“Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.” — Heraclitus
It would be missing the point to focus on the evanescence of Andres Amador’s artwork, yet there’s something fascinating, even in our disposable culture, about the fact that every single piece he creates ceases to exist within hours of its completion. Amador’s enormous and awe-inspiring earthscapes are entirely dependent on the natural cycles of the planet. When the tide rolls in, the art rolls out.
Fortunately, aerial photography allows him not only to keep a record of his work, but to share it. Still, one can’t help but wonder if it hurts a little bit to say goodbye. The answer is no. It’s not so much the destination that the 43-year-old Bay Area artist is concerned with as it is the journey — and his journey goes as deep as it does far.
“There’s always something we can benefit from in anything,” he told VCReporter in a phone conversation last week. “The sacred part is when it offers people and [continues to]offer people perspectives on life that connect them to something bigger, that in some way guide how we’re living. “
After earning a degree in environmental science and spending time with the Peace Corps, Amador began sculpting objects on the beach. The geometric patterns he was exploring lent themselves to a larger scale and the sand was the obvious next step in his artistic evolution. “It’s a great canvas, although it’s a bit frustrating,” he says. “You have to get it at the right time, right hours.” He soon photographed the work for postcards and prints. His earthscapes — a term he coined for lack of a better description of his work — resonate with people from all walks. The organized beauty of the patterns speaks a universal language of peace and unity that’s especially welcome in an increasingly dissonant, tech-driven world. Consequently, images of his work have gone viral and he’s been covered by numerous news and entertainment outlets, including Al Jazeera, CBS, BBC and Discovery Channel.
Friendly and open, Amador discusses the metaphysical and technical aspects of his work, which is very much informed by sacred geometry, mandalas, fractals and crop circles, though he also enjoys working with a location’s natural components. Amador could probably talk for hours about what cosmic truths he’s uncovered with his rake during solitary hours on the beach, but lately he’s been inviting other people into his process and the result has been transformational.
Imparting a ceremonial quality to his sessions and workshops, Amador may solicit prayer requests from his social media followers, ahead of time. He’ll then guide his group in meditation and set an intention for their time together in the sand. He has experimented with giving each person a role—one might make right angles while another does shading — and the activity becomes an exercise in cooperation and unified expression, physical, metaphysical and aesthetically appealing.
“There are no decisions to be made. You are following a process. You are very much engaged. But you let go of the mind part. It’s very immersive, but active,” he says. “I think that’s an interesting thing to add to a meditative experience. There’s a bigger thing happening collectively.” And when it’s finished, the personal takeaway from the experience endures long after the tangible result is released to the sea. “There are so many lessons that I’ve divined. To some degree it’s shaped my life.”
That is to say, Amador’s creative process, to the extent he’s surrendered to it, has ordered his steps and carved a career niche he wouldn’t have imagined for himself. “I could never have charted my path here; it would never have made sense to me,” he says. “It came about because I was following the things that enlightened my spirit.” This included sacrificing a regular paycheck. “My spirit couldn’t handle being in an office 9 to 5.”
Though his work is not pushing any sort of eco agenda, he sees environmental awareness as a natural bi-product. “My belief is that the greater consciousness that we have and the more connection we are part of will bring us, among many other things, a greater environmental connection. Indirectly it’s about making all of it better.”
Besides working with nature to create stunning, inspirational art, Amador’s overarching purpose may be to impart a simple but powerful wisdom to fans and participants: It is possible to live in harmony with your individual life purpose by basing your choices on whether or not they will cause your inner light to shine more brightly or to dim. “If there’s any message I would proclaim, that would be the one. Focus on shining your light and everything else falls into place.”
Amador will be just north of the Ventura Pier on April 17-19 to offer a casual community participation day, a more intensive three-hour workshop, and a demonstration beside the pier. Proceeds from the events will benefit the Pier Into the Future organization. For details and registration, visit www.andresamadorarts.com or www.visitventuraca.com.