Beck hails from southern England, but lives in Savoie, France, during the ski season. He admits that his pieces inevitably draw a comparison to crop circles, the mysterious geometric designs cut into fields that first appeared in southern England in the 1970s. They were later determined to be a hoax.
However, Beck is quick to point out that he has never been involved in the creation of crop circles. Further, he does not condone this sort of activity without permission of the landowner, though he shared that he would like to do some farm art with “expressed permission.”
Here above we see another Les Arcs design in a photo that has been modified by Beck. He shrunk the horizontal dimensions, darkened the highlights, and increased the contrast and color saturation. It was taken on Christmas Day 2011.
Beck attended the University of Oxford and received a degree in engineering science. He started doing the designs “for a bit of fun” during the 2004 ski season, after purchasing a winter home at the Les Arcs Resort in Savoie, France.
What inspires Beck’s designs? They all come from the world of geometry, he says. Citing the Mandelbrot set, the Koch snowflake, and theSierpinski triangle as his three favorite designs, Beck notes that his pieces have grown more complicated as he has gotten better at doing them.
All photos courtesy of Simon Beck
Beck’s tsunami memorial design on the reservoir at Arc 2000 in Savoie, France was completed on March 11, 2012. This piece took around 10 to 15 hours to make, although Beck did not precisely time it. He dedicated this work to the many people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
“A lot of the inspiration for the snow art comes from the gardens in the temples in Kyoto, where sand is raked in patterns [like these],” he says. “This is the closest thing I have seen elsewhere to the effect I achieve with snow.”
The designs are a five-pointed version of the fractal “snowflake curve,” named by the mathematician Helge von Koch.