Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Biography of Ilana Yahav

Ilana Yahav is a sand artist or sand animation artist. Her art is reflected in performances in front of a live audience, in video clips and in advertisements. It is a unique, minimalist art form that few artists worldwide engage in.

For many years, while continuing to develop as an artist, Ilana ran a studio that created grotesque and realistic latex puppets and specialized in special effects for movie productions and advertisements (a field that she had studied in Hollywood, New York and London). In her studio, Ilana created the puppets for a political satire program on the Israeli television named "Chartzufim",based on the UK's notorious "Spitting Image". As a sand artist, Ilana performed all over the world, in front of a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds: from small, local and intimate performances to huge and grand productions, such as a performance at the Kremlin, as well as performances before the King of Spain, the King of Belgium, and others.

Each performance requires lengthy preparations, starting with the many sketches that she makes in a notebook, and numerous experiments on the sand table itself. Here, the creation generally undergoes extensive changes until the final version is crystallized. In the performances, Ilana uses her hands to create images in sand on a transparent backlit table, while a video camera positioned above her conveys the emerging creation live to a giant screen that displays it to the audience. Light and music also form important elements of Ilana's creations. In her works, she uses colorful lights that emerge from under a transparent table and a soundtrack adapted specifically to the message and the sensations being conveyed in the work, and sometimes even composed and produced specially for this purpose.
Videos documenting Ilana's performances and works are disseminated over the Internet by her numerous fans around the world.

Thanks for visit =)

Biography of Kseniya Simonova II


Something close to all hearts."

The sand story Kseniya presented live on TV was an eight minute story of a young couple separated by the war.
In an interview she said, "It was so emotionally hard, and I now still can not think about those minutes without pain... My hands were dying and reviving making the images."
Kseniya was hoping to get some exposure as an artist, but it became much more. The audience was in tears. As soon as she finished her performance, applause erupted and she received a standing ovation.
Kseniya passed the semi-finals and moved on to the finals. In the third round, she performed a sand story about a son who became successful and forgot his parents. Kseniya wanted grown children to remember their parents and to encourage them to call. After that performance, people came to her in streets saying, "After watching your story, I took the phone and called my mom. I haven’t talked to her in a year. Thank you very much!"
Kseniya was declared the winner of the competition and collected 100,000 euro. She was named an on-line sensation, when in one day her video from the show was viewed more that a million times. In one year, it was viewed over 25 million times. Kseniya understood what happened only after she returned to her native town Evpatoria and could no longer walk freely in the streets. She was surrounded by people, asking for an autograph. On the money they won, Igor and Kseniya bought a house in Evpatoria. They received invitations from all over the world to perform.

In the next two years, Simonova performed over 200 sand stories for audiences in Ukraine, Russia, Norway, Japan, Poland, Austria, China, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Qatar, India, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Kazakhstan and others.
She was honored to perform for Presidents George Abel in Malta, (2009), Bronisław Komorowski (Gdansk, 2010), Dmitry Medvedev (Moscow, Astana, 2010), Viktor Yanukovych (Kiev, 2010), Nursultan Nazarbayev (Astana, 2010), and for Members of the British Royal Family (London, 2010), and Norway (Oslo, 2010).
In 2009, at the invitation of the President of Malta, George Abel, she performed at the live Charity Ball L’Istrina to raise money for people suffering from cancer. In 24 hours, the performers raised 2.5 million euro.
On December 4, 2009, Simonova presented the first Sand Picture Exhibition. In 2010, she founded an International Cultural Center “Sand Club” in Evpatoriya.
On July 5, 2010, Simonova performed on the anniversary of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan for an audience of 12 Head of States.
They were Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarussia, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, China, Armenia, Kirgizstan, Azerbajdjan, Emir of Abu-Dabi and the King of Jordan, and each one received a sand picture of his country from Simonova as a present.
On August 15, 2010 Simonova and her team presented a sand film in memory of a great poet and rock-musician Victor Tsoy.
In 2010, Simonova was invited to open for the Fifth Annual Anti Human Trafficking Awards Ceremony sponsored by the International Organization for Migration in Kiev.
At 26 april 2011, Kseniya Simonova will cooperate with a special made animation at the special memorial for 25 years Chernobyl in Rotterdam 25 years Chernobyl to support the memorial of this terrible disaster that still affects a lot of people in Ukraine and Belarus.

Biography of Kseniya Simonova


Kseniya Simonova, (married name: Kseniya Simonova Paskar) is the 2009 winner of the TV contest Ukraine’s Got Talent, which is part of theGot Talent series. She is a performance artist in sand animation and a philanthropist.

Early life and family. She was born on April 22, 1985 in Evpatoriya, a town on the Crimean peninsula, in Ukraine. Her mother, Irina Simonova, is an artist, a theatrical designer and teacher of fine arts. Her father, Alexander Simonov, is former military officer who runs a business in furniture design. Since she was a child, Kseniya painted, drew and designed with her mother.
Kseniya’s parents didn’t want her to be an artist. Kseniya explained, “It is a constant struggle. I knew that, and was ready for it. If you chose this profession, you're struggling all your life. You do not enjoy everyday life - like comfort, and buying furniture... You're always looking for something more, and actually, I was never interested in a life of comfort and buying furniture.”
In 2007, she married Igor Paskar, a theater director and magazine editor. Their son Dmitry was born on November 27, 2007.

Education. She graduated from the Artistic School of Evpatoriya and studied in the School of Fine Arts. At school, Kseniya wrote research papers on English folk poetry and 15th and 16th century English folk songs and ballads. She also translated folk poetry and great poets like William Shakespeare, Robert Burns and George Gordon Byron.  For her research work, Kseniya earned entrance to any University in Ukraine with English Philology Departments. In 2002, Kseniya chose a psychology major and graduated in 2007 from the Taurida National University with honors. Her scientific specialization was Psychophysiology – a sphere between Psychology and Anatomy. At the same time, in 2003, Kseniya entered the Ukrainian Academy of Printing and studied Graphic Design. She graduated in 2008, six months after giving birth to her son.

Working as an Artist. Since 2006 Kseniya has been working for a magazine “Crimean Riviera” as an artist. In 2007, Kseniya and her husband Igor Paskar, launched a bilingual magazine “Chocolate” in English and Russian. The magazine stopped production in 2008 due to the financial crisis.

Sand Artist

The idea to do a sand performance was her husband's idea, who wanted to do a new theater project. At first Kseniya refused, “I immediately realized that this is very difficult to perform. It was sand – not pencils or paints. How can this be used as a drawing material?” At the same time, their financial situation was strained, with the magazine out of business and a baby to support. Simonova remembers, “I was terribly depressed. I had problems with lactation and somehow had to calm myself. Igor said, 'Either we will go crazy or let’s do something! What about the sand?' I said, 'Why not?'"
First, Kseniya used sand from the beach, but it was too uncomfortable for sand animation. Then they tried river sand, but that did not work. Igor spent days sitting at the computer looking for appropriate sand on the Internet and finally found it. There was a group of geologists selling a special volcanic sand, but it was too expensive. Igor had to sell all his printing equipment to buy 3 kilograms of sand.
Kseniya Simonova started practicing drawing with sand in a small dark room in a house they rented. She said it was so difficult that she wanted to give it up in three days. It was physically hard because she had to stand for long hours. Ksenyia trained at nights for three months. In the day she was a mother, doing what all mothers do – cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, playing with her son. From 10 pm to 4 am she was a sand artist. To realize the essence of sand animation, with its constant transformations of images, she had to retrain her vision and start seeing objects as they would appear in sand.

Winner of “Ukraine’s Got Talent”

Her husband, Igor, suggested that she should enter the competition Ukraine’s Got Talent, where the prize was one million hryvna, the equivalent of $110,000. Kseniya decided to enter.
She presented a two minute sand story and was selected as a semi-finalist. She wanted to perform a sand story about World War II, but the producers encouraged her to choose a more popular theme. Kseniya refused, saying, "I just want to bring some immortal sense to this show. Not just pictures or video clips.

to be continue...

Biography of Ferenc Cako


Ferenc Cakó

graphic artist, painter, writer, director of animation films

He was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1950.

His father was Fassel L'ousa Ferenc, painter, (1915-2009).

Ferenc Cakó attended the Secondary School of Applied  and Fine Arts, the Graphic Section. / His teachers there were Gacs Gábor, Zala Tibor, Pásztor Gábor, Miskolczi László/

Then he was admitted to the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, to the Applied Graphic Section.  /His masters there were Konecsni György, Barcsay Jenő, Patay László, Iván Szilárd, Zelenák Crescencia, Tamási Zoltán). He got his diploma there in 1973.

During his college years and after that he got the main awards at the National Amateur Film Festivals in 1973 and 1974. These amateur films were 'Petőfi' painting animation and 'Ókulária' object animation.

After getting these awards, he started to work for Pannonia Film Studio, in the section of the Puppet Studio, led by Foky Ottó.

Between 1973 and 1991 he worked in that studio as  animator, designer and director.
He got his professional knowledge in twenty years of continuous work in the field of traditional  3D animation.

In the beginning he worked on series films as a co-artist, then in 1978 he started his own line, mostly with clay-animation films, which were  very trendy at that time. These films included Ad Astra,  Auto Torture,   Safe Drillers /Kasszagyúrók/, AB Ovo.
Also  using clay animation, he started to make series  of such films for Hungarian Television, including  Never mind, Tobias /Sebaj, Tóbiás/, 26 episodes,1982-85, and ZENO, 21 episodes, 1985-88.

During those years, besides making series, he made films for festivals as well.
Out of his own original ideas, he himself wrote the scripts for the festival films.

Besides making films, he has been making several  exhibitions from his graphics, paintings and film installations, too.

In 1988 he made a big breakthrough with his sand and sculpture animation film titled Ab Ovo. This film got the award Gold Palm in Cannes in  that year and got other awards in different other film festivals as well /Annecy, Sanghai, Uppsala/.

He has been illustrating books for children and youth for many years. He has illustrated - among others -many  books by  Csukás István and Nógrádi Gábor.

In 1989 he made the coal-powder and clay animation film AD REM, which got the main awards in San Francisco and Oberhausen.

In 1989 he got the award Meritorious Artist of Hungary.

Between 1991 and 1994 he made the films TOF-TOF Elephant. It was a clay series, 52 episodes. Its writer was Csukás István, as in the case of Never mind, Tobias. Studio: Mikro Studíó.

In 1994 he made the sand animation film ASHES,  in the memory of his mother.  Studio: Mikro  Stúdió. This film got the award GOLDEN BEAR in Berlin, and also the main awards of Huesca and Kecskemét, Hungary. 

Between 1994 and 1996 he worked as  college lecturer at the Hungarian College of Applied Arts.

In 1995 his film titled Song of Sand was sent to Cannes Film Festival as a competing film at the event 100. Anniversary of Film.

In that  year he  started his own studio with the name  C.A.K.Ó. Stúdió. In that studio he made several of his own films and gave  chance to young talanted artists to work there  as well.

The following animation films were made in that studio: Labyrinth,  Vision, Stones, Psychoparade, Caravan, The Fox and the Raven, Hey, S.O.S.!,  Letters, Face, Touch./Almost all of them got some prizes at festivals/ Also at that  studio there were some college exam films and other 3D animations  made as well as commercials directed by other directors. 

In 1997 in Annecy, France, - this is  world's biggest international animation film festival, held every year -,   he was asked to show some of his figurative and image materials and at the same time some retrospective film shows of his works were held in the film palace.

Between 1998 and 2000.   He held special animation courses in France, Finland, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. 

In 1999 he got the award Outstanding Artist of Hungary. 

In 2001 in Vigadó Galéria, Budapest,  he had an exhibition of fine arts and films materials of his works of thirty years.

In 1996 he had the idea and worked out a type of LIVE SAND ANIMATION SHOW, in which with special music on, his live drawing with sand /!/ is projected in large size on screen for the audience. These are dream-like images which form from each other. The images are graphically well invented, drawn with sand and having matching music along with it and they are prepared Recently these shows have  brought him very big success both at home and abroad. He often  appears at opening and closing ceremonies of high-profile state events and  festivals as well as being on the show together with different outstanding musicians and symphonic orchestras.

He makes films,  appears in juries, illustrates and makes exhibitions. 

Since 2010 he works as docent and holds lectures  in Sopron, Hungary, at the Institute of Applied Arts of the University of West-Hungary. 


 Next Post will be Kseniya Simonova bio =)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Steps of Sand Animation

To creat images in sand animation, we brush into the sand to create areas of light and shade on a back lighting or bright surface. The marks made stay long enough to be captured frame by frame, which are then changed for the next sequence. Therefore, the illusion of movement is created by slowly modifying the sand frame by frame.


a) Pencils/ Erasers b) A4 size paper
c) Brushes
d) Coloured sand
e) 4 rectangular wooden block
f) Panel of claer plastic

A table or an elevated platform is required to serve as the work area where the sand is controlled and animated on the plastic frame by frame against a light box. A digital video comera is mounted on a tripod and connected to a computer loaded with Adobe Premiere software for stop-motion capture on the table. An ordinary photographic tripod is usually used and the DVC is positioned such that it points downwards st the light box and would shoot the sand from above.

Steps to Sand Animation

1. Construct the basic set up accordingly as shown in the set-up section. Switch on the computer and start the programme Adobe Premiere. Select the function File> Capture> Stop motion.

2. Position the 4 wooden supports for the oanel of glass or plastic such that they support the panel over the light box steadily.

Method 1

i. Pour the coloured sand on the glass and used a brush to shift them in place. Put a tray of a different coloured sand beneath.

ii. Use a pencil to make a mark on the sand. 12 frames of this action are taken.

iii. Use the pencil to draw the desired picture on the sand little by little. 5 frames are taken with every slight change.

iv. When the sequence is completed and replayed, the action sequence will show a smiling face of the colour of the sand beneath.

Method 2

i. Draw the line drawings of the action sequence that you want to animate to serve as guides to control the sand.It will be the same method as what we have taught in Classical animation., bearing in mind the importance of key frames and in-betwwen frames.

ii. Position the 4 plastic supports for the panel of glass or plastic such that they support the panel over the light box steadily. The first drawing in the action sequence is then slotted underneath the plastic, so that it is illuminated against the light box.

iii. Pour the coloured sand on the plastic and shaped it according to the drawing underneath the transparent panel.

iv. Use a brush to shift the sand into place to create details in the drawing. With the completion of this first sand drawing, 12 frames of this action are taken to mark.

v. The sand is collected and removed after the first frame of the action sequence is taken. The plastic is then ready for the next frame.

vi. The drawing of the next frame is slotted underneath the plastic panel and the sand is poured on it again to create the new image for the second frame of the action sequence. Once completed, 5 frames are taken before the sand is removed and the panel is then ready for the third and subsequent frames of the action sequence.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The performing arts - Sand Animation

Sand animation, also known as sand art, is a term which has two meanings. Sand animation is simply the art of using one's hands to draw with sand. Artists create their master pieces by adding or removing sand from glass table lit from below. By using both positive and negative space, amazing images come to life before the audience. The presentation is often enhanced by the use of music and various lighting techniques under the table. Most performances follow a story line or script. This creates a sense of motion in the imagery and draws the audience into the creation process.

Initially a means to create animated short films, sand animation was brought into the live performing arts stage by Ferenc Cako. You may hear these live performances called sand art, or sand painting. Although the art itself has been around for decades, there are still very few successful artists. Many find that simply being able to draw images with sand is not enough to captivate observers. They must also be able to entertain and create and tell a compelling story. Today there are only a handful of well known sand animation artist within the community. Below are the most prominent.

Ferenc Cako
A Hungarian artist with over 30 years of experience. He is credited with moving sand animation to live performances. As one would expect he has been very successful with his performances including an apperance at Techfest 2004 and work for various TV shows.

Kseniya Simonova
Kseniya is the newest artist to the genre. The young Ukrainian, at only 24 years old, won the “Ukraine's Got Talent” show in 2009. With many decades ahead of her and true tallent, it will be a joy to see how she advances the artform.

Ilana Yahav
An Israeli artist with several years of comercial experience. She is most known for the use of her art in several Qwest commercials. Ilana's work can be found on as well as