English artist trudges over miles of snow to create temporary masterpieces.
If you were raised in a colder climate you spent some childhood time on your back in a snowdrift, fanning your arms into a beautiful snow angel. If you were a coastal kid you had a similar experience on the beach building sand castles that, as Jimi Hendrix said, would “fall in the sea, eventually.”
Since 2004 an Englishman with an apartment at a French ski resort has taken that small concept and scaled it to dimensions that can only be photographed from an airplane. During a break from skiing one afternoon, Beck stomped out his first design, and his work has grown more intricate and complex in the decade since.
Beck spends an average of ten hours snowshoeing his way over a frozen lake to create each of his temporary designs. Why does he do it? He states on his Facebook page:
I am… interested in what people say on Facebook, most of the skiers think I am a bit mad, and it’s a waste of good skiing time (I agree, hence the preference for working at night) but I hope to spread the message the mountains and snow are beautiful and worth preserving, and there are better things in life than spending so much time doing things you don’t want to so that you can spend money you haven’t got (yet) to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.
For those familiar with Buddhism, Beck’s work (and his philosophy) are reminiscent of the intricate sand mandalas painstakingly constructed by monks, then destroyed as a metaphor for the impermanence of all things, including life.
Regardless, I find them truly inspiring. I think I’ll go put on some Hendrix and build a sand castle.
– photo courtesy Simon Beck’s Snow Art Facebook Page