Forget acrylics, oils, and watercolours; some of the most breathtaking art around is made out of one of nature’s most temporary mediums: snow. Simon Beck, the world’s leading snow artist, spends days creating massive snow “paintings” using only a compass, a pair of snow shoes, and a level of fortitude that few of us could match. His latest stunning work, created for the film Drakony in Yakutsk, Siberia, is of a giant dragon taking flight.
To create the artworks, Beck starts with a geometric image on paper, often created by someone else, and uses that to understand the best way to recreate the image in the snow. When he gets to the site, he uses nothing more than a compass, snowshoes – and sometimes a piece of string and a measuring tape – to create outlines of the image which he then fills in slowly step by step. A really good design takes around 10 hours in the snow, which means, if he’s not too tired, Beck sometimes works into the night.
Much like crop circles, snow art is less impressive up close. But an aerial view or Beck’s creations reveals spectacular geometric shapes, which are only enhanced by the idea of the work that goes into creating it.
Beck’s first piece of snow art was just an excuse for a little exercise, but after a slow start and even a run-in with the police, he decided to take it more seriously.
He had been an orienteering map maker, but could no longer make a living from it because of issues with his feet, so instead, he decided to create his snow art and take digital pictures of it with the idea of selling the photos.