The Spectacular Snow Drawings of Simon Beck

 

 

Winter has finally arrived in New Hampshire. We’re expecting about a foot of snow here in the Monadnock region by the time the storm ends Thursday evening. There hasn’t been a single opportunity for snowshoeing this year, which I’ve missed.

Snowshoeing has been on my mind…This week I noticed these snow photographs popping up again and again on Facebook, Inhabitat, and other sites. Curious about their original source, I did a little digging and discovered the official Facebook page of Simon Beck, an artist who creates these incredible designs by walking in the snow with snowshoes.

The Oxford-educated, self-employed map maker creates these designs on the frozen lakes in the valley of Savoie, France, just outside of the ski slopes at Les Arcs resort. An average work is the size of three soccer fields and takes about two days to complete.

The biggest challenge for Beck (besides getting overly tired) is finding a way to reduce the visibility of his own tracks when he begins and finishes a piece. Sometimes, he might work all day only to have his design covered by fresh snow overnight. At other times, he finishes a design right at sunset and doesn’t have enough light remaining to photograph his work properly. But the inability to predict the outcome is part of the fun.

 

 

 

Snow Artist Simon Beck (Photo courtesy Now That's Nifty)

 

 

 

 

 

I love the simplicity of Beck’s method, and the impermanence of each piece. Personally, I’m partial to Beck’s simpler designs that rely more on line and texture for their effect. A number of the designs are reminiscent of crop circles and other patterns from ancient art.

All of the photographs I’ve seen flying around the web are from Beck’s official Facebook page, which is where he posts his latest work for the public to peruse. There are also a large number of beautiful pieces Beck made between 2009 and 2011 in this photo album on the artist’s personal page. You WON’T find these images anywhere else, and many of my favorite images can be found there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Beck's Snow Art (Photo courtesy Inhabitat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remnants of one of Beck's designs can still be see on the melting surface of Lac des Combes. A few hours after this photo was taken, the ice completely disappeared. (Photo courtesy Inhabitat)

 

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By | 2016-11-11T21:53:04+00:00 02.29.12|Design, Greatest Hits, Images|6 Comments

About the Author:

I’ve spent almost 20 years helping thousands of successful artists of all disciplines and working to make the arts more accessible. (One friend likes to call me “the arts enabler.”) From 1999-2012 I worked at The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s oldest artist colony, but I've also done time at an arts magazine, a library, an art museum, and a raptor rehabilitation center. In May of 2012 I left MacDowell to pursue writing, speaking, curating, and creative projects full-time. In 2015 I was named a “Top 100 Artist, Innovator, Creative” by Origin magazine. I've appeared as an arts and culture commentator on New Hampshire Public Radio, and in 2017 I was the recipient of the Wampler Art Professorship at James Madison University. I am the founder of the Gwarlingo Salon series, which connects artists like DJ Spooky with rural audiences in the Monadnock region. In 2017 my collaborator Corwin Levi and I will publish our first book, Mirror Mirrored, which combines Grimms’ fairy tales with vintage illustration remixes and the work of contemporary artists like Kiki Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, and Amy Cutler. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but have called New Hampshire home since 1999. My studio is located in the historic, mill village of Harrisville. I miss fried okra, the early southern spring, and restaurants that stay open past 9:00 p.m., but rural life agrees with me. In New Hampshire I can see the stars, go kayaking or snowshoeing, watch bald eagles fish in the lake, and focus on my creative work in silence. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams; deer, wild turkeys, and frost heaves are the primary road hazards here. Although I live in the country, I’m fortunate enough to be part of a vibrant arts community that extends beyond this small New England village. The quiet days are punctuated by regular travel and frequent visits to museums, theaters, readings, arts events, lectures, and open studios around the country. (You can read my full CV here.) Thanks for visiting Gwarlingo. I hope you'll be in touch.

6 Comments

  1. Tammy March 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Utterly stunning! I’m so happy to find out about Beck from you, Michelle. I’m particularly drawn to environmental art (Andy Goldsworthy, Dan Snow) and Beck’s work just pulled me right in.

  2. poppy March 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

    This is a great post! Snow makes a wonderful canvas! 2 other snow artists come to mind – Vermont artist Thea Alvin has been stomping giant snow spirals into acres of snow over the past few years. Sonja Henrichson has also been using snow as a canvas and recently created acres of snow circles near Rabbit Ears pass in Steamboat Springs, CO. A bit more about her work here: http://poppygall.com/blog/2012/02/20/design-inspiration-snow-circles/

    • Michelle Aldredge March 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Poppy, Thanks for passing on information about snow artists Thea Alvin and Sonja Henrichson.

      Gwarlingo readers, I’m new to Poppy Gall’s blog, but she has several interesting posts on ephemeral winter art.

      I’ve seen Jim Denevan’s work before, but had forgotten about it. Here is one of the pieces he made on Siberia’s frozen Lake Baikal…
       


       

      Poppy also has photos of Sonja Henrichson’s snow art (seen below), and these amazing ice pagodas at the International Ice and Snow festival in China. These are both great finds. You can see more here at Poppy Gall’s blog. Thanks for sharing, Poppy!

       

       

  3. Anna Dibble March 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    These are fantastic. Michelle, please check out http://www.inthemake.net. Great West Coast site of artist studio visits!

    • Michelle Aldredge March 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Anna, Thanks for the link to In The Make. What a fascinating site! I particularly like the side-by-side layout they’re using. I’m going to spend some time perusing their archive. Thanks for the head’s up!

  4. […] the Gwarlingo site to see more about Beck and images of his work. There are more photos on Simon Beck ‘s […]

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