With a bucket and a dream, this artist creates truly one-of-a-kind sandcastles.

Artist Calvin Seibert battles time and nature in his work every day. Ultimately, every day, he loses.

Seibert spends his summers building sandcastles.

All photos via Calvin Seibert/Flickr, used with permission.


Modern, stunning, mind-melting sandcastles.

And as impressive and inventive as each one is, they all eventually go right back where they came from.

But it doesn't stop Calvin from dreaming and building all over again.

Like most kids, Seibert grew up playing in the dirt.

A child of the 1960s, Seibert could often be found goofing off and playing with his brothers and friends on construction sites near his childhood home in Colorado. The boys would play in the sand and watch the city grow up around them.

"You'd find all of this junk material to drag home and build a tree house with," Seibert recalls. "And they had piles of sand because they used to mix concrete on site."

While most kids trade in their sandbox for more traditional pursuits, Calvin leaned in. When he moved to New York in 1979 to attend art school, he started making sandcastles on the beach.

Now a freelance artist's assistant, Calvin spends his summer days building modern, stunning sandcastles.

His flexible schedule allows him to spend as many summer days as possible building jaw-dropping structures out of sand.

Each one is inventive, ornate, and meticulous.

He draws his inspiration from the brutalist architecture movement popular in his youth.

The style features defiant, expressive concrete buildings and structures, and it's easy to see the influence in Seibert's work.

"The whole reason I make the sandcastles so smooth and hard-edged is really coming out of ... seeing those buildings and being excited by that."

Most of Seibert's castles have striking smooth lines and curves, almost appearing to come from a mold.

But in reality, it's just Seibert's hands, his homemade plastic sand tools, and a five-gallon bucket he uses to dig holes and carry water.

It's physical work, and Seibert certainly gets his exercise in carrying up to 250 gallons of seawater to each structure. That's part of what makes each build so precious; it's only a matter of time before the physical stress may prevent Seibert from doing what he loves.

"It's hard work," Seibert says. "If I waited 10 or 15 years to do it in retirement or something, I wouldn't be able to do it ... I better do it now, time is ticking away."

But for now, the work keeps him young. That and a well-oiled imagination.

"Every day, I try to make something different," Seibert says. "I try to up the ante, add something new, and find something new, and things reveal themselves. I find myself doing something I hadn't expected."

Each castle takes less than a day to build and often just minutes to destroy.

Seibert works quickly, sometimes attracting an audience of kids and adults mesmerized by what he can do so quickly with organic materials. He works without a plan, letting the sand, surf, and love affair with architecture inspire him. Some days it comes easy, others, not so much.

"Nature will always be against you and time is always running out," he wrote on his Flickr page. "Having to think fast and to bring it all together in the end is what I like about it."

Once his sandcastles are built, seabirds, ocean waves, curious kids, and beachgoers have their way with them. But Seibert doesn't see it as a loss; it's simply part of what makes his work so beautiful and life-affirming.

Seibert invited a few kids to help him lay this castle to rest.

Nothing is permanent.

Not the sand hills of his youth, the shores he builds on today, the castles he dreams up, or the knees and arms he relies on to get the job done.  But it doesn't stop Seibert from pushing himself to create the impossible and sharing it far and wide.

"It's the nature of the thing," he says. "You move on and make something new," he says.

It's true of sandcastles, art, and life: While you're here, use your gifts to make as much beauty as you can and share it with the world.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

Keep Reading Show less
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

Keep Reading Show less