Minnesota-based graphic designer Paul Johnson has long been fascinated with creating art in the dirt, so to speak, every since drawing in sand with a stick at the beach for hours on end as a child. In college he soon learned of several modern artists working at the intersection of land science and art such as Robert Smithson, Andy Goldsworthy and Jim Denevan. In his Earthworks in Motion series Johnson utilizes some of the same patterns and general ideas from these artists but sets them in motion using meticulous stop motion animation techniques.
Filmed in various nature preserves, parks, and wildlife refuges around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, each animation involves the careful placement of sticks, snow, ice, light, and rocks to create moving geometric formations. We’ve seen a number of animated land art pieces here on Colossal, but Johnson’s precision and ingenuity really set these apart. Watch the video above or see new clips as he creates them on Instagram. (viaColossal Submissions)