‘It could collapse now’: Artist embraces ‘impermanent’ art form

ROCKAWAY, NY (CBS News) — The daily commute for Calvin Seibert is a long one — over an hour from his Manhattan home to Long Island’s Rockaway Beach.

With homemade tools, water, imagination and considerable skill, Seibert turns one of the most common things in the world into structures that are anything but, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

“I can’t think of another art form that’s more impermanent,” Dahler said.

“Even if it falls, I mean it could collapse now, you know, right behind us,” Seibert said.

“You’re OK with that?” Dahler asked.

“You gotta be,” Seibert replied.

The 59-year-old artist has been creating sandcastles since he was a small boy. He almost chose a career in architecture, until he had a sudden realization: “I don’t really care so much about what’s inside this thing. I like the outside as an object,” he said.

And so, too, do the children who gather around him as he works.

“I’ve had some wonderful encounters with people, and that’s definitely nice. But if they weren’t here, I’d still be here doing this,” Seibert said.

Art, for art’s sake. Seibert, who earns his living as an artist’s assistant, will occasionally sell a photograph of his work here and there. But money has never been his motivation.

“I want to do something all the time and be creative,” he said. “And if nobody ever knew about it, I’d still be building a sandcastle.”

Summer or winter, Calvin Seibert is a constant presence on Rockaway Beach. His creations may disappear, but not the beautiful memories given to those lucky enough to see them.

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