What is Sunae? Colourful Sand Art with Artist Naoshi

Don’t you just love learning a new word? I discovered the art of Naoshi on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her colourful, kawaii and vintage inspired nostalgic art. It wasn’t until I looked into her colourful creations further that I realised that her primary material of choice is colourful sand! I have vague memories of making art with sand as a child, but it’s mainly limited to those little filled bottles you can get as holiday souvenirs (very popular in the 90s-00s!) and making sandcastles at the beach. In Japan, creating colourful art with sand is known as Sunae.

So, to share the Sunae love, I asked Los Angeles based artist, Naoshi a few questions. English is not her first language, but she has exhibited her work across the world including in Korea, Japan, Italy and France. Naoshi is currently based in Los Angeles.

What type of art did you create before you started working in Sunae?

In 2004, I decided to become an artist and began making art by watercolor. Three months later, I found sunae(sand art) so my watercolor-artworks are only 6 or 7.

How did you get started as a professional artist?

Keep making art, challenging new things,  and meeting a lot of people.

What things inspire you the most to create?

My feeling.

Which other artists do you love?

I most influenced by Eisaku Kubonouchi ( a comic artist)  and Kin Shiotani (Illustrator). If I hadn’t met their works, I wouldn’t be sunae artist!

What’s next for your art? Do you have a dream project that you’d like to do?

I’m working for new project. It’s one of my dream and hope it will go well! Yes, I have dream projects such as create an animation of my character, solo exhibition in museum… and more!

What advise would you share for new artists?

Keep making art!
If you’d like to browse more of Naoshi’s shiny, colourful sand art she has a shop on Etsy selling originals, prints, DIY sunae kits and many more delightful treats for all kinds of budgets. You can also see more of her portfolio and her exhibition updates on her main website and follow @naoshisunae on Instagram.



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