Local artist Andreas at his home (photo by Brandon Wise)

SM BEACH — His name is Andreas Hoenigschmid, but he might as well call himself Mr. Sandman.

The artist, husband, father and former fire dancer has been following his own dream, using a love of geometry and a passion for the visual and performing arts to create grand, crop circle-like designs in the sand south of the Santa Monica Pier.

Paying close attention to the changing tide, Hoenigschmid takes a stick, some string and a rake and heads down to the sand before the sun comes up. Sometimes with a friend, but mostly by himself, Hoenigschmid carefully draws geometric shapes like triangles, ovals and hexagons in hypnotizing patterns that disappear as the waves roll in.

It’s an outlet for his creativity, as well as a meditative “and beautifully pointless process” and one that he hopes will attract others, eventually spawning a social network of creative minds who can connect, advise and inspire.

“I just want people to come out and experience it, the calm and serenity of the low tide and connecting with nature,” said the 33-year-old German who lives with his wife, Anaswara, a yoga instructor at Bryan Kest’s Santa Monica Power Yoga, and their 11-month-old son, Mason. “I always invite people, but it’s 4 in the morning so for most people, it’s not feasible.”

(Half of the year Hoenigschmid draws in the afternoons to catch the low tide. Tides change based on the season and the sun and moon’s gravitational pull.)

Hoenigschmid borrowed the idea from a friend in San Francisco, Andres Amador, a fellow sand artist. When he moved to Mar Vista, he was close enough to the ocean to create his own pieces, which Hoenigschmid photographs from the rollercoaster at Pacific Park on the pier.

Security and maintenance workers at the amusement park are intrigued by Hoenigschmid’s commitment and creativity. It can take as long as three hours to complete one design.

“They’re very intricate,” said Dana Wyatt, the director of maintenance and operations at Pacific Park. “They’re amazing. To see the full picture when it’s completed is remarkable. I thought at first that they were cheating somehow. But after watching him a few times I realized he was just using a string, maybe some measuring tape, and a rake. Just fascinating.”

Wyatt was also impressed with Hoenigschmid’s knowledge of the tide and his dedication, given that the designs are washed away after only a few hours.

“It looks like the piece is coming out of the ocean,” said Hoenigschmid, explaining why he draws so close to the water. “Sometimes you can have a freak wave and that washes the piece away, but that’s just part of the creative process. In the end, it makes one smile so one cannot complain.”

Hoenigschmid’s passion may be hard for some to understand, but not his wife. The two met in British Columbia while at a retreat centered around the performance art of fire dancing, which involves the manipulation of objects on fire, kind of like juggling or baton twirling but more intense. While there, the two instantly became friends and felt like they had a deeper connection, as if they were soulmates.

The two went their separate ways, but stayed in touch. Hoenigschmid knew he had met the love of his life and vowed to return to the U.S. following his travels to spend time with Anaswara.

“He said he loved me and that he would be back. I didn’t believe him,” she said. “I told people I had met my soulmate but that we would never be together.”

Three years after they first met, Hoenigschmid came out west to visit and see if their chemistry was real. Seven months later they were married.

“He’s truly a visionary,” Anaswara said of her husband. “His work ethic and his dedication are extraordinary. He’s really like no other person I have met. What you see on the beach comes after hours and hours of working on these very detailed sketches that may look the same to me, but when you look closer, they are new and different depending on certain numbers, higher or lower. It’s stuff I don’t understand. He explains the differences to me, but it’s usually over my head.”

Nevertheless, she is completely supportive, even when the alarm clock rings at 4 a.m.

“I’m definitely not a morning person,” Anaswara said. “But not Andreas. He’s up after the first ring [of the alarm] and out the door. He always comes back smiling and that’s just him. He walks to the beat of a different drummer and that’s what makes him amazing. He’s always in it for the experience and will try just about anything.”

Hoenigschmid plans to keep the work going for as long as he is inspired to do it. He plans to create a new design Wednesday morning, same time, same place, and he wants others to join him.

“It’s free,” he said. “All you have to do is show up.”

To learn more about Hoenigschmid’s work, visit his Facebook page, “Santa Monica Beach Art,” and check out some of his designs in action. He can also re reached at smbeachart@gmail.com.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *