What Is Temporary Art

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,


30 thoughts on “What Is Temporary Art – New Sustainable Trend”

  1. I really love your beach art! Both the dragon and turtle are really awesome. I also love to make sand sculptures with the children on the beach, it’ so much fun.

  2. I love viewing and learning about different art styles. My current art form is taking photos for my blogs. I am learning to add new props to improve the end result. I’m always looking for new techniques to use for taking my photos. Before this I was learning about the art of creating pixel art signatures.

  3. One thing I like about temporary art is that it is eco-friendly and it always seems beautiful. No matter if you see it the very first time or you are fond of temporary arts. It will always excite you. You have presented many different kinds of arts here of which many were unknown to me. So thanks for sharing such informative post.

    1. Hi Alok,
      I am happy you enjoyed my article. Temporary art is both eco-friendly and exciting, it’s everywhere you go, you just need to know where to look.

  4. My sister is an artist and creates art that for a living. When she was very little she was obsessed with chalks, and that transitioned into a full-fledged interests in arts. Now she’s done great mural wall paintings in NYC!

    1. Hi George, happy to hear you sister is an artist who works with temporary art. Chalks are cool, I always encourage my kids to use them. Mural paintings are fantastic form of art, I would love to see some of her work!

  5. https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/519039925774748345/

    I always think of 3D pavement art first when I think of ‘temporary art’. It flabbergasts me that anyone should go to such time and effort for something that they know won’t last… Your insights about that were interesting and I really enjoyed the range and scope you covered and how it makes art seem accessible to – and achievable by – all. Inspired!

    1. Hi Denise, I am happy you have your own favorite form of temporary art! There is such a pleasure in creating temporary art, it is a great symbol in the fact that all beauty is fleeing and everything is temporary. We can create a beautiful memory out of it, either with our minds or camera. I am happy my article inspired me, temporary art is a great inspiration for my own creativity!

  6. Love these different kinds of arts, who knew there were so many. I might be a little partial but I love the ice buildings and sculptures.
    You mention the hotel in Finland, it looks fabulous but I need to do a shout out for the Swedish Ice Hotel as well 🙂 It’s on my bucket list.

    Great list thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Vicky, I am happy you enjoyed my article of the different temporary art forms. I am the same way, I have been making snow and ice sculptures as long as I have been able to walk! It is true that both Norway, Sweden and Iceland also boast with seasonal ice hotels. I have visited 5 so far and have 3 more to go. I am sure by the time I have visited them all, they have established new ones! Besides, I have visited the two in Finland more than 10 times, because it’s different every year, which makes it so special 🙂

  7. GREAT ARTICLE AND PHOTOS. I like to see food making as an art, me and my husband like to include creativity while cooking, we make beautiful dishes and even when the food is simple but looks attractive that makes al the difference

    1. Hi Joi, I am happy you liked my article and photos. Yes, food is definitely a form of art, we also always make food art, it makes it more exciting to eat! Not only nourishment for the body, but also for the soul.

  8. Art comes in many forms and shapes. I suppose some of them go unnoticed or taken for granted which is sad. Thanks for this very thoughtful post, I am particularly drawn to nature’s very own ice sculptures!

    1. Hi, you are right. So many forms of art actually go unrecognized and beauty of the nature is particularly something we often take for granted. I also really love natures own art, in all it’s forms and it inspires me greatly. Most of the time I take the motives for my paintings and sculptures from animals, sceneries and plants!

  9. Hello,

    I must say what an amazing read! It had my full attention from top to bottom. I am not so much of an artist but I can see the beauty in some of these creations!

    The ice hotel in Finland is jaw dropping. I didn’t know they had stuff like that, it is just amazing really!

    Every type of temporary art that you explain here is really neat. I especially like your sand turtle! It seems like it would have taken 4 days to make that with the amount of detail that is included. Well done!

    Thanks for sharing indeed,


    1. Hi David, I am happy to hear you enjoyed the beauty I wanted to get across with this article! The ice hotel is one of my favorites, I keep on visiting it, because it is a different creation every year. I am really into temporary art myself, love making them. Sometimes I spend a whole day creating a piece of art on the beach with particular set of tools, this one was made just with children’s sand shovels and buckets. Maybe that’s the reason it became my favorite!

  10. I’m also a big fan of temporary art. I myself was involved in a pavement art competition a long time ago and I managed to get 3rd place which was nice.

    That was a long time ago though and I haven’t been involved in pavement chalk art since then. These days I’m mostly into water colors. I do miss it though.

    Some of these ice hotels are amazing. I spent a bit time in Norway (jeg kan snakke litt Norsk) and I’m pretty sure they had a snow bar (or ice bar) in Oslo when I was there. 1998-99.

    We get a lot of flower carpets here in Malaysia during the different festive seasons like Deepavali. Some of the designs are fantastic and they are usually placed in shopping malls. Next time I’ll get some photos for you!

    I think temporary art is very appealing and the fact that it’s only there for a short time is kinda warming I think. Nice read.

    1. Hi Craig, happy to hear you share my love for temporary art! Pavement competition are cool, I always participate when I get a chance! I think temporary art is great, because you can really be inspired by the moment, not having to worry about how and were you will preserve or sell it 🙂 It is there to be enjoyed for limited time, only to be preserved in our memories and in pictures.
      Ice hotels are my absolute favorite, I enjoy re-discovering them every single winter. Snow bars and common even in southern Nordic towns! Flower carpets are important part of the Hindu religious celebrations, I love this beauty loving aspect of the religion. I would love to receive photos, please send me and I will update this post with yours!

  11. Hi Hanna, great post, love it. I never thought about edible art before but I do have some great memories of when I was a kid my parents making me birthday cakes of a football field and another one of a guitar. I used to think that sand sculptures were a waste of time because they get washed away but when I got older I realised that everything in this world is temporary. I now see the beauty and importance of having something for a while and appreciating it before it disappears. That’s just the nature of life. Thank you for writing this post and giving me a different perspective on temporary art. Cheers

    1. Hi Diego, I am happy you likes my article. I am happy that your perception on temporary art has changed!
      Edible art is a lot of fun, kids birthday cakes are very popular ways of being creative, I am happy your parents gave you this gift.
      You are absolutely right! I love making sand sculptures, photographing them and then sitting by the beach and waiting for the tide to set in and wash away my creation. It puts things into some sort of different perspective for me. We are on this Earth such a short time and we need to ensure we leave a beautiful mark, even if just for a moment. 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

  12. I LOVE this, very inspiring and creative! The chalk reminded me of Tracy Lee Stum, every time I see chalk I think of this guy’s famous street paintings, so amazing.

    Thank you for taking the time to share these stunning views. Nature’s own ice sculptures, it’s kind of crazy, the number of places and things we walk by every day without giving them a second thought, we do live in a beautiful world, and sadly, we take it for granted.

    1. Hi Lee, I am happy you liked my article. I am familiar with the work of Tracy Lee Stum, some of his drawings are so amazing. We are very lucky to have the ability to immortalize temporary art.
      Beauty of the nature has always been my largest inspiration for art. I see beauty anywhere I go and will never take it for granted. We need to protect our Earth, to keep the beauty.

  13. I have seen very similar flower carpet just like in Brussels. And I have seen in Thailand they made it outside of the restaurant and I was truly amazed. I actually don’t remember the restaurant name or food but I remember the flower carpet. It can be such a great way to make “signature affect” for restaurants. What do you think?

    1. Hi Furkan. Flower carpets are rather common form of art and they are very effective marketing tools. A piece of temporary art is a good way to make a memorable impression!

  14. Waw, some beautiful examples you’ve created! Those are almost a real redefinition of temporary art! What an imagination to create those animals (imaginative or real) out of elements/materials of nature!

    1. Hi Foggie! I am happy you enjoyed my art. It is so much fun, nature provides me so much inspiration. The ability to combine my imagination with attributes from real animals, gives me a creative buzz.

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