Snowshoe Art — Creativity Out in the Cold

There’s a magical impermanence to Simon Beck’s “Snow Art,” like low tide beach sculptures or Buddhist sand mandalas. Created using snowshoes and precise orienteering, these snow crop circles — which average 10 hours of focused, measured walking to complete — last only as long as the conditions favor them. A stiff breeze, a new snow or a sudden thaw and it’s tabula rasa, all over again. As yourself if you have the love-of-what-you-do, desire, and willingness to put something this “fleeting” out into the world?

An Oxford-educated England native, Beck’s work as an orienteering mapmaker gives him one of the skills necessary to create his art. According to the artist, “accurate use of a compass and distance measurement by pace counting” enable him to be successful. What else does it take? “Physical stamina,” Beck explained in an email exchange.

On the issue of commercialization of his work, Beck had this to say:

I have theoretically been offered several thousand GPB [British Pound Sterling] for three photos but this has stalled as the customer has (on having a better look) asked for higher resolution photos, so the drawings have to be done again so I can shoot them with my new camera (and most likely hire the helicopter). Given better equipment I think I shall make money in this way. It is time to make the commitment and investment.

Most immediately, Beck hopes to publish a coffee table book of his work by 2014.

Currently the artist uses a Nikon D7000 for snapping the photos [usually from the vantage point of nearby mountains or chairlifts], although prior to this season he used “cheap consumer cameras from mass-market retailers.” Oh, and he’s got TSLs or Tubbs strapped onto those feet, for those who were wondering.

Before you go associating these snowshoe shapes with those corn-field cousins, heed this final word of Beck’s into consideration:

A lot of people seem to call it snow crop circles, which I dislike as a lot of those who do crop drawings don’t ask permission and I don’t want to be associated with that sort of illegal activity. I don’t see the need to call it something else [besides "snow art"] but I would be open to suggestions.

Tell me this is superfresh…

*All photos courtesy of Simon Beck.






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21 Responses to Snowshoe Art — Creativity Out in the Cold

  1. Murph January 18, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Wow, just wow. Beautiful. My favorite season just made even more wonderful. This guy is a great talent.

    • Mallory January 18, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      and… how, just how?

      • Peter January 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        I’m saying the same thing!

  2. Gary January 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Those are amazing, and I think rather than a helicopter he needs to hook up with someone with access to a quad copter seems like that would be a bit more economical and probably easier to arrange.

  3. adam coss January 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Beautiful fractals, I love the sacred geometry in the art

  4. faisal January 19, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    That is a lot of creativity in temperatures where most people will barely move.

  5. Brenda January 19, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Jim Denevan has been doing similar art in the sand for years. He mostly works on beaches but sometimes in deserts and occasionally in the snow. Not to diminish Simon’s work in any way but Jim usually creates his works simply by using spots on the horizon as his points of reference.

    http://jimdenevan.com/ (See Sand, Ice and Earth.

    Also, check the Press page for several interesting videos. http://jimdenevan.com/press.htm

  6. m lopez January 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    I thought aliens only landed in corn fields. Who knew that they like the snow as well.

  7. Magazine Cover Composition January 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Wow, These are awesome pictures, very creative, totally loved them.Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures.

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    Jesus Christ get a fucking job.

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