Snow Graffiti

  • October 22, 2016

Found weather, the anthropocene, and snow graffiti

The 75′ long ‘drift graffiti’ earthwork project in the below image evolved from earlier experiments using found weather and ash (next images), and is a precursor to an even larger planned 10,000 sq. ft outdoor version on ice (bottom image).

snowSteppa 12 x 75' on snow
Drifted, shifted, glitched painting on snow, 75′ x 20′

The first ash works (below, and here) came from thinking about the anthropocene age — do we have any right to impose on nature — battling with the aritst’s desire to fill that enormous white canvas of flat snow out there on the iced-over lake. (Winter at the cottage often results in physically-intense action pieces — exercise-art? — big drawalkings and so on.)

ash snow lake
Weatherwerk 1. 25′ x 20′.  A lightingbolt of snow.

The only way to responsibly do it would be to use natural substances, so I recycled ash from the fireplace for my medium. I often mashup eras, conflating the past with the future, and wondered if a 21st century digital aesthetic could be applied to an earthwork (which, have been done for millennia, from mounds to Nazca lines). Using found materials — another habit– like cardboard, a tablecloth, and found flora, I worked with the weather over a few days to complete some pieces. (Which disappeared again in as many days when the wind Rauschenberged my de Kooning.)

Snow Collage B 2017

Snow Collage 2017

Later I wondered if the ash weatherwerks — especially the drift effect — could be translated into paintings. So I next laid out huge canvases on the snow, and in inclement-weather created full-spectrum cyanotypes, using wind, found flora, and the shape of the ground… but I also ramped up the collage/digital glitch aesthetic. (That ongoing series is here, and with smaller works on paper here.)

tightSTEPPA (shift / drift series)
tightSTEPPA, 84 x 60″, acrylic on canvas

Those paintings led to bringing those colors outside for the above 75′ work, and the reverse: bringing the drifted glitched ash-on-snow works inside for an analog/digital institutional installation. (This ideas is still developing, and will likely use sand or sugar, that is, a substrate still composed of discrete ‘bits’, like how snowflakes are pixels for snow. See second last image below).

digital ash outdoors
75′ ash on snow work. Snowburn.

digital ash inside
Drifted-ash on white sand/sugar gallery installation, as analog/digital conflation (proposed)

everyone a fontana
Ice rink color-drift painting; everyone becomes a Lucio Fontana (proposed)


The snow graffiti used acrylic spray and was remediated (shoveled, melted, detritus discarded). Future iterations would use organic based materials (food coloring).

Earth mounds link.

Nazca lines link