Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowtrees

Central Park snowtree artists Brad Bateman, left, and Gann Brewer, show off mustachioed Lonesome Juan. Named for a real-life character who “appeared out of the fog in the mountains one day," says Bateman, the duo was en route to Nebaj, about 65 miles northwest of Guatemala City, to start an eight day hike in the Guatemalan highlands when they met Juan. "He was a legend, a phantom, a walking story."
by Susan Sawyers

Many New Yorkers encountered the usual hassles and travel difficulties when a foot of fresh snow pelted the city this past Thursday. Not Brad Bateman, the 31-year old real estate agent and artist who headed straight to Snowtree Alley, the name he gave to the Central Park path that stretches north of the Delacorte Theater to the Pinetum (pin-EAT-um), east of the Winterdale Arch and west of Great Lawn. For the second winter in a row, he made Snowtree Alley come alive by creating “snow tree” art with the help of a few friends and inspired strangers. To shape the eyes, mouths and mustaches, Batemen and his friends warm the snow in their hands and stick it to the tree bark.

Snowtree Alley debuted last year. “I was walking through the park and I saw a tree that had a personality,” said Bateman. “I made a snow face, called my friend Gann Brewer [to join me] and we spent several hours making ephemeral art.”
Snowtree Alley in Central Park.
A big toothy Snowtree grin.
Bearded snowtree.
In this year of record snow, Bateman’s works is bringing smiles to people and trees alike.

“Snow can be so difficult to deal with in New York City,” said Susanna Weiss. “All those slush bowls at every intersection, but this celebrates the snow, the trees, the park. It's grown-ups having fun like kids.”

She’s right. Bateman has been making snowtrees since he was a little boy growing up in Long Island. “There were a few old locust and oak trees that had a lot of character in my backyard. They kind of called out to me, so I made them a little more alive,” he said.
Bearded Butterfly.
Bespectacled and mustaschioed snowtrees.
“It's almost as if you are walking through a magic forest,” said Sam Prangley who was accompanied by her snow white shih tzu named Marshmallow.

But like most magic, it’s fleeting. The snow melts, the art is gone. “The lasting impact is the smiles,” said Bateman. “Everyone can participate. And smile.”

For many of us, quirky encounters like this are exactly why we live in this city of 8.4 million. It’s about “being a part of a community of people I love and people I kind of know but see every day,” said Bateman. “Doormen. Neighbors. Friends. Strangers who I see once week. Once a month. Once a life.”
Oh No Snowtree.
Sad snowtree.
Smiling Snowtree.
Snowtree girl. Hat tip to Snowtree Alley.
Snowtree in need of dental work.
Snowtree dragon. Snowtree sporting a collar.
Snowtree kitty spots a canine friend or foe.
Snowtree smile.
Snowtree with braces.
Snowtrees serious smile.
Splattered snowtree, oops.
Treehugger.
This snowtree has glasses.
SpongeBob SnowPants SnowTree.
Snowtree scowl and Snowbunny tree or is it a snowtree bunny?
Snowtrees smile and surprise.
Lumberjack snowtree.
A snowtree cyclops or does this snowtree have a mind's eye? Go figure.
Snowtree bird or snowtree angel.
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