That's snow small undertaking

By Phil Plait | June 16, 2012 7:00 am

Simon Beck is an artist… of a different sort. He finds huge areas of newly fallen, untrodden snow, and trods on it. But he doesn’t just run willy-nilly or make snow angels. He makes geometric art:

How cool (haha) is that? His Facebook page talks about how he makes these giant patterns. He’s done this a lot, and has tons of pictures. Some of them are real stunners, so you should take a look.

I know a few people who would think this is a colossal waste of time. I, however, think it’s a testament to human creativity, ingenuity, and art. And the fact that these are ephemeral, literally blowing away in the wind within hours or days, makes them even cooler. If only more people were so dedicated to making beauty, no matter how fleeting, this world would be a more interesting place.

Tip o’ the parka hood to Fark.


Related Posts:

PRECIPITATE! PRECIPITATE!
Ephemeral snow and ancient rock
’tis a bit nippy, guvnah!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Simon Beck, snow art

Comments (25)

  1. It reminds me of the Tibetan monks who make mandalas with colored sand, where the point of making the art is to destroy it at the end. It’s a deliberate exercise in appreciating impermanence. Heraclitus was the first western philosopher I know of to talk about this (Change is the only constant).

  2. Chris

    A waste of time? If you live in a place where you are stuck in your house because of the winter, you need to do something to keep active.

  3. deirdrebeth

    Some beautiful work – I especially like the cathedral blueprint!

  4. Utakata

    Hey crop circles in snow! I wonder when those aliens would get around to using other mediums than some poor farmers’ wheat field out on the English countryside. >.>

  5. Now that’s a dedicated artist… Very original, too. Me gusta.

  6. Messier Tidy Upper

    Crop circles on ice. No aliens needed. ;-)

    Cheers.

    PS. Sorry BA but my inner pedant (well okay, my outer one too) can’t help but point out that “trods” really = ‘treads’ doesn’t it?

  7. The Blue Rider

    Neat!

    Phil, you should check out “Rivers and Tides”, a film about an artist named Andy Goldsworthy.

    I can’t remember what the exact scholastic term for this kind of art is; it’s “natural art”, I guess, using only found natural materials, and the end product is temporary by definition. Goldsworthy is probably the most famous producer of this kind of art, but obviously not the only one.

    I’m a draw-and-paint guy myself, but I think having an entire hillside as a “canvas” would leave me exhausted. I’m glad for Simon Beck’s existence. :)

  8. Lupine

    The more you look at it the cooler it gets.

  9. mike burkhart

    Looks like a game of Tetris to me . The game Tetris is highly addictave .

  10. Steve

    Any word on who does the aerial photography for him?

  11. Lenny V

    Not wanting to belittle this man’s effort (it’s clearly a stunning display of talent and persistence), but was this really more newsworthy than China just having successfully completed a manned rocket launch, carrying their first female astronaut into space?

    I guess one thing doesn’t have to exclude the other, and that the blurb about the Chinese launch is forthcoming. :)

  12. Pete Jackson

    Many small steps for a man, one giant inspiration for mankind!

  13. carbonUnit

    10. Steve: He says he uses Photoshop to simulate aerial viewpoints. Some of his pictures are also adjusted to better show contrast, etc.

    Amazing stuff! This has got to be harder than crop circles. One can generally walk through a field without leaving tracks. Not possible in snow. How does he do circles without being able to go to the center and plant a stake to hold a string??

  14. Mike

    Clearly aliens are responsible, no human could possibly have done that.
    ::nodding::

  15. VinceRN

    I think it is a testament to human creativity, and a colossal waste of time. But it’s his time to waste and it is kind of cool.

  16. Sunny D

    Sorry, this reminded me of crop circles, which reminded me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=5ZOomiQmO28

    I know I’m trolling, but I just couldn’t resist.

  17. kat wagner

    Totally out of this world. Does he wear snowshoes? Jus wunnering. For myself, the hike is to get as far away and as worn out as I can, then head home. For him, the Zen is creating these amazing patterns.

  18. ctj

    Lenny V@11, astronaut (er, taikonaut) launches are only newsworthy if they are carrying an inanimate carbon rod.

  19. beer case

    Simon Beck is clearly a Nazca descendant. And he’s obviously making a landing strip for UFOs.

    (UFOs with skis, in this case)

  20. Daniel J. Andrews

    …colossal waste of time…

    Creating something isn’t a waste of time. Was the Sistine Chapel a waste of time?

    He also gets exercise (lots of it apparently), is outdoors, enjoys what he’s doing, which sure beats being on a ski machine in the gym.

    I wonder how many people who say it is a waste of time sit on their rears watching many hours of tv every week while they work on deep vein thrombosis, narrowing arteries, and insulin resistance?

  21. Max

    It’s cool how you can still make out the topographic structures of the terrain underneath his footsteps.

    Oh, and Phil, that should be “treads on it”, not “trods on it”.

  22. Tom K

    “And the fact that these are ephemeral, literally blowing away in the wind within hours or days, makes them even cooler.”

    All artwork (and everything else) is ephemeral, it’s just a matter of time. Although I suppose if a work outlasts my lifetime, then as far as I’m concerned it’s “permanent”.

  23. mike burkhart

    I don’t think creating something is a waste of time visit any art museum , and see the workes of artists there paintings , sculptue , are wonderfull . Who has’nt read a good book seen a good movie or tv show or played a good videogame. All came from the creative minds of those who imangined and spent time creating them for many to enjoy. I’ll get a bit religous hear God spent 13 billon years creating the Universe who think the Universe was a waste of time.

  24. Tehanu

    I tread now, I trod (or “treaded”) yesterday, I was trodden upon…

    Won’t apologize for pedantry as using one’s own native language correctly ought to be more important than it seems to be to most.

  25. Ythaca

    Thanks Phil, I loved Simon’s photo’s and wouldn’t have seen them otherwise.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »