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Jim Denevan  Santa Cruz, CA

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Jim

Jim Denevan makes freehand drawings in sand. At low tide on wide beaches Jim searches the shore for a wave tossed stick. After finding a good stick and composing himself in the near and far environment Jim draws– laboring up to 7 hours and walking as many as 30 miles. The resulting sand drawing is made entirely freehand w/ no measuring aids whatsoever. From the ground, these drawn environments are experienced as places. Places to explore and be, and to see relation and distance. For a time these tangible specific places exist in the indeterminate environment of ocean shore. From high above the marks are seen as isolated phenomena, much like clouds, rivers or buildings. Soon after Jim’s motions and marks are completed water moves over and through, leaving nothing.

In 2005 Jim Denevan had his museum debut the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Also in 2005 Jim Denevan’s work was shown at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California.

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Recommended by our guest curators

Andreas Englund

Stockholm, SE artist

"His work shows beautifully how one art piece can be experienced in multiple ways. It makes me reflect upon how the surrounding world change depending on who you are or in this case, where you are. There can be multiple truths.The destructive forces of nature shows that nothing is forever. Each of his pieces, first growing and then dying, from the force of water, acting like a giant eraser. Denevan inspires me and his work grows, literally."

Kevin Townsend

Boston, MA artist/educator

"An artist who spends countless hours on works of art that are designed to be fleeting and temporary, I have great respect for Denevan's drawings. I find the combination of his minimal materials and the shear scale of his works inspiring."

Jim appears in the following Top 10 lists




10 of 29 reactions displayed

"I can't imagine working so hard on drawing only for it to be washed away. Very out of the ordinary, and super cool."

"so simple-looking, but I know a great amount of work was put into it."

"it reminds me of like oblivion and everyone's trying to find their place in the universe. great piece. it has a lot of potential to it. thanks for sharing."

"Fine introspection, on such an magnificent scale. Added bonus to these works: a wonderful soundtrack. Not to mention the smelltrack and the ... feeltrack? Windtrack? Skintrack? LOL... multimedia, in any case.Say! A title just occurred to me, for whatever it's worth: Original Sandtracks.Too precious, probably, but I like it. Keep walking softly, dude; but hey, carry a big stick!"

"bottom looks like foot"


"i likr it because it lookss loke google"

"i tink it should have more detail"

"it looks yummy"

"I remember this artist from years ago. The work has become alot more intricate. I think it was in 2005 when I was looking at envirnoment/ land art and found Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty."

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