative individual all around, Klaus also sings and plays guitar and it was while he was performing on stage that he first got the idea to make “Sandpictures”; a series that describes his artwork that incorporates sand as a primary medium.

By 1988, Klaus’ unusual use for sand has enabled him to start his own company that quickly gained international acclaim and a showcase in a Zurich, Switzerland, art gallery. By 2007, Klaus had the means to create massive sand sculptures that have since proven to be extremely popular with the public.

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His display at New York City’s ArtExpo in 2017 was a highlight of the event with people forming lines to “spin” his playful and engaging work.

Klaus exhibits his art in galleries worldwide. His sand artwork was included in his New York debut exhibition titled “Sensorial Perspectives” at the Agora Gallery in 2011. In addition to exhibiting in galleries and art fairs, Klaus collaborates with interior designers and architects who have excitedly included his work in lobbies, outdoor venues, and private facilities. Klaus was happy to discuss his creative endeavors in a recent exclusive #Interview.

Origins

Blasting news (BN): What inspired you to start making art and when did you become a professional #Artist?

Klaus Bösch (KB): The concept of moving Sandpictures is going as far back as the 1960s.

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At that time, it was the simple idea of putting an egg timer into a two-dimensional shape which had been done previously by some California-based artists in an art project for kinetic art. In 1972, a company called Wham-O--which was renowned for their Frisbees--took up that idea and worked with a scientist who created the ‘magic window’ which they produced until 1975. Many people in the US remember having one of those amazing toys that contained sand in a blue or pink color!

In the early 1980s, the first Sandpictures with water were made. In 1986, a good friend of mine named Werner Pieper--who was a media artist from Germany--handed me one of those still primitive made Sandpictures and it was like a flash of inspiration to me. I was photographing, painting and playing music at that time and the art form just spoke to me.

Sandpictures were so fascinating to me that I gave up all other creative endeavors and started researching and testing! The moving sands in Sandpictures are a symbol for the evolving, ever-changing world we are living in.

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Even though there is a lot of movement and change, Sandpictures emanate calm and serenity. In 1988, after hundreds of tests with different kinds of sands, the result was good enough to go public. My career as “The Sandman” started just like that!

BN: How did you get galleries to represent your work and how many places have you exhibited your art in?

KB: There are countless places I presented my works around the world. As usual, it started in the surrounding area which includes Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Exhibiting at trade shows was the best way to expose my works to a larger public. Communicating with people and explaining the meaning and the technique was and is the key to bringing an idea to awareness.

Of course, the fascination with Sandpictures got the attention of galleries and I was asked to exhibit. The circles got bigger from the mid -1990s and my works found their way to Japan, the United States and other countries outside of Europe. At present, there is one permanent KB Sand Art Gallery which is based in Beijing, China.

BN: Do you have any absolute favorite pieces and what kinds of mediums do you enjoy using the most?

KB: Since I am always being active and creative and am very busy working, it is natural that my favorite pieces are changing frequently. Right now, the "Rainbow Vision" which I created for the ArtExpo in New York is my favorite because it culminates thirty years of work in one piece.

The basic medium I am using is sand. "Sand" is actually a term from science that defines fine particles of a certain size. So, the word "sand" includes natural sands from beaches, deserts or river banks. Sand pieces are my absolute favorites because they are made by nature and usually represent a lively blend of different kind or minerals. Besides those, I use color powders or glitter flakes to bring in the flashing effects of bright colors and reflections. The moving sands then will be enhanced with either background images and a framing which is somehow reflecting the theme of the composition.

Most important to me is a balance of components, which are emanating beauty, serenity, and calm.

Exhibitions

BN: You recently displayed art at New York's ArtExpo and your pieces contained sand and could be moved on the wall so what gave you the idea for this?

KB: People call me "The Sandman" because the sand is the medium in my works and I concentrate my work in the moving sands. Therefore, you might assume that this artwork was somehow easy to design. “Rainbow Vision” is the title of the work that was presented at Agora Gallery’s booth at NYC’s ArtExpo and it aimed to tell the story of my art career. When I started I made those raw and simple Sandpictures using black, brown and white sands only. It was my vision to being able creating Sandpictures in all colors of the rainbow. I called that idea "Rainbow Vision" back in 1987.

BN: How did you get the opportunity to work with interior designers and architects and what are some of the exciting projects they have brought to the table?

KB: Again, it had to do with my presence at many trade shows, like the Ambiente in Frankfurt, the ICFF in New York or the Maison & Objet in Paris. Those trade shows are attended by many architects and interior designers seeking new inspirations and ideas. An exciting project was the "Home of Crystals" in a German luxury spa hotel. I used a natural sand blend to include crystal sand made of crystals found in the Swiss alps. Another piece I made for the Russian Gazprom is exhibited in one of their visitor centers in Siberia and features the geology, which is important in the oil business.

I have recently been asked by an architect to make a huge three-piece installation to be put into a business lounge at the new Berlin airport. He said that his team got tired of placing one more screen, which then would be the place for advertising and other boring stuff. In his opinion, our digital world needs more analogue people such as The Sandman!

BN: If you could design art for any kind of space, room, or venue, what would be your "dream design project"?

KB: Imagine a hot tub made of white Italian marble, three sides of that hot tub are framed with huge Sandpicture panels! So, you sit in the bath and enjoy a view of snowy mountain landscape around you which changes while the sand is moving its way down. With LED lights placed behind the Sandpictures you can create the mood of sunsets or an Aurora Borealis. I can imagine this being the greatest spa experience - relaxing times two!

Artwork

BN: What is the most rewarding thing about working as a professional artist and what advice might you give to people who are trying to become successful?

KB: There are some rewarding things. It is about being recognized, receiving good comments and compliments and selling the works to make a living out of the thing you are doing. The best reward by far is seeing so many faces of adults who are changing their regular expression to one of an astonished child. That’s what I see a lot when people see my works for the first time.

As per advice for people who want to become successful, I will say this: Find your role and your style and the thing you love and become consistent with concentrating on that one thing. Keep going down your road and work hard every day. Share your imagination and your words and visions. Talk to people so they can understand what is going on in your creative mind.

BN: What are the next projects and events on the horizon and is there anything else that you want to mention?

KB: In my folder for ideas there are hundreds of sketches of works that I will create one day. I cannot tell what is next since it depends on my mood. Sometimes my next project depends on the simple fact that I run into someone who is able to help me with a material or a technical detail that I need to realize a particular design.

In a couple of weeks, I’m unveiling an artwork that I made in cooperation with Reiji Matsumoto who is one of the most recognized Japanese anime painters of the 1980s and 1990s. My next exhibition will be the ICFF at the Javits in New York in May. Later this year I am planning the official opening of my second gallery in Beijing, China. There is also another breath-taking project with a leading fashion brand coming up...but I am not allowed to talk about this in detail right now!

My work, in general, is a mission to secure a world living in peace. It sounds like hippie talk but, being The Sandman, I must talk about dreams. In real life, we need a big dream since they mean we have a target to achieve something bigger than what we are currently doing. Watching the sands move in my artworks makes people quiet and peaceful.