63-Years-Old Creates Snow Art By Walking Step By Step

Published 2 months ago

In the pristine landscapes of the French Alps, 63-years-old artist Simon Beck has found an unconventional canvas for his creative expression – snow-covered terrains. Armed with nothing but a pair of snowshoes and his own two feet, Beck crafts intricate, geometric masterpieces that stretch across vast expanses of snow.

In a recent interview with DeMilked, Beck shared his insights into the inspiration, challenges, and ephemeral nature of his snow art. Check out some of his breathtaking works and read his exclusive interview with DeMilked below.

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Image source: Simon Beck

Image source: Simon Beck

When did you start creating these artworks?

“I did a few as a bit of fun between  2004  and 2008, but it was not until 2009 that I decided to “take it seriously” and give it priority over skiing when conditions were right. Good conditions means a level area of untracked snow (usually a frozen lake) and a forecast of sunshine for taking photos the following day. At the time of writing, I have made a total of 403 snow drawings  (and when in the UK in Summer I make drawings on the beach, using a rake, I have made 201, with a vague lifetime goal of reaching a total of 1000  before I reach the age of 80,  then I shall retire.)”

Image source: Simon Beck

Image source: Simon Beck

What inspired you to pursue this particular way of making art?

“When I made my first drawing I had no idea how good the result would look, and it took a while for things to come together. I bought a digital camera, then snowshoes, and when we got the internet in the resort where I live  (Arc2000) I looked online to see what others were doing.  I was amazed to find nothing,  and that was when I realised I might be onto something big. When I had a layoff for 4 weeks following an operation in 2011 I used the time to create my facebook page and that was when my fame started to spread. Part of the rationale for making the drawings is that it’s good exercise,  which I don’t usually get enough of during the winter (skiing is strenuous,  but not really aerobic exercise unless you walk up rather than use the ski lifts!)”

Image source: Simon Beck

Image source: Simon Beck

Could you please share some insights into your creative process?

“Geometry works best,  and most of the drwgs are based on elements modifed from Von koch fractals, Mandelbrot fractals,  Sierpinski triangles, and stars. Photoshop has a “distort” feature,  that can twist a  drawing,  and exchange cartesian co-ordinates with polar co-ordinates, and generate more designs. Once  I have something that looks good on paper I then work out how to reproduce it in the field.  Most of the skill is working out the best way to do this,  and some designs have to be rejected as being to difficult or time-consuming to reproduce accurately enough. I use primitive methods: magnetic compass bearings,  distance determination by pace counting,  and circles using a rope and anchor. I can get all my equipment and food into one backpack which is an advantage. GPS  is getting better all the time, one day I shall start using it if only to make minor corrections as I proceed, and allow more difficult designs to be set out.

Image source: Simon Beck

Image source: Simon Beck

The drwgs work via the shadow cast in the footprints so it is essential that the sun should be shining for the photos,  and the most common reason for failure is not getting full sunshine.   The lower the sun the better the result so the ideal time is in the morning / late afternoon shortly after/before the drwg goes into shadow.   There is sometimes a problem with skiers or walkers making unwanted tracks through the site,  but the larger one can make the drwg the less obvious this becomes.   Wind can also wreck a drwg,  experience in Colorado was that 10 out of 12 drwgs needed some reinstatement due to wind damage and 2 were completely removed.  One was damaged by Elks digging through the snow in search of food.  To cut a long story short, several things have to be dead right to get a really good result and one of my problems is that people see the best results that  get shared round the web and think one can get something equally good wherever one has a patch of snow  (equally with the sand drawings).”

Image source: Simon Beck

Image source: Simon Beck

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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60-year-old, 60-Year-Old artist, art, art by walking on snow, artist, interview, snow art, snow artist
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