Artist Simon Beck's giant Somerset beach art

image source, Simon Beck

Over the summer a giant crop-circle, a huge Yoda and a 200m (656 ft) memorial to John Lennon have all appeared on a Somerset beach. Each has lasted for just hours before being washed away by the tide. So why make them?

The sand art, some the size of two football pitches, has been created by renowned snow artist Simon Beck.

"It's a race against the tide, it's nine hours of furious work," says the artist who is best known for making huge geometric snow designs in the Alps with his feet.

"But at least your hands and feet aren't cold."

Using just a rake and a compass, Beck, from Bracknell, in Berkshire, has crafted more than 28 massive intricate patterns on the sands at Brean since April.

image source, Simon Beck
image source, Simon Beck
image source, Simon Beck

To plot his intricate paths, he first plans out his patterns on graph paper before getting on to the beach at Brean at high tide.

"The first stage is a lot of measuring, pacing things out which takes about three hours," he said.

"I use an ordinary rake with a bit of wood tied on the handle to make it heavier.

"As soon as the sand is visible, I start at the top edge of the drawing and by that time the sea's gone out and I can get to the middle."

Simon Beck at work

With just nine hours to complete the piece before it's washed away by the tide, there is very little room for error.

"You can rub things out but there's a time penalty," he said.

"In one I've written 'oops' because I drew a circle in the wrong place and I had to get water to rub it out.

"And if it rains the whole picture disappears."

Walking an estimated 12 miles to complete each work, the drawings are so large Mr Beck said beach-goers often walk across his drawings without realising they are there.

"I'm definitely a big is beautiful man - the bigger the better," he said.

"I'd like to get 1,000 people together and create a two square mile drawing but I've no idea where."

image source, Simon Beck
image source, Simon Beck
image source, Simon Beck
image source, Simon Beck

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