As many skiers and snowboarders know, there is little better than the look of fresh powder. Being at the top of a mountain and seeing the beautiful snowscape is at once peaceful and brilliant. It makes you feel alive, and it connects you to something that feels old and untouched. Standing at the top of that mountain before skiing down is truly a moment of serenity and beauty. One that artist Simon Beck knows all too well.
For the past decade, Simon Beck has been traipsing around the snow-covered mountains of the Northern Hemisphere, adding his own little dash of beauty to these already incredible places. It started out as a hobby but is now his full-time career, making beautiful snowy art pieces at ski hills and mountains around the world.
Instead of paint, brushes, and scaffolding, the tools of most muralists, Beck uses only three simple devices for his snowy patterns: a pair of snowshoes, a drawing, and a compass. Everything else is done by memory and counting paces. The drawings usually require a lot of walking, up to 25 miles in many instances.
The idea of doing these snowy art pieces came from watching kids and children, who always draw in the snow at ski hills and just around the home. “When you go to ski resorts you frequently see drawings in the snow that kids have made,” Beck told The Guardian, “Teenagers drawing rude things, and at Valentine’s Day love hearts all over the place. The only difference is that I do it on somewhat a larger scale.”
Unlike the rude drawings of teenagers, Beck’s snow art is intricate and beautiful, displaying a love of design and complex patterns rather than messages or simple shapes. An engineer by trade, almost all of Beck’s snowscapes are mathematically inspired. The reason is personal choice, but also ease of work. According to Beck, they allow him to “get to drawing much sooner. You are just following simple rules. You don’t have to keep referring to a diagram. You can do it from memory. And they just look the best.” Popular designs he uses include the Koch snowflake, the Sierpinski triangle and a version of the Mandelbrot set.
While Beck predominantly does snowscapes, his art has expanded to sand and, surprisingly, a clothing line based on his intricate shapes. The sand is a logical extension of his art, but also comes with unique challenges. Beck says the flatness makes the work much easier since it isn’t as deep or labour-intensive as snow, but that there is one aspect that makes it more frustrating: the tide. Since water on beaches has a regular tendency to wash away his art, Beck has to select beaches that have sand rarely touched by the actual water.
Simon Beck’s awesome sand and snow art shows that street art can exist a long ways away from the actual street, and can use the materials around to create beautiful art. By using only a compass and snowshoes, Beck’s art is eco-friendly and beautiful, contributing the beauty of the natural world without impacting its longevity.