geometric shapes in snow :: snow art

Stunning geometric shapes appear in snow on frozen, isolated lakes

{by Allyssia Alleyne, for CNN, January 6, 2015}

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CNN – If you frequent the pistes of the French Alps, you may see more than just skiers and snowmen scattered around the trails below. For the last 10 years, British artist Simon Beck has been decorating snow-covered lakes and mountainsides with massive geometric designs, often based on fractal patterns, using his footsteps as his implement.

Beck’s snow drawings have attracted attention and opportunity beyond the Les Arcs ski resort in France where he got his start. This year alone, he’s delivered TED Talks in Austria and Cyprus, collaborated with New Zealand clothing brand Icebreaker on a series of garments, and has seen his international Facebook following grow to 280,000. Now he adds Snow Art, a book of over 200 photos he has taken of his work, to his list of accomplishments.

From engineering, to orienteering, to art

Beck’s journey to art was unconventional. He was working as an orienteering cartographer when he made his first snow drawing, and before that the Oxford graduate was an engineer. He created his first snow drawing, a star on a lake near his apartment at Les Arcs, to pass the time after a day of skiing in 2004.

“When I did my first drawing, I had no idea how good it was going to look,” he says. “It’s just so unusual and unique. No one else is doing anything like it.”

But it wasn’t until five years ago, when he recognized the toll that his frequent orienteering trips had taken on his feet, that he started to take his drawings seriously.

“I realized that it would probably be better to do something a bit easier than orienteering, and do something less painful,” he says. Snow drawing went from an occasional hobby to his primary form of exercise during the winter months.

One hundred and fifty snow drawings later, quite a few things have changed. Where he was once restricted to scouting locations and photographing his work from mountain tops and ski lifts, he can now afford to work out of an aircraft if he chooses; instead of winter boots, he now wears snowshoes. His work has gone from a fairly solitary pleasure to something enjoyed by thousands online.

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