Sandbox of stories

Sand artist Jala Venugopal Yadav creates moving images on sand that come alive under his touch.

By Author   |   Published: 8th Jan 2017   12:36 am Updated: 8th Jan 2017   12:33 am
Sand Art
Magic Fingers: Sand artist Jala Venugopal adding the final touches to his work. Photo: Surya Sridhar.
Photo: Surya Sridhar.

When it comes to sand art, utmost care is crucial as even a single error can mean starting all over again. By maneuvering the sand, a sand artist can create powerful images and tell a story that leaves an impact on the viewer. It was this aspect that fascinated sand artist Jala Venugopal Yadav.

He was all set to pursue a degree in commerce when a chance invitation to model for an art class steered him towards shifting his course to fine arts. “Till that point, my drawing was limited to biology diagrams in school.

During the break at the art class, I started sketching a design. On seeing my sketch, the art teacher was so impressed that he convinced my parents to let me study fine arts instead,” says the 28-year-old who made the Wonder Book of Records International for creating sand art blindfolded.

Though he worked as an illustrator at a publication for some time, it was the unique quality of sand art that made him quit his job to pursue his interest further. Coming from a family of limited means, getting proper equipment was difficult at first.

“I neither had the money nor the equipment to practice the art. I used a glass slab and would place a bulb underneath and start playing around the sand, trying out various designs. I learnt new techniques by watching Youtube videos,” explains Venugopal who began uploading short clips of his work online simultaneously.

Like any budding artist, his journey to success was not without its hurdles. After performing at a few shows which didn’t lead to much work, a disheartened Venugopal quit sand art for a while and took up his previous job. “It was when I got a call from a leading TV channel to perform at their eco-friendly themed show that things began looking up.

A lot of people saw my work there and I started getting offers to perform at corporate events. Out of all the shows I have done, performing in front of 24 delegates from different countries at the Call to Action Summit and the Godavari aarti at Godavari Pushkaralu was quite a high,” recalls Venugopal whose work has also taken him abroad. 

“Travelling to a different country was a frightening prospect at first. I was very scared to take my equipment since it’s quite fragile. I would ignore calls from clients as I didn’t know how to board an airplane. I thought I will be charged extra for the equipment,” admits Venugopal who recently won Bharat World Records. The rising sand artist has also worked with well-known sand artist Rahul Arya learning finer nuances.

In a reality show where dancers and singers steal the show, Venugopal engrossed the judges and audience with his immense sand art combined with dance on the grandstand of Hindusthan ka Big Star. He also guest performed at DD national on Hasane ka mukhiya kaun.

Ask him what sets him apart from the rest? He quips, “I try to add a personalised touch in every concept I create. Every show I do is different from the previous one conceptually. This way, each time the audiences see my work, they see something new,” opines Venugopal who is now aiming for the Guinness World Records.