German artist’s sand pieces prompt invitation for New York solo show

Tim Bengel lets white sand run through his hand onto the table as he poses for a photograph.
“Feels very nice,” the 25-year-old says, grinning. Why shouldn’t he? His childhood dream of being a successful artist is becoming reality.
Bengel uses sand to create large-format representations of portraits or architecture. His work impressed a gallery owner in New York, who has invited Bengel to hold a solo exhibit set to open September 7.
Bengel is a self-made man on the arts scene, in a way that would not have been possible 10 years ago: He used social media to make himself known. According to the Germany-born artist, in order for a video to go viral, it needs to have a special surprise moment.
So he filmed himself at work, with everything leading up to the instant when he clears the excess sand from the picture.
This “wow” moment made a greater impact than Bengel had expected.
With that video, the number of his fans online increased by 10,000 in one night in May 2015 – he now has a half-million fans on Facebook.
Bengel has been busy in recent years. As well as showing his work in Germany, he also speaks at exhibits and art fairs across the world.
To work as an artist means freedom, Bengel says. “I can work when and how I want to.” In his studio in an old factory hall, the word “DREAM” is written on a wall in big letters. — dpa