Recall the ancient giant line artworks, called the Nazca Lines, drawn in the Peruvian desert that are so large they can only be fully seen from the sky. One really wonders how the ancient people achieved this feat. Well, Simon Beck, who draws gigantic patterns on the vast expanses of snow, does give us an idea of how this could’ve been achieved.
Although the size of the enormous animals of the Nazca Lines reaches an astounding 270 meters (890 feet) across, Beck’s renderings are not as big. His patterns are mostly inspired by the complex hexagonal structure of an ice crystal. He began realizing his passion for gigantic art when he was only 14! Just imagine a teenager trudging in snowshoe on large expanses of untouched snow, creating his awe-inspiring works.
Speaking to artsy, this 60-year-old snow artist explains why he replicates the ice crystals, “I always liked geometric designs. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been drawing geometric designs.” On asking “Why do you like Geometric patterns so much?” Simon explains “well they are quicker to make”, “also feedback from fans has been that I should on what I do best,” Simon Told AwesomeByte.
Beck was born in London, UK and studied engineering at Oxford. Although he became a professional cartographer that satiated his wanderlust and spirit of adventure, his mind was not into it. His passion for recreating mammoth complex snowflake crystal patterns on vast expanses was what really gave him a high. And that’s what he ultimately pursued.
Creating such massive patterns is certainly not easy and needs meticulous planning. Beck first draws the pattern on paper and then ventures into the snow to take precise measurements with the help of a prismatic compass and pace-counting. This takes him around two hours.
After this, Beck spends around four hours plotting the points and chart lines, and add shading with snowshoe tracks. He finally concludes his drawing on the ground with a border of ‘frilly’ fractals. This takes another six hours. He devotes around 12 hours a day to complete his work and comes back the next day to give it minor touches and take photographs. Sadly, despite his back-breaking endeavors, his patterns are not etched on the Earth for posterity. Rather the longevity of his creations is dictated by the texture and density of the snow, sun’s location, and cloudy skies.
Beck’s unique work has been hailed around the world. A short film in Norway, based on his works, was selected for National Geographic’s short film showcase. Icebreaker, a New Zealand company, and Corona beer also commissioned his artwork in the Argentinian Andes. His artworks can also be seen on the sand.