Using a wide variety of canvases including railroad blueprints, star charts, geological and street maps, Welsh artist Ed Fairburn (previously here and here) uses additive and subtractive techniques to create portraits that seem pefectly integrated with the topography of streets, mountains and rivers. It’s been almost a year since we last checked in with Fairburn whose process and approach to creating these stunning portraits continues to evolve. One of his most striking methods is to carefully follow map contours with a pen creating rows of lines that vary by width to create individual forms and shadows. The final portraits are so entwined with the map, it becomes hard to imagine one existing without the other.
Think about it, when was the last time you asked for directions? Or even used a paper map? Armed with smart phones and fancy GPS apps that map the route to your destination in milliseconds, asking a random person for directions is an increasingly rare occurrence. New York conceptual artist Nobutaka Aozaki is exploring the act of asking for directions in his ongoing art piece, Here to There, by gathering a collection of impromptu hand-drawn maps he obtains from complete strangers. Dressed as a tourist in a souvenir baseball cap and carrying a Century 21 shopping bag, the artist hits the streets around Manhattan and approaches random pedestrians to inquire about directions through the current part of the map he’s working on.
One of the most common scenarios when asking strangers for directions is their habit of pulling out a smart phone to start typing in an address, after which he insists on leaving with a drawn map on whatever written surface is available: torn sheets of notebook paper, napkins, or even paper plates. Aozaki tells Spoon & Tamago that his goal is not to make a complete map, but to instead document his daily routine and his myriad interactions with people, sort of like a mapped diary. (via Spoon & Tamago)
Here & There are a fascinating set of prints from London-based design firm BERG that depict speculative projections of Manhattan by completely removing the horizon and skewing the entire urban landscape upward. These particular views are of uptown from 3rd and 7th street, and downtown from 3rd and 35th street. Last year the prints found their way into MOMA’s permanent collection, and have just been reprinted using offset litho on 170 gsm paper from sustainable sources. Pick ’em up now, shipping starts tomorrow.
Update: Because people are asking, these were designed a year or two before Inception. Just sayin’.
U.S.A. (burnt/unburnt) is a 2011 installation by Paris-based artist Claire Fontaine (previously) constructed from thousands of green matches that were inserted into a wall at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art as part art of “Evidence of Bricks” at the 2011 Time-Based Art Festival. Fontaine has made somewhat of a name for herself with her match installations and flaming geography, most recently completing a similar U.S.A. map at Queens Nails Gallery in San Francisco. Unlike the installation in Portland above, the Queens Nails artwork was actually set on fire, and while it may not have gone exactly as intended, the final post-flame artwork is impressive nonetheless. Photographs above for PICA by Dan Kvitka.
Update: Hyperallergic has the scoop in the latest US Map fire.
Launched less than a month ago, Below the Boat makes gorgeous bathymetric charts (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map) using laser-cut layers of Baltic birch that are then carefully glued together to create what you see here. They have over two dozens charts currently available organized by East Coast, West Coast, and Interior Lakes. (via gessato)