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What Is Temporary Art – New Sustainable Trend

You might be wonder what is temporary art exactly and what purpose doe it serve? Temporary or sustainable art has become a fast growing trend in our modern society and this article will examine it both from the art point of view and touch some issues such as sustainability and some of the ideologies behind temporary art.

Temporary art is created in a way, either by the methods or materials, that it won’t last over a certain time or season. It is created to bring some beauty and sometimes carries a deeper meaning or symbolism.

The artist is fully aware of the temporary nature of the art and often part of the project is to document the creation, by filming or photographing it before the destruction, which might be voluntarily, sabotage or depend on the weather.

When I talk about new trend, I don’t mean temporary art is new in itself, but rather that is has become very trendy recent years in the Western world with the influence on Buddhism and other Eastern religions.

The sustainable aspect normally comes from the fact that the art is created from readily available and free or at least cheap materials, such as plants, sand, ice or snow.

It also means that once the art dispenses, you are left with no real waste that needs to be disposed off. If you are wondering why this is so important, read more about it in my article: How to Protect Earth

It might be religious in nature, rituals such as the sand mandalas symbolizing the all beauty is only temporary or Hindu offerings, which are made to please the gods.

I have by no means attempted to mention all possible forms of temporary art forms in my article. It is rather a taster for what you might find, if you make a deeper dive into this form of art!


This could be a cut flower arrangement for Christmas or perhaps an offering for the Gods in form of oil lamps, incense and flower petals. Or how about these ones made from reed baskets, fruits and flowers for celebration at a Hindu temple in Bali.

Temple Offerings on Bali

Chalk Paintings

Did you ever draw something into asphalt or a wall, just having it washed away by the rain few hours or days later?

This used to be one of my favorite past times on walls and cliffs to the great displeasure for my parents, who hated the color stains on my hands and my clothing.

There are wonderful artists creating amazing paintings on the streets and you have to be fast to catch them before they are gone forever!

Colorful Chalks

Living Art

Living art is a very sustainable form of art. A growing exhibit of a sort that at the same time produces oxygen.

Flower And Garden Shows

Flower and garden shows are extremely popular, especially in England, where gardening is not only a hobby, but been taken very seriously!

Have you ever seen an amazing flower planting when visiting a new city, maybe spelling the name of the city or an important word such as love?

How about visited a temporary flower carpet, such as the one hosted every summer in Brussels?

Brussels Flower Carpet

Gardens And Parks

Either private or public gardens and parks all over the world, such as the famous central park in New York City. Besides for just being beautiful, they are created to be wonderful, beautiful green oasis in the middle of cities, which give us a place to calm down and reflect our lives.

Central Park

Sand Art

Sand is a wonderful, readily available and easy medium for art creation. There are many different forms and I can only provide examples of few in the limited scope of this story!

Sand Mandalas

Have you ever followed a creation of a Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala? This secret form of art is traditionally created for large celebrations and religious festivals.

Sand mandala is a symmetrical shape, mandala means Sanskrit work of circle and it symbolizing wholeness and harmony based on Tibetan Buddhist religion.

Buddhist Sand Mandala

It is painstakingly created with special metal tools that allow incredibly fine control during some days or even weeks, depending on its size. After the ceremony is over, the mandala is destroyed and the sand is given to people attending the ceremony as a blessing.

Beach Art

Sand Castles

Every child loves to build castles on the beach and draw things in the sand. It often follows us into adulthood, who has not drawn a heart and their and their partners initials in the heart on the beach?

Or arranged some shells in a form, only waiting to be washed away by the waves when the tide sets in?

Intricate sand mandalas that can be only truly admired from above are created by artists with the help of garden tools!

Heart Drawing In Sand

How about sand sculptures? Pretty much all the resorts are boasting with their own sand sculptures competitions every summer. The sculptures are spectacular, created with the most creative tools, including water spray bottles and metal strings.

Sand Souvenirs

Even been to a beach destination for holiday and brought back one of these bottles with sand painting inside? Beautiful memory, which can be easily shaken for just mess if you forget to pack it well!

Sand Art Bottles

I used to collect these things as a child and I am playing with the idea of teaching myself the technique for creating them.

Edible Art

There are countless edible art forms out there, just think about it! Fancy chocolates are often made into art and how about a ginger bread house at Christmas? Birthday and wedding cakes and other bakeries?

Guitar Cake

Food Art

Vegetable Snowman

Food art is one of the most common forms of art! In fact if you go to a fancy restaurant, your meal is a work of art both culinary and visual wise.

If you try to enthuse your young child to eat his vegetables or fruit, you might consider making it look like an art! Being creative with food and ingredients is fun!

3D Printed Edible Art

3D printing is quickly becoming one of the biggest revolution of our time. It’s sustainable as the plastics fillings are produced from recycled materials and being able to produce things on demand, companies safe both transport and warehousing costs. CO2 emissions are also reduced, which is great for the environment!

3D printing food is a novelty trend. There are already pop-up restaurants that produce an entire 3D printed menu and items such as 3D printed coffee or chocolate cups are becoming popular gift items.

3D printing chocolate cup

Snow and Ice Art

Some of us are luck enough to have access to this medium every winter! In the colder places, such as US and Northern Europe kids and professional artists alike build art from snow and ice!

Everything from snow men, snow sculptures to fortresses, this art last until the weather stays cold, or more often until destroyed by our mortal enemies.

Ice Buildings

In Finland, Sweden and Norway some places even construct entire temporary hotels out of snow and ice. They are built as soon as the temperatures drop permanently below zero and exist between 3-5 months depending on the temperatures!

The design is new every year and normally contains art work from dozen artist, who won a competition specially set up for this. These castles contain large dining rooms, bedrooms, bar and even chapels, which are popular locations for wedding ceremonies!

Kemi Snow Hotel

Here you see a bedroom in Artic Snow hotel in Rovaniemi, Finland! Everything in these places is built of ice, including furniture, such as tables, chairs and beds. Animal furs and winter sleeping bags are used to keep the cold at bay.

Also worth to mention are the igloos, which are not only native to Greenland, but also popular in many ski resorts on the Alps, where they often serve as bars!

Ice Sculptures

In hotter climates, ice sculptures are still very popular for things such as weddings and cruise lines buffet tables. They are commonly carved using chain saws or hand tools such as chisel and hammer.

Swans Ice Sculpture

Natures Own Ice Sculptures

Natures own art! Since ice occurs naturally, nature itself creates beautiful ice and snow art. Everything from large cave formations to tiniest snow or ice flakes! The best kind of snow and ice art there is!

Ice Flake

My Love For Temporary Art

I am a great fan of creating temporary art myself. I favor both sand and snow and you often see me on the beach with a shovel in my hand or kneeling in the snow creating an animal sculpture!

It often gives me something creative to do on the beach, because I find laying in the sun particularly boring! I am also known to take my paints and drawing pad with me, just in case.

Sandsculpture Beware of a turtle

Here is one of my funny creations from some year ago, a huge turtle built on a beach in Italy, it took 4h to create due to its size and it lasted for a week, before some kids decided to destroyed it.

It also inspired kids and adults alike to get creative and the beach was filled with all sorts of creatures! The dragon as the featured image of this story is something I created together with my kids in a very short time just before it got dark!

Snow Goose

Here you can see a snow goose, a bun intended! It was created on the German Alps, just before a particularly heavy snowfall, 180cm in 36h of powder snow, which got us stuck for days. It was made with my hands only, since I had no tools with me.

Besides this, I also love creating food art and the electric guitar cake was created for my daughter on her 11th birthday. It took a whole day to pull off, but I loved the look on her and her friends faces when they saw it.

So there you have it, my very own examples of temporary or rather seasonal art! I hope I have answered to the question what is the new sustainable trend of temporary art.

Do you have something to share? I would love to hear from you! Send me a picture and I will make a section with guest temporary art to this post!


Loving Thoughts,