Everything started with a simple star. It had just stopped snowing and the little frozen lake was covered with white untouched snow. This was a huge temptation to Simon Beck and he couldn’t resist: he made a drawing of a star on the surface of the frozen lake. When he saw the drawing the next day from the nearby chair lift, the result looked so impressive that he had to proceed with it. He could not get “Snow Art” out of his head.
Today, ten years later, his drawings are a great deal bigger and much more complicated and Simon Beck is honoured all over the world for his impressive snow creations. Equipped with snow shoes, an orienteering compass and a measuring tape, he regularly strolls through the French ski area Les Arcs and creates spectacular and fascinating snow drawings.
So far, he has made more than 175 drawings. Most of them are three times the size of a soccer field and it takes up to twelve hours to finish the drawings. Sometimes he even tramps through the snow at night, wearing a headlamp. The former mapmaker walks about 20 to 30 kilometres when making a drawing. “Good exercise. My feet hurt and hiking in snow shoes is the least painful way to exercise,” he says laughing. The record for size so far is ten soccer fields.
When starting a new art work, he always begins with a detailed plan. He has to plot a number of key points and then draws the lines. “The first stage is a careful and tedious process that requires care both to keep things accurate and avoid unnecessary mistakes. Once this is complete I can relax and put on the personal stereo and then I enjoy walking the lines a second time and filling in the shaded areas.” It is a race against time. Not only because of the cold, but also due to the his greatest enemies: snow groomers, skiers and the weather. The drawings last until the next big snowfall. But it does not bother Simon that his art is short-lived as long as he gets good photos.
Simon never settled into office jobs and the fifty-six-year-old Briton enjoys his artistic and sporty work and the loneliness of the French Alps. “Right now I feel it is a great chance to make something of my life (it has been something of a failure) and I intend to do as much as I can before I get too old and knackered.”
And what does a snow artist in the summer when there is no snow? “In the future I plan to spend July and August skiing and making snow drawings in ski resorts in the Southern hemisphere, otherwise hiking in the mountains, mainly Europe. Though it might immediately suggest itself: I don‘t like crop circles.”
SIMON BECK “SNOW ART”
At the beginning of November 2014 the book “Snow Art”, including the most beautiful snow drawings made by Simon Beck, was published. The book has 168 pages and can be ordered at the price of 35 Euros via the website http://snowart.gallery