This sand art is wowing New England beach goers

"To me, it’s like therapy."

A mandala made by Sebastian "Subby" Privitera on Hampton Beach in N.H. earlier this month. Sebastian Privitera

In his spare time, Sebastian “Subby” Privitera heads to the beach with a metal rake.

A short time later, the sand is transformed into a piece of art that can stretch 75 feet in diameter and attract oohs and aahs from beachgoers and social media users alike.

“I’ve always liked creating things, making things,” said Privitera. “It’s just nice hearing people say, ‘Oh it looks nice.’ It’s a great feeling. To me, it’s like therapy.”

The Lawrence father of two adult children and longtime Market Basket employee has no formal art training. He said he used to build sandcastles on the beach with his kids as they grew up and then one year, after a neck surgery prevented him from shoveling, he brought a rake to the beach instead.

“I started drawing designs and started making them bigger and bigger and this is what it transpired into,” he said.

Earlier this month, he created a mandala on Hampton Beach in Hampton, N.H., which was shared on the beach’s Facebook page. It drew nearly 3,000 likes, more than 500 shares, and nearly 200 comments, many of them along the lines of “beautiful!” and “amazing!”

If you were in Hampton today you might have seen Sebastian Subby Privitera creating some incredibly beautiful Sandart….

Posted by Hampton Beach – “Official” on Sunday, April 18, 2021

“When it’s low tide, you just scratch the sand with the rake,” he said. “The way the sun hits it, it gives it a different effect; it looks like you painted it on the sand.”

Privitera said each piece takes him between 30 and 90 minutes.

“I also have to work around the tides. You can’t do that on the regular soft sand. If the water is all the way up and there’s only soft sand, you can’t do these on the soft sand. It has to be when the tide goes back out and it leaves a nice, flat, smooth canvas.”


Other sand drawings in his portfolio include flowers, crop circles, the Tree of Life, all four Boston sports logos, and even Big Papi. His sand sculptures range from traditional castles to sharks to animated characters such as the Minions and Olaf from “Frozen.” Beachgoers will mostly find his creations at Hampton Beach and Ogunquit Beach in Maine.

But the art isn’t meant to last.

“From high tide to low tide is a six-hour span,” Privitera said. “So you get a six-hour window that the artwork is out there for people to see before the tide takes it.”

You can follow his work on Instagram at sandcastlesbysubby.

Get's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on