Meet the Landscape Artist Making Stunning Snow Artworks
Simon Beck's stunning snow artworks are purely mathematical.
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.
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 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.
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.”
A trained engineer, and a self proclaimed former “serious competitive orienteering expert” he spent the majority of his professional life working as a mapmaker.
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 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.”
“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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