OGUNQUIT, Maine — The imprints of dogs, seagulls, kids, and adults on beaches get washed away twice a day as the tide creates a clean slate, fresh sand, and it's the perfect place for Sebastian Privitera to practice his hobby.
"I love being out here. It's therapeutic. The smell of the ocean air I put my music in and just zone out," Privitera explained.
The sand is his canvas, his sturdy rake his paintbrush. He wields his rake, with precision, across the sand transforming it into whimsical designs. Lately, he's been drawing large-scale geometrical shapes like the mandala.
It started several years ago when Privitera just couldn't sit still on family outings to the beach. He started to make castles with his kids. His designs grew more elaborate and so too did his passion for sand art.
"It's not really hard to do—you just use your imagination, go with the flow, see what the rake makes."
Privitera may be humble about his sand art, but the crowds they draw don't lie. Wherever he goes, adults and kids alike stop to snap a picture or just ponder at his work.
“It's amazing, it's a gift,” one woman said.
On the first Saturday morning in May, Privitera drew a smiling sun sitting atop a rainbow shrouded in clouds, massive doggy prints that started at the entrance to the beach and led down to the water, and a scene of flowers.
This 57-year-old kid who still loves playing in the sand believes anyone can do what he does. Ogunquit Parks and Recreation Department asked him to host classes showing others the tips and tricks for making art. People drove from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to learn from the sandman. After hours of playing, Privitera flew his drone to capture the art his pupils had created.
It won't last long, the incoming tide will erase everything they have made but there might be some comfort in knowing the creations they've made are fleeting.
"I used to be sad watching them wash away but it doesn't phase me anymore," says Privitera. Privitera is leaving his mark on the places he loves no matter how brief.
"It's nice to see that what I'm making and doing ... is making people feel good. I think we need a lot more of that... If I make one person happy or two people happy then I did a good thing."