Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Maps everywhere

Since I have been doing a map a day as my art project for 2018, I'm on the lookout for ideas that I can try out.  So I was intrigued to come across three different artists in the last couple of weeks who have used maps in their work.

Stacy McKnight Maney, At Home

She pasted a map onto a wood panel, covered it with semi-opaque paint, then added the big at sign as a gel transfer over the top.  What's not to love -- wood panel, map, typographical character!

Kristina Arnold, Specimen Series: Meles meles

Bottom layer: a topographical map of Wyoming.  Middle layer: a drawing of the jawbone of a badger (Meles meles) that Kristina found while walking in the woods in England.  Top layer: a map of the English town where she was living at the time, including the route she took when she found the bone, drawn on vellum.

I liked the translucency of the vellum, and especially the concept of layered maps of different scales, different mediums, different colors and different places.

Kayla Bischoff, Synapse Map 3

Again, a wood panel, papered with bits of maps -- all cut from the Rand McNally Road Atlas, but from different states and places.  Top layer: a network connecting nodes of brain activity or maybe other neuron bundles, its map-like qualities echoing the underlying road maps.

It's true that once you start looking for something, you're likely to find it everywhere.  Since I've been watching for maps, I'm seeing them!  I'm not one to steal visual images but I am happy to try on other people's concepts for size.  I'm intrigued by the layered maps, by the small map sections abutting one another, by the overlay of (other) symbols on top of the total-symbol map.  I had already started exploring some of these concepts before I saw the other people's artwork, but maybe I'll add some borrowed ingredients to my daily art going forward.  I'll show you what I come up with!


  1. I covered maps with clear acrylic gel (matte) and when dry I cut and used the maps as "fabric" in pieced work. I have one on my kitchen wall and love it's mysterious atmosphere.

  2. I am just curious about the copyright issue on maps -would there be one on using maps in an art piece? Thanks. Love your work BTW.

    1. You and everybody else are curious about copyright issues. I have read a lot about copyright and listened to intellectual property attorneys talk about it, and the answer is -- you never know what a court might rule if a case ever gets that far. Anybody can sue anybody for any reason under the sun in the US, and copyright law is particularly murky. So you won't find an easy answer from me, and probably not from an attorney either. Sorry!

    2. Thanks Kathy - just as I thought. Been reading a lot about it and it's all clear as mud! Mary Ann