simon beck’s snow art + dworski on why we improvise

Simon Beck

Simon Beck

As a spring snow storm sweeps through the midwest, it seems fitting to post these wondrous snow paintings by artist Simon Beck along the frozen lakes of Savoie, France. He creates the beautiful geometric patterns, some as large as 3 soccer fields, by plodding through the snow in snowshoes for hours at a time. How long the transient artworks last depends on the weather, although Beck often redesigns patterns as new snow falls; sometimes a work will go unfinished. Beck’s motivation seems entirely improvisational:

The main reason for making them was because I can no longer run properly due to problems with my feet, so plodding about on level snow is the least painful way of getting exercise. Gradually, the reason has become photographing them…

Simon Beck

Simon Beck

We learned about Beck’s work from graphic designer and Renaissance woman Susan Dworski who, once we figure out how to describe her many talents, will be on our masthead as a regular contributor. Her eloquent writing about improvisation strikes us as the perfect accompaniment to Becks’ work, which uses Nature as his material.

It strikes me that improvisation is at the heart of how civilization advances…

Be it a chimp figuring out how to suck ants from a log using a hollow reed, or the guy who invented velcro studying prickleburrs while out walking in the woods, or seeing how to use shipping pallets, felled trees, or stacked cardboard to make urban furniture.  What we observe in nature and then put to practical use bumps us forward – or sideways – re-jiggering our physical world, shaking up our aesthetics, allowing us to live more efficiently, and – the best outcome of all – freeing us to attend to our inner, invisible, spiritual selves, allowing us space and time to daydream and imagine, spinning the wheel of invention, repeating the playful, improvisational cycle ad infinitum…

Simon Beck

Simon Beck

…Our brains thrive on surprise, innovation, and delight. When we poke and tickle the cells and neurons with these, improvisational solutions pour out.

snow art Simon Beck 4


Check out more pictures of Beck’s snow painting’s at My Modern Met; find Simon Beck on Facebook


Thanks Susan!


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