Walking along the beach in Oregon, you see many cool things. From sand dollars to bald eagles and colorful kites zig-zagging in the breeze, a walk along the Oregon coast awakens the senses and renews the spirit. Recently, there’s been an addition to the beach-combing wonders found on the beaches in Seaside. A new sand artist, Kelly Uhacz, is emerging as genuine talent, eager to bring smiles to kids of all ages.
Jeseeka Bagget lives in Seaside and was excited to see Kelly’s newest creation while on a walk with her kids early one Saturday morning. She said, “His art has a nice calming effect. It gives you a sense of community, and it’s wonderful that he displays his art for free, just for pleasure.” Soon, others began to assemble, taking photos, and asking questions. Who is the artist, and what is his mission?
Kelly Uhacz created his first sand art only about six weeks ago. A civil engineer by trade, he got the idea online and soon had his plan for his first masterpiece. With just a handful of tools, including a long pole, some string, and a couple of rakes, he outlines a giant circle from 80 to 100 feet in circumference and then works for about two hours to complete it. The design aspect of his artwork comes naturally to him, in terms of angles and dimensions, but the creative elements have been more challenging. He feels he gets better with each creation and is excited to see how his new hobby develops.
When asked why he spends so much time making something that doesn’t bring him any monetary benefit, he replied, “It’s fun to watch people’s reactions. It’s exciting to see how excited people get when they see it.”
Kelly, and his wife of 12 years, Sara, live in Vancouver but have a second home in Seaside. They don’t have any children (but have two cats), and their favorite thing to do is spend time on the beach in Seaside. She was a little surprised when a couple of months ago, he told her, “I think I want to rake the sand.” Sara was initially a little confused, but then he showed her a photocopy of his first design and explained his idea. She quickly got on board with the concept and now shares his vision for bringing nature art to the Seaside community.
Sara Uhacz is a professional photographer. She enjoys taking photos of her husband’s creations and sharing them on his Instagram page. She says she’s his biggest fan! It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship and a great way to strengthen their bond. Sara believes that artistic ability runs in his family. Kelly’s mother, cousin, and aunt are all talented artists (painting). Kelly has done a little woodworking in the past, but nothing on this scale.
Kelly said he has to pay close attention to the tides and the weather. He doesn’t mind a little rain as it keeps the sand moist, and the wind gusts down. Kelly usually starts about two hours before low tide. Then, when he’s finished, he and Sara sit in their lawn chairs and watch people meander by, and they revel in their reactions. They see a little of everything. Some people are blown away and full of questions. Most bystanders are astounded at the beauty and detail of his art. And sadly, a few people, distracted by the worries of life, don’t even notice it and walk right through it.
If you find yourself in Seaside some weekend, keep a lookout for Kelly Uhacz and his sand art. You can sometimes find him on the far south side of the beach by Avenue U. You can also follow him on Instagram at @seaside_sand_art.