Take the huge dry lake bed. Choose a stick. Make the largest sand drawing on Earth.

Next on the list could be - aliens see it, make contact. Well, even without aliens, this art is more than mind-boggling in its scale. It's planet-altering.

Jim Denevan made the world's largest freehand drawing a few weeks ago on a dry lake in Nevada. How big is it? Three mile across, which took 100 miles of walking to draw the pattern:

(click to enlarge all images)

Made by a single person... gone the next week

Jim says: "It is really really big. My first attempt at a place so large. I think it represents about seven or eight days of walking."

This photo is from 13,000 feet above. Jim is a small speck in center...

His bus is also lost in the landscape (Jim's crew is taking a driving tour of the completed drawing) -

An immense mark in nature - it passes, leaving nothing

Even though esthetically it's a welcome addition to the landscape, it is also a sort of a transient mark - like a cloud, or a river-bed. Immense in its scope, and lasting only a moment in the large scale of things.

We asked the artist, how long did this stupendous artwork last?

"Completely erased in a rainstorm the next week... It felt strange to work so hard and not see tide come in. But rains did come which is sort of the same thing."


Preparations and artist's custom bus:

Really groovy-looking bus, too. Jim Denevan uses this bus in his other venture "Outstanding in the Field, where haute cuisine is served in the middle of wild natural environment, such as a country field, a rocky strewn coast, or a mountaintop.

Going Global

We featured some of Jim's work on our site before. The artist says: "My drawings are made totally freehand - large, then shrunk (if photographed)." "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 with no measuring aids whatsoever."

Many beaches in Oregon and California (and soon the Spanish Bank Beach in Vancouver) have been graced by his immense patterns (somewhat reminiscent of the Nazca lines of Peru, only with that modern art quality).

A whimsical canvas of seemingly infinite ocean coastlines and deserts... subject to tides, weather and a passage of time. See the whole spectacular gallery of his work here.

(all images copyright: Jim Denevan, used by permission)

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Blogger admin said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My art is made totally freehand"? indeed!
then wtf is the suv with the armature and all that business?
He walked 100 miles then drove, SLOWLY 100 miles. I think the impact on the environment is a little more visible from outer space now.
Why not make a better point and etch an image in antartcica with the same equipment

Blogger Musback said...

@ Anonymous (ofcourse...)

I think it's a crane to lift the artist much higher to take pictures of his artwork.

btw: if he did actually drive the 100 miles driving... yes that is indeed a MASSIVE load on the CO2 contribution... because OMG 100 miles is disastrous. thats like a 2hr drive!! What a monster.

Blogger Iacus said...


Yes, bringing sand painting equipment to etch ice in Antarctica would be quite a challenge!

Like eating soup with a fork.

Blogger christophe said...

Here is an other example of massive art figures created between 200 BC and 600 AD : the Nazca Lines


Blogger vikelingo said...

woowww, impresionante

saludos desde españa

Blogger Ali said...

Just pure Awesomeness!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say commission this artist to make a 21st-century analog of the Nazca artwork for the people of the future to puzzle over. Why not? The Incas did it. Why shouldn't we?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is SO BEAUTIFUL but my heart can't help but question. Why? Aesthetic showmanship? Could the resources have been put to better use? This question does not imply an answer. I just struggle between beauty and function and I see millions of souls just struggling to survive while others have the resources to do something like this, as incredible as it is.

What is the price and reward of art.

Blogger bughouse said...

reminds me of andy goldsworthy stuff. my favorite form of art... fleeting, temporary, made of natural materials. just like us humans.

i find it ironic... this is the same location as burningman. and i'm happy he didn't do it during BM, because this kicks ass over anything ever created there.

Blogger bughouse said...

ps @ anonymous:

why? there doesn't need to be a why, does there? if everything was done based on a why, i think beauty and magic would disappear from our lives. well, at least when it comes to art.

*just because* is enough for me in this case.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"btw: if he did actually drive the 100 miles driving... yes that is indeed a MASSIVE load on the CO2 contribution... because OMG 100 miles is disastrous. thats like a 2hr drive!! What a monster"

I just cant believe it. That someone would drive a hundred miles, its just too hard to believe! Hes destroying the planet!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think it's a crane to lift the artist much higher to take pictures of his artwork."

He used a cherry picker and a plane to get the shots.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, if you guys are interested in jims art check out this video i made on youtube, more videos will be coming. The video has more shots from the desert. I made the music on garageband.

Worlds Largest Human Made Drawing+ other art by jim denevan


Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Nice video... thank you

Blogger Rafi Ahmed said...

Definetly better than sticking those umbrellas up and down interstate 5 in California about 10 years or so ago very nice indeed carbon foot print or not.

Blogger crazyzebu said...

I just put out a new version of the youtube video that is much improved with new shots. check it out and feel free to leave feedback, it is much appreciated!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Impressive, but not the largest, I would argue. Have you had a look at the Nazca Plains near Peru recently?

Blogger crazyzebu said...

Nazca lines are smaller, look it up.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems everyone is comparing these sand figures with those on Nazca desert. They remind much more to me the (ex-)'misterious' crop circles in UK and other places...

Blogger crazyzebu said...

Check out my newest video that has interesting footage from jim denevan's trip to Greenland.


Anonymous leah said...

That is seriously cool. I can't even imagine the amount of planning and coordination that would have to go into a thing like that.

Blogger Unknown said...

Its something like a miracle created by the human on the earth whose exact meaning is not yer discovered. It is often said that the lines were created so that the God can view the people over there from the sky.
Nazca lines peru

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever his reason, art is mostly for art's sake, especially if it seems to evoke no emotion or have no point other than to simply exist or impress by size or method. Art can be useful to express ideas or emotions, help with healing, relaxing and a variety of other things. To do something just to prove it can be done is not really a good reason to do anything. I don't see this as doing any more damage to the Earth than anything else man has done. It doesn't seem to be doing any damage at all in application or existence more than building a large hut from stone and straw. It's interesting at least, even if I don't personally find it to be particularly beautiful or evoking. As long as it doesn't hurt anything let him 'express himself'.


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