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Photo show preserves short-lived beach art

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ENCINITAS, Calif. – An art show in Encinitas is preserving giant artworks created on a local beach that normally last only from one high tide to the next.

The huge mandalas were drawn on Swami's Beach in Encinitas by Bay Area sand artist Andres Amador with a garden rake.

Amador, a San Francisco resident, calls himself an earthscaper. He travels the world making beautiful designs on the beach, but only a lucky few ever get to see them.

"I'm working during the low tide, so I have only a couple of hours to work while the beach is at it`s maximum, and then it washes away."

He uses a few gardening tools to do his work, and he never makes a sketch or a blueprint before he starts. Some of his designs are symmetric Indian mandalas, and some are asymmetrical designs that fit the space he has to work with.

"I'm always going for as large as I can go, but every time you come to beach it's different," Amador said. "Today, it's long and thin, so I`ll have to do something that's oriented in that direction a bit more. You never know."

Amador said his background is in environmental science and computer science, but now the beach is his office.

"I was studying ancient architecture and geometry, and I was on the beach playing with a stick and I realized I was making the big starting points for doing huge designs and structures," Amador explained. "I realized the beach was the perfect place."

To let more people see Amador's sand art, Bliss 101 in Encinitas is showing large color photos, many aerial views, of his designs.

'This is the first time we`re getting his art work in here, when I reached out to him I just couldn`t believe what an amazing opportunity this experiential kind of artwork has to offer," a spokeswoman for Bliss 101 said. "We printed up his work and today is the first time people can come see it here.'

Amador will be at a reception at Bliss 101 at 6 p.m. on Friday, and he will remain in Encinitas over the weekend for several workshops.