December 13 – Anniversary of the Invention of Simon Beck's Snow Art

Posted on December 13, 2016

You see, there's this guy who runs and walks across fresh snow in snowshoes, creating mathematically-precise drawings in the snow. 

Each gorgeous piece of landscape art takes hours – sometimes as much as 11 hours! – to create...and each piece is ephemeral. That is, his artwork is “short lived.” Obviously, wind, more snowfall, rain, and sun can and does ruin his art pieces...

Just as obviously, his artwork can and does live on in photography and videos.

This guy” is named Simon Beck. He creates his artwork mostly in the Alps, about 30 pieces per winter. He started doing it for fun, and his main jobs were orienteering and mapmaking, but now creating snow art is his main occupation.

Making precise mathematical designs in the snow is incredibly difficult. I mean, it seems so easy – you put on snowshoes and walk or run on the path, right? But how do you keep straight lines straight or curves smooth or angles correct? Beck only uses a compass and counts paces. I'm...bewildered and in awe about how he manages to do so much, with so little!

Another reason creating the snow art is challenging is that Beck cannot start in the middle (he'd have to be magically poofed into the center of the field of virgin snow), and he cannot get from one spot to another, unconnected spot (more magical poofs would be required). He has to plan ahead how to start on one edge of his planned design and somehow create it all in a connected way! Um....

Um... Okay, I think he probably really DOES use magic!

Anyway, enjoy!

This close-up photo shows how deep some of Beck's lines are.

Can you imagine accidentally running into one of Beck's pieces? 

Even in the springtime, Beck's melting art looks lovely and magical. 

Sometimes Beck does less mathematical art and more representational art.


By the way, Simon Beck has also learned to make his mathematical art pieces in sand. And he's create a book of his snow art photos, and he's inspired a line of clothing with mathematical designs, and and and...

Also on this date:

Anniversary of Tasman's “discovery” of New Zealand

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