Some artists create masterpieces on traditional materials like cloth canvases. Others prefer to work in installation, forming abstract works that take up entire rooms or even protrude into public space. And if you’re Shelley Jackson, you’ll create stories and works of art on canvasses made from dolls, or skin, or even snow.
Simply, and aptly titled, “Snow” is one of Shelley Jackson’s latest projects, and it’s treating New Yorkers to a whimsical story that continues to unfold after each snowfall. Brooklyn-based Jackson first started inscribing words into New York City’s many snowy surfaces earlier this winter, much to the delight and confusion of locals. Solitary words began cropping up in various parts of the city after each snowstorm, which if you’ve been watching the weather, have been more than abundant this season. While Jackson’s snowy etchings appear vague and arbitrary, when strung alongside each other they actually form an ongoing story, which you can follow on the project’s Instagram account.
“Snow” is a story conceived by Jackson, and will continue to unfold, weather permitting. The weather has been quite permitting so far this winter, and while many east coasters are tiring of the enduring cold, Jackson is using it to help passersby perceive their environment in a different way. She says that the goal of “Snow” is “to remind readers of a printed text, so that for a moment the snow becomes a page and the letters, ink on paper.”
Here is some of what Jackson has inscribed in the NYC snowfall thus far:
“To approach snow too closely is to forget what it is,” said the girl who cried snowflakes. “Through a microscope one discovers that there are many kinds of snow: those made up of tiny paintings of shipwrecks in the style of Bonaventura Peeters. those made up of miniature bowls of wax fruit. very beautifully and realistically formed, except for the size: those made up of the fingernail clippings of babies; and those made up of the trimmed and tattooed scalps of shrews, used as money by certain native peoples of the southern Urals. There are snows made of clock faces and circular slide rules, of maps to undiscovered countries, of the shattered breath clouds of those who have cried out for help unheard on a clear winter day…
What’s most incredible about this unfolding story is the fact that Jackson has created it word by word – 221 words to be exact – all by engraving her beautiful font into the snow. That’s a lot of work for a story that is as physically fleeting as New England weather. Learn more about Shelley Jackson’s imaginative, remarkable artwork on her website.
Images: snowshelleyjackson via Instagram