Landscape Art: Stan Herd

If you're flying through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this fall, keep an eye out for Vincent van Gogh's "Olive Trees" from your airplane window. It won't be hard to miss - this aerial crop art covers more than an acre of land.



Van Gogh painted "Olive Trees" in 1889. It was one of many paintings he created featuring olive trees as a subject; he painted 15 alone between June and December of 1889. The one seen on the field is part of the collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota.


The unique ode to van Gogh is the work of landscape artist Stan Herd.  It was commissioned to honor two milestones: the Minneapolis Institute of Art's centennial and the 125th anniversary of van Gogh's death. "It's an iteration of van Gogh's painting writ large in native plants and materials."


It took Herd six months of digging and planting to recreate van Gogh's 1889 painting, which is currently on display at the MIA. To mimic the artist's iconic brushwork, Herd grew patches of pumpkins, squash, watermelons and cantaloupes while arranging mulch, rocks and soil to create darker lines.


Herd first started making crop art, which he calls "earthworks," in 1981. His first project was a 160-acre portrait of the Kiowa chief Satanta and in the decades since, he has created dozens of larger-than-life pieces around the world.

Though "Olive Trees" will be on display through the fall, Herd plans to mow it down in concentric circles to mimic van Gogh's brushstrokes.

Olive Trees Flyover

Stan Herd Carves Earth's Largest Billboards

Da Vinci's Dream of Flight


Want More Earthworks?

Obama Crop Art

Ibn Battuta


Stan Herd:  Man of the Land

Watch the Earthworks documentary: