We've all, at one time or another, made a snowman or a 'snow angel', after a fresh snowfall. But Simon Beck has taken this practice to a whole new level. When he left his office job to follow his passion for art, Beck decided to combine his artistic passion with his love of the outdoors. Now, he is a professional 'snow artist'. That is to say, he uses snow as his paint, and the landscape as his canvas.
“The surprise was, nobody had done it before. I was amazed when I found that out on the internet, and when I realized it really was worth taking seriously,” he said, of his decision to pursue snow art as a career.
In The Beginning
After studying civil engineering at Oxford University, Beck became a cartographer, but always had a passion for drawing, and drawing geometric shapes in particular. One day, after finishing a few ski runs, he decided to do a drawing in the snow.
When he first started doing his snow art in 2009, it was just for the exercise and sheer fun of doing it. But he soon realized that he could actually make his living as a professional 'snow artist'.
His art has since become a global sensation. Beck has completed his snow art installations at Banff National Park, at Summit Powder Mountain in Utah, and at 'The Great Northern' winter festival in Minnesota, to name a few.
Beck says he begins his drawings by starting in the middle, as he moves outward, adding that every line he draws on paper is one line he has to walk. It's imperative, of course, that there be no extraneous footprints that will clutter up his design.
He meticulously steps his way through the snow, using only snowshoes and a ski pole for measurement. At first, he used nothing else but the image of a design concept in his head. But as his designs became more complex, Beck began to work out his drawings first on paper.
His drawings are often intricate mathematical shapes, such as the one you see here. The first stage generally consists of careful measuring by compass bearings. He determines the distances simply by counting paces. This first stage might take a couple of hours. After the primary straight lines and curves are made, he adds his secondary lines.
For the final stage of the process, he shades areas of the design by walking back and forth. This part of the procedure can often take up to five hours. His drawings, all accomplished in one day, can take a 12-hour day to complete.
Beck's 'Maserati' Emblem in Snow
This video of a Maserati emblem, showing the astonishing precision of his work, went viral.
Like Simon Beck, I deeply enjoy the wondrous beauty of nature. I derive enormous pleasure from my hiking and mountain climbing trips, and I'm always endeavoring to capture some of that same inspiration in my work.