Pictures in the sand

By Allan I. Ross

Local artist debuts sand art photography exhibit

Some artists find their inspiration in landscapes, others in still life, still others in the human figure. Paul Shaheen found his in the natural, swirling patterns of sand on a particular stretch of beach outside La Jolla, Calif.

Call it glass work at its most temporal.

“I was walking along the beach one day, depressed, beating myself up, and I looked down and saw these damned drawings on the beach,” says Shaheen. “I had just been reading a book about nature responding to your needs. Talk about a sign.”

Shaheen, 72, grabbed his camera the next day and started capturing the patterns he saw, some of which last less than a few seconds before waves come and wipe the canvas clean. The images are Rorschachian, with specific interpretations varying from viewer to viewer.

“Each one is completely different and unique,” Shaheen says. “I’ve heard some people say they look like a cloister of nuns or a mountaintop or a dramatic tree.

Nature is infinite in what it creates.”

On Friday, Shaheen will debut 16 pieces of his photography at Craig Mitchell Smith Glass gallery in the Meridian Mall.

Shaheen says he is completely self-taught and all of the photos were taken with his Canon T2I.

“The neat thing about this work is, as unique as the design is, it only lasts for a second before it’s gone forever,” Shaheen says. “But I’ll take the credit.”

The Sand Art of Paul Shaheen
5:30 p.m. opening reception
1982 West Grand River Ave, Suite 125 (inside Meridian Mall), Okemos
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday
(517) 349 - 1345