Why does an artist create something? Why does a painter put brush to canvas, or a writer put pen to paper? Is it to merely express themselves, or to make something that can be shared and appreciated by others? Or is it to create something that will outlast themselves, a record of their time here on earth, and the person they were?
It’s hard not to think about the nature of creation after watching this mini documentary about artist Simon Beck, whose chosen medium isn’t paint, or marble, or music, or the written word, but who instead works in the fleeting canvas of fallen snow. (You can really start to watch him get to work around the three-minute mark.)
This gorgeous video was shared by National Geographic, and it comes from Flash Studio, who followed Beck as he worked on one of his patterned art pieces in the mountains of beautiful Stryn, Norway. “Inspiration is what comes before motivation,” Beck said, describing how he finds patterns in the world that then drive him to create his large, and temporary, works.
Unlike a normal artist who can step back and look at his creation while making it, Beck isn’t totally sure what he has made until he has finished and walked away to view it the way any spectator would, from afar. His walk through the snow results in elegant and moving pieces.
Which will last a couple of days if he is lucky.
So why apply your skills and time to creating something that is truly beautiful, but in a form that is as fleeting as a short rainfall?
For the same reason you wouldn’t ask why someone would sit and watch a sunset. Simon Beck might make art that isn’t mean to last, but he creates something beautiful, something bigger than himself, something that makes the world a better place, even for a short time, for having had it.
What better reason could one have for creating anything at all?
What do you think of his work? Why do you think he has chosen such an unusual medium to express himself? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
Images: National Geographic/Flash Studio