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Interview: Land Artist Walter Mason


Walter Mason of Germany considers himself a land artist but what exactly does that mean? A land artist is someone who uses nature as an art form, displaying materials like flowers, soil, snow, rocks in their natural habitat. Walter Mason's vision is particularly stunning. In fact, the photograph shown above has become a viral hit on Tumblr!

Similar to the work of legendary land artist Andy Goldsworthy, Mason's land art captures the beauty of different seasons. He splits his photographs into three different categories: Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer. Through his photos, Mason shows that each season has its own forms of natural beauty. Check out the photos, below, to see each of the three categories as well as an interview we conducted with Mason.

Fall

What inspired you to create "Land Art"?
The first time I ever created anything of this kind was in the middle of January, nine years ago. Snow had fallen in the night for maybe the first time that year, and when I left the house at about eight in the morning to take my boy Marin to his kindergarten, I had this unforgettable feeling leaving the house. It was like stepping onto a fresh new planet.

Because the winter had been a cold one, we were in the habit of taking a shortcut over the ice on the bay behind our house (we lived on a peninsula at the time). As we jumped down from the shore onto the ice, it struck me that the bollards on the abandoned wharf we were walking past would look good with giant snowballs on top, so instead of taking Marin to kindergarten, I rolled a nice big snowball, and lifted it onto the bollard. Needless to say, Marin was late to kindergarten that day. Later on in the evening, I went and borrowed a camera from a friend, and then took pictures the next morning when all the snow on the ground had melted and the only white things left were the snowballs.

It wasn't premeditated at all, it just kind of "happened."

Of course, I have also been influenced by certain artists. If I had never seen Andy Goldsworthy's work, I probably would never have gone off in this direction. His work, and the underlying philosophy behind what he does is fantastic, but I have never imitated his work, as some people who recently commented on PhotoJojo's or Kuriositas posts seem to think. I never balance stones. Never. Because I don't think it would be possible for me to create something that would not be too similar to Goldsworthy's work.

I used to paint, and the pictures I created were influenced by surrealism. For me, land art is similar to surrealism insofar as that it can change how we look at the world by questioning what we usually take for granted.


Nature plays a huge role in this series. How would you describe its importance in your set?
Like I mentioned above, I was living on a peninsula when I first started working in this medium, and although I didn't think about it at the time, water played a huge part in what I created. I worked off and on for well over a year, without being aware of the influence of water in my work and then, all of a sudden, I realized how omnipresent water had been, and I deliberately exploited the surface of the bay to create the dandelion explosion.

I think that, thanks to civilization's progress, nature can seen quite remote, and I think that most people miss it in some way, even if they don't realize it themselves. I certainly don't want to romanticize nature. Nature can do without us, but we cannot do without it.


What are the biggest differences you noticed regarding the changes in seasons?
Looking at a forest in winter, it's impossible to imagine how green it was in summer, and the whites and blues and grays and browns of winter are forgotten in may. I think seasons can help remind us how instable everything really is. That is something I would like to achieve with my pictures.


What's the one piece of advice that you'd share with aspiring artists/photographers?
“Nobody can teach what is inside a person; it has to be discovered for oneself and a way must be found to express it.” -Eduardo Chillida


What's next for you?
In about a month or two, I plan to launch a Kickstarter project in which backers can commission pieces from me.

Winter

Spring/Summer

Walter Mason's Flickr
via [Kuriositas]

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