Meet the Landscape Artist Making Stunning Snow Artworks

Simon Beck's stunning snow artworks are purely mathematical.

The designs can take up to 11 hours to complete. Photo: Simon Beck

The Alps are his canvas. Over the last ten years alpinist and landscape artist Simon Beck has created dozens of stunning works of land art in freshly laid snow.

The 56-year-old makes money from selling high-resolution prints and collaborating with clothing brands. Photo: Simon Beck

The 56-year-old makes money from selling high-resolution prints and collaborating with clothing brands.
Photo: Simon Beck

Using only a pair of snowshoes, Beck creates intricate patterns that cover an average area of 100m x 100m. The designs, which artnet News counted among our favorite earth-friendly artworks, can take up to 12 hours to complete and sometimes require him to cover the distance of three soccer fields.

The artist's previous career as a mapmaker and orienteering expert proved to be useful. Photo: Simon Beck

The artist’s previous career as a mapmaker and orienteering expert proved to be useful for his art.
Photo: Simon Beck

The artist started making the designs in 2004 as a way to stay in shape after an injury has left him unable to go running. Today, conceiving, planning, and executing the stunning patterns in the snow is Beck’s primary occupation; he takes commissions and has produced a book of his designs, and is currently planning to produce a second coffee-table-style publication.

Beck makes the landscape drawings wearing snowshoes. Photo: Simon Beck

Beck makes the landscape drawings wearing snowshoes.
Photo: Simon Beck

Since he started making the designs 11 years ago, Beck has made designs all over the world. “Drawing on the ground is a natural thing that people have been doing for thousands of years,” Beck told artnet News in an email, “so I don’t really claim to have invented snow art.”

The scale of Beck's work can be appreciated by the size of the bystanders in this picture. Photo: Simon Beck

The scale of Beck’s work can be appreciated by the size of the bystanders in this picture.
Photo: Simon Beck

A trained engineer, and a self proclaimed former “serious competitive orienteering expert” he spent the majority of his professional life working as a mapmaker.

The designs are always based on mathematical patters, because they are easiest to execute. Photo: Simon Beck

The designs are always based on mathematical patters, because they are easiest to execute.
Photo: Simon Beck

As it turns out, his mathematical and orienteering skill-set is vital for his artworks. Beck uses only a compass and counts his paces to work out distance. The techniques for making snow art “is exactly like mapmaking backwards, using the same skills as for making maps” he explained.

The artist produces about 30 works every winter. Photo: Simon Beck

The artist produces about 30 works every winter.
Photo: Simon Beck

The artist added that he primarily depicts geometrical designs. “I have attempted a few pictures, but […] consensus has been the geometrical shapes work best,” he explained. “80 percent of the drawings are variations and combinations of Koch snowflakes, Mandelbrot sets, Sierpinski triangles, and stars. A few are copies of crop circles.”

The average design covers a distance similar to the size of three football fields. Photo: Simon Beck

The average design covers a distance similar to the size of three football fields.
Photo: Simon Beck

“I motivate myself by thinking of all the people who have to work in boring offices and factories in boring cities and remind myself that I now belong to a small minority of highly privileged people who get paid for doing something they actually quite like doing.”


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