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A Curious Outpost

Strava Art and The Nazca Lines

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Earth drawing has been around for thousands of years, long before the advent of workout trackers like Strava. To connect the past and present, it seemed appropriate to pay homage to the original Earth Drawing artists: The historic Nazca people of Peru, who drew mysterious single-line figurative pieces across the desert floor.  On this episode of BeCreativeNow, Strava Art and The Nazca Lines, I team up with Theo Ellsworth and set out on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to recreate the Nazca Hummingbird as a piece of Strava Art.

The Nazca People (that’s what we call them today, at least) lived in Peru over 2,000 years ago, in an arid environment that helped preserve a lot of their cultural artifacts and marks on the Earth.  While they left no written language explaining the images, which can only be seen from the air, one theory suggests that the drawings, which are composed of single, unbroken lines, may have been used as ceremonial paths to walk as some kind of meditation.  It’s possible that other cultures did similar art, but none is as well preserved as the Nazca Lines, thanks to the desert environment where they were made.

Before attempting something as major as a Nazca Line, I did a few practice rides on simple shapes like the Penrose Triangle and the Devil’s Tuning Fork.  Unlike the Nazca Lines, these impossible geometry rides required a little bit of doubling back and riding the same segment twice.

I’ve been obsessed with the Penrose Triangle for years, and drawing on the map it felt really powerful, as if I were opening some kind of impossible portal in the middle of the map area.  With this in mind, it seemed important to have a really good plan ready to follow for making the hummingbird.  I took some screenshots of different neighborhoods until I found one that I could fit the sketch into.  Once that was ready, Theo and I set out on an epic journey to draw our own Nazca Hummingbird, head first. 

If you’re into Strava Art, leave a comment with a link below to share your routes, or share whatever else you know about the Nazca People, the Nazca Lines, and Earth Drawing in general.  And don’t forget to sign up for the occasional creativity newsletter at the top of the page, or check back soon for more projects at BeCreativeNow.com.

The soundtrack for the Strava Art and The Nazca Lines video is the song Wildfire by Ariel Bui, a talented artist and music teacher in Nashville – check out more of her excellent sound at arielbui.bandcamp.com.

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Scott burkett
Scott burkett
July 14, 2020 07:56

Very cool! Now imagine the exhaustion quota of walking 17 miles versus riding. Imagine the barefoot through desert rock comparison. It reminds me of doing a Lakota Sweat. The discomfort is mind bending, and through the portal of pain the prayer is physically released. When the pilgrim lays back exhausted to dream, he is prepared at last to receive his vision. I love this modern model that allows such access to so ancient a ritual. Just watching you pedal through parking lots and allowing meditative transcendence. The whole idea is to lay a sacred path through the average surrounding. What… Read more »