On a platform filled with glamorous travel images from across the globe, Australian artist Damien Rudd’s account @sadtopographies contributes quite the opposite. Rudd finds the most depressing sounding rivers, lakes, and roads via Google Maps, screenshotting and posting their sad names for his audience of 64,000 followers. Each of his finds are extremely humorous, yet beg us to wonder what series of events could have possibly lead to their naming.
In case you wanted to match your winter mood to “Despair Island” rather than some white sand beach off of the coast of Bali, head over to Rudd’s Instagram for a dose of Suffering St. and Broken Dreams Dr. (via Booooooom)
Designer Rafael Esquer of Alfalfa New York created this amazing print of New York inspired by patterns found in artworks by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. Titled Iconic New York Illuminated, the piece incorporates more than 600 iconic destinations around the city rendered in a combination of gold and silver foils as well as metallic inks. You can pick up a limited edition print in their shop. (via Coudal)
It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in on Mark Powell (previously here and here), who produces ballpoint pen portraits and illustrations of birds and people on vintage envelopes. Recently Powell has expanded his practice to include old maps as another form of canvas, drawing detailed faces and bodies that are given texture by the haphazard roads and regions that comprise the United States or Paris.
Powell chooses to draw on paper with historical marks in order to imbue his works with a greater story, adding a deeper background to his subjects. “They compliment each other and I hope leads the viewer to wonder, and maybe create, a history for the two,” said Powell. “I rarely connect the portrait and ‘canvas’ as they are both strangers to me.”
Powell’s illustrations can take between a couple of hours and an entire month depending on the size of the surface and the detail given to his subjects. His upcoming exhibition, “Anthropology,” will open March 3 and run through April 10, 2016 at Hang-Up Gallery in London. You can see more of Powell’s drawings on his Facebook.
Trying to imagine the scope of the cosmos is nearly impossible, but musician and artist Pablo Carlos Budassi decided to make a visual attempt by cramming the entire known universe into a single image. Using scores of satellite images and photos snapped from NASA’s rovers, he painstakingly pieced together many of the prominent features of the universe as observed from our solar system in the form of a logarithmic map. Logarithms are useful for understanding large numbers or distances, so in Budassi’s map each consecutive ‘ring’ around the circle represents several orders of magnitude further than the one before it.
Budassi was aided by similar (though less visually stunning) logarithmic maps produced by astronomers at Princeton back in 2005. In this map, our sun and solar system are seen in the middle, followed by the Milky Way Galaxy, another ring of nearby galaxies like Andromeda, all the way out to cosmic radiation and plasma generated by the bing bang on the furthest outskirts of the image.
You can see a much larger version of the map here and read a bit more about it on Tech Insider. (via I F*cking Love Science)
When considering the historical path of a river, it’s easy to imagine a torrential flood that causes a stream to overflow its banks, or a drought that brings a body of water to a trickle. The reality of a river’s history is vastly more complex, as the artery of water gradually changes directions over thousands of years, shifting its boundaries imperceptibly inch by inch.
Geologists and cartographers have grappled with helpful ways to visually depict a river’s flow over time. In 1941, the Mississippi River Commission appointed Harold Fisk to undertake a groundbreaking effort to map the entire Lower Mississippi Valley. Three years later he produced a stunning series of 15 maps that combine over 20 different river paths obtained through historical charts and aerial photography.
The beautiful map seen here of the Willamette River Historical Stream Channels in Oregon by cartographer Dan Coe also shows the history of a river, however Coe relied on more recent aerial radar technology called lidar. From The Oregonian:
Lidar data is collected by low-, slow-flying aircraft with equipment that shoots millions of laser points to the ground. When the data is studied, an amazingly accurate model of the ground can be mapped.
It is possible to strip buildings and vegetation from the images, so that only the ground is shown. In the Willamette River poster, the shades of white and blue show elevations. The purest white color is the baseline, (the zero point, at the lowest point near Independence on the upper part of the image). The darkest blue is 50 feet (or higher) than the baseline.
The shades of white show changes in elevation, between 0 to 50 feet. This brings out the changes made by the river channel in the last 12,000 to 15,000 years, in the time since the landscape was basically swept clean by the Missoula floods.
The map is usually available as a print through the Nature of the Northwest Information Center, however the site appears to be down at the moment. (via Feltron, The Oregonian)
English artist Ed Fairburn (previously) uses vintage road maps and star charts as canvases for drawn portraits. Cross-hatched patterns and shaded regions inside roads, borders, and rivers assimilate into the contours of faces, as if the images had always been secretly hidden in the map’s topography. “In his hands, both built infrastructure and natural phenomena echo the organic human form,” shares Mike Wright Gallery. “National highway systems become capillaries, and the tangle of Paris’ alleyways become the wrinkles that give the face history and individuality.”
Fairburn opens a new show of work alongside artist John Wentz today at Mike Wright in Denver.