These Incredible Drawings Are Etched Onto Single Grains Of Sand

Artists Vik Muniz and Marcelo Coelho have turned the concept of sandcastles upside-down.

1. Each of these photographs is of a microscopic castle etched onto a single particle of sand.

Vik Muniz, Marcelo Coelho / Courtesy of Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. Gallery

2. They are the work of artists Vik Muniz and Marcelo Coelho, who is also an MIT researcher.

Vik Muniz, Marcelo Coelho / Courtesy of Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. Gallery

3. Muniz would draw a castle and project it through a special prism.

Vik Muniz, Marcelo Coelho / Courtesy of Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. Gallery

4. Then Coelho would trace the drawing onto each particle using a Focused Ion Beam. Each line etched is only a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair.

Vik Muniz, Marcelo Coelho / Courtesy of Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. Gallery

5. The entire project took Muniz and Coelho four years. This video shows the mind-bogglingly intricate process in more detail.

View this embed ›

If you’re in Israel, you can check out these ‘sandcastles’ at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

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