Powder Opus: Snow Artist Simon Beck

British artist Simon Beck walks through fresh snow to make his masterpieces. His snowshoes are his paintbrush, and powder – mostly in the French and Swiss Alps – serves as both paint and canvas. Armed with a compass, he spends about 10 hours on average to complete a work, and guesses that he’s walked almost 50km to complete some of them.

“Most of the time I travel round the Alps and hike up mountains, aiming to be on the summit at sunset for good photos…Often I am copying designs I have found, like crop circles or well-known mathematical figures,” said Beck in an interview with the Daily Mail.

 

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Photo via Daily Mail.

Today, outdoor clothing company Icebreaker launches its ‘The Art Of Nature’ Simon Beck Collection. This collaboration is the first in Icebreaker’s ongoing global series with artists who respect and work in nature. Simon’s gigantic, awe-inspiring snow (and sand) drawings have been captured as designs on Icebreaker merino wool in a men’s and women’s collection for Fall/Winter 2014. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will support Icebreaker’s donation to Protect Our Winters, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to fighting climate change.

“In New Zealand we live with the reality of man’s impact on the environment – and the ozone hole that sits directly above us in summer is a direct result of man’s impact on the environment and a sign of what lies ahead for humanity,” says Jeremy Moon, Founder and Creative Director of Icebreaker. “It’s my belief that as a global community we can only tackle climate change if we are prepared to set aside our differences and work across borders. We were inspired to work with Simon because his sand and snow drawings leave no lasting impact on the environment. And a British artist drawing a Merino sheep horn in the Alps of Switzerland was the perfect metaphor to convey my belief that to tackle climate change we must work across borders in a true collaboration to fight for the future of the planet.”

Photo courtesy Icebreaker.
Photo courtesy Icebreaker.

The centerpiece design is an Icebreaker-inspired Merino ram’s horn, originally created on snow at Bachalpsee Lake in the Swiss Alps. Icebreaker captured Simon’s process of creating the meticulously patterned tracks, each step perfectly placed and made using an orienteering compass and distance and pace counting. (See video above.) The twenty-piece base and first layer collection also features Simon’s other works, including festive snowflakes, three-dimensional squares, starbursts and spirograph designs.

Photo courtesy Icebreaker.
Photo courtesy Icebreaker.

“Simon’s art symbolizes our struggle against climate change: like our warming winters, his installations last only a short time and must be appreciated by people that truly understand their beauty and importance,” says Chris Steinkamp, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters. “Icebreaker is one of the many outdoor companies answering our call to action and we are grateful for the partnership. It’s time for everyone to take responsibility for saving a season that fuels our passions and is the foundation of livelihoods, our jobs and the economic vitality of our mountains.”

“I love creating art, engraving it into nature and sharing it with people,” said Simon Beck. “Some people see me as a high-performance, high-precision snow artist. It’s a great way to exercise in the mountains and snow, and I can share my creations through photographs with people around the world.”

More about Simon Beck and Icebreaker’s new collection here.

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