Artist's Snow Drawings are Transient but Beautiful

steamboataerials via Flickr /CC BY 2.0

This may not be the time to be reading and writing about snow. Presumably by now everyone is sick and tired of the white stuff.

But not artist Sonja Hinrichsen. She has been coordinating small groups of people to help complete her snow drawings.

steamboataerials via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The work is meant to be temporary, reflecting her own feelings about material culture. As she says "I’m not so into making art that lasts. The world is saturated with man-made projects. I don’t think I need to add more things to the planet.”

And they are beautiful. A real improvement on the angels in the snow that we used to make. Especially when they are so pristine and untrampled by man and unsullied by dog poo.

steamboataerials via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

These photos are taken from a project that she did in Steamboat Colorado for a winter carnival. She enlisted the help of volunteers, but they had to have snowshoes to participate. She describes their role: volunteers will “be like a pen dancing across the stage, leaving a trace as it goes.”

Before she undertakes these works she works hard, mapping the land, hiking, taking notes and photos and learning about the local history.

It can be frustrating. She often hikes and marks the drawings herself. One time she spent ten freezing days making the drawings along rivers and up and down hills. They are exhausting, physically and mentally.

Overnight, a winter storm could roll in and the whole thing would disappear. She is philosophical. “Snow drawings last such a short time. It could be two to three hours, or two to three days,” she says. “They define the landscape and they are defined by it.”

steamboataerials via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

She has made them in upstate New York, Lake Tahoe, Colorado and New Mexico. From the sky they look like giant doodles. From the ground they look like perspective drawings. She documents them photographically and on video.

Originally she saw the snow drawings as a form of play and the first ones were inspired by animal tracks in the snow. Some from Colorado in 2009 are more linear, like snake trackings. Others are repetitive circles. She has to be careful to finish by sundown, otherwise it gets cold quickly and she can't see what she is doing. Luckily she likes places that are " a little difficult".

As for her spring plans... Well, there are these artistic and poetic labels which she hangs on fruit trees.

© Sonya Hinrichson Rabbit Ears

Hinrichson is trying to raise funds for a huge winter, 2013, project which will encompass three states. In Northwestern Coloardo she wants to cover an entire frozen lake with snow drawings. In southern Wyoming she wants to do snow drawings on a large prairie stretching across smooth hillsides near Saratoga Springs. You can help her by donating to her fundraising campaign.

Tags: Artists | Ecology | Sports

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