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Cape Town, WC, South Africa

Quick Blurb

You're looking the world's first beach calligrapher! My name is Andrew van der Merwe, I am based in Cape Town, South Africa


calligraphy, lettering, writing, geometric patterns, caligrafía, calligraphie, Kalligrafie, calligrafia, чистописание, ä¹&

Skills and Techniques

At this stage, I am not saying too much about how I do this. A lot of people ask me how I avoid leaving footprints. My usual, tongue-in-cheek answer is that I levitate, but really just not saying yet. Rest assured that it is quite basic. The really difficult thing here is getting the calligraphy right. I am a professional calligrapher with 20 year's experience and the skill required to wield my beach calligraphy instruments is minor compared with the skill required to produce and arrange we

Get to Know

I call myself a beach calligrapher or sand calligrapher and I am yet to be challenged in my claim to be the world's first. The beach calligraphy is a new, unique art form using instruments and techniques developed by myself since 2000. You will not find anything like this anywhere else in the world. The letters and designs are carved directly into the sand and photographed before the ocean claims it. When I am not on the beach, I am a professional calligrapher and letter artist who does most of his work for other designers and agencies (see I got hooked on the art of writing at the tender age of 6 when I was given gold stars for my first writing lessons by a very beautiful teacher. I began freelancing on the side while reading for a social science degree at the University of Cape Town. My majors were philosophy, anthropology and politics. Later, my interest in calligraphy overtook my interest in things academic. However, I still have a keen interest in philosophy and can occasionally be found reading some fairly heavy stuff. I got hooked on surfing while at high school and over the years, time spent on the beach always led to scratching in the sand with sticks, which I began shaping for various effects. That is how the beach calligraphy began. I made my first major breakthrough with a new instrument in 2000 and began photographing my efforts with my cell phone camera. In 2005 I bought a camera especially for the beach calligraphy - a Nikon Coolpix 8800. From there I graduated to a Nikon D70 with an ultrawide Sigma 10-20mm lens. I figured I needed a lens that could take in the work at my feet as well as the sky. That lens opened a whole new world to me. In 2006, my work was seen by Belgian lettercarver, Maud Bekeart and the following year I was invited by the City of Bruges, Belgium, to perform on the beach at Zeebrugge as part of what was to become the WOR(L)DS project. In 2008, I spent the month of July performing there. By that stage I had graduated to a Nikon D80. I now have a Nikon D700 with a 14-24mm G lens. The quality of the images off this camera surpasses my expectations. Sun, water, sand and wind are strong themes in my work. I particularly enjoy playing with African and other ancient writing systems in an asemic way. I also really enjoy carving names (see "People's Names" on my Behance portfolio: I am an active member of the Cape Friends of Calligraphy (, of the online group Cyberscribes ( and South Africa's premier photography group,, where I have a small gallery: I am married and have 3 young children. We are home schooling.