About Me

comma, personally

I'm from Chicago and like many others I now live in London. I've lived, worked, or traveled to as many places as possible in the past decade and the maps I create are one way I have of returning to that landscape.

Maps are not uniform and operate by different rules, if at all. A bathymetric map is not a street map which is not in its turn a map of rainfall, though they may all encapsulate the same space. There are maps of the body, of electrical systems, and of fictitious continents. Some are practical, some are rigid, and some just help you get around. I expect you'll find several of them here.

Visually arresting, full of history, and always incomplete, each map is a paper thin slice of a place; a way to walk the avenues of memory and imagination.

history & process

When I created my first map cut I was ridiculously proud of myself. It took a long time and lots of practice but it came out beautifully. I showed a picture of it to several friends who asked me to make various versions of other cities for them to give as gifts. I've slowly experimented with different styles and shapes to convey different aspects of the geographical landscape. The character of a city inheres in its roads and spaces, the way it is maintained or rebuilt by the people who give it shape are in turn shaped by it. A map can highlight or hide these things. The best part of giving a map is waiting for someone to figure our why they know this collection of squiggly lines and then see the excitement as they remember the many steps they've taken there.  

I've started working with new types of maps in paper, like bathymetric or deep sea maps, when I wanted a visually arresting way to represent a place very dear to me, New Zealand. Street maps are only one type of map and a map always has boundaries in both the physical and constructive senses. I choose to show only these streets, but the fact that I've chosen streets rather than topography defines this as a particular type of map.

Each map is designed by hand but this process creates a type of flexible template that allows me to recreate much of the same map again. Every map is cut out of high quality paper using an exacto knife, a cutting tool, the computer and a variety of great open source software (e.g. paint.net, inkscape, gimp, to mention a few). 

A note on visual perception:

I like backing my maps with different cardstock. I often back my maps in black, but the effect of a black backing with white grid lines on top of it is a perceptual illusion (the Hermann Grid Illusion) where you see little black circles at all the intersections of the white lines. To reduce this I tend to back the maps more frequently in navy, which is so dark it is masquerading as black, but reduces this effect.