Newport Beach-Based Low Tide Aliens Create Sprawling Sand Art At O.C. Beaches

Photo by Michelle Pagaran

Newport Beach resident Laura Wright is the co-founder of Low Tide Aliens, a family of artists who create sprawling sand art at O.C. beaches.

Where did the name come from?
We started off just doodling flowers in the sand during low tide at Newport Beach, and anyone passing by would come join us. The designs would grow out from the center like a mandala. It was fascinating to see how it made people stop and have a moment with the randomness of the art. We never announced it. We would do these things and leave, so it was kind of like alien crop circles.

Who helps you create the art?
My daughter, Darla, and nieces Kaitlyn and Mila. They don’t get up for school, but if we’re doing sand art in the morning, they are up and out the door in five minutes.

What is the process of creating one of your pieces?
Our circular pieces are about 40 feet in circumference. We start out by creating a circle in the sand using a stick and string and work from the inside out. We mix nontoxic earth pigments with sand to add color. Sometimes I get lost in the art at ground level, and someone on the pier will go, “You forgot a line!”

How do you see this growing?
Our co-founder Leslie Wielenga (who runs operations) and I want to support causes that are important to us by partnering with charities and creating interactive pieces for fundraising events. For International Surfing Day this year, we created a piece with The Surfrider Foundation that raised money and attracted people to Huntington Beach for a cleanup.

Ever feel sad when the art washes away?
No, it’s really just about being in the moment and bringing other people into the moment.

Photos by Michelle Pagaran (unless otherwise stated)

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