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Design Illustration

Using Stock Market Charts, Artist Gladys Orteza Transforms Data into Bright Nighttime Landscapes

August 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Gladys Orteza, shared with permission

A visual insights designer at Nike by day, Gladys Orteza spends her off-hours transforming otherwise dull stock market charts into brilliant landscapes. The dips and rises of companies like Ford, Tesla, Apple, and Disney become rocky gorges and distant city skylines. Prompted by trading practices pre-pandemic, Orteza began to envision buildings and natural features when diving into Robinhood. “I remember sitting on the couch looking at one of my stock charts and nonchalantly saying to my husband that these charts look really pretty and that I should recreate them as mountains on a landscape,” she says. These visualizations soon manifested into vivid, nature-based depictions.

The Hillsboro, Oregon-based artist, who’s been sharing her landscapes on Instagram, tells Colossal that much of her inspiration comes from living in the Pacific Northwest. “One day we were driving through farmland during a sunset, and the colors of the sky was so breathtaking I had to start drawing. I then got inspired by a few old trucks that were parked on people’s properties,” she says. That experience resulted in the pastel landscape created utilizing Ford’s chart (shown below) that has a vintage vehicle driving through the foreground.

Orteza also contradicts any notion that stocks and data are impersonal by adding important pieces of herself into each artwork. The moon radiating in the background of every piece represents her daughter named Lyanna Luna, and if you look closely at the nearby bird, you’ll see the creature actually is comprised of the artist’s signature.

To be clear, Orteza doesn’t expect her mountainous scenes or starry nights to influence trading decisions. “It’s not intended to help the viewer make any business decisions or give any technical analysis. It’s visual storytelling. It’s art,” she says. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Craft Science

People Are Knitting, Crocheting, and Weaving Tangible Records of Temperature Changes

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Josie George

In an effort to make the ongoing effects of climate change more visible, needleworkers around the globe are creating temperature blankets and scarves that track local weather patterns. Earlier this month, writer Josie George began an expansive Twitter thread about the project, motivating others to share their similar work. “I decided that this year, every day, I would knit a row on a scarf to mark the corresponding daily temperature/weather of my town,” George wrote in the original post. “It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year. A way to notice and not look away.”

Although the technique and materials vary, each project follows a basic pattern utilizing a key (like this free one) to track some combination of the temperature, sky conditions, season, and date. The personal projects are part of a larger movement to document micro weather changes that may serve as indicators of broader climate issues. Groups like The Tempestry Project have been crafting wallhangings tracking the daily high temperature of a specific location during the course of year, weaving the results into a yarn-based work resembling a bar graph. Check out this Instagram tag to see more of the activism-inspired projects. (via My Modern Met)

Image © Josie George

Image © qp nell

Image © Annie S

 

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Craft Design

A Father Transformed Data of his Son’s First Year of Sleep into a Knitted Blanket

July 17, 2019

Christopher Jobson

All photos © Seung Lee

Seung Lee tracked the first year of his baby’s sleep schedule with the BabyConnect app, which lets you export data to CSV. Choosing to work with six minute intervals, Lee then converted the CSVs into JSON (using Google Apps Script and Python) which created a reliable pattern for knitting. The frenetic lines at the top of the blanket indicate the baby’s unpredictable sleep schedule right after birth. We can see how the child grew into a more reliable schedule as the lines reach more columnar patterns.

As Lee neared completion of the blanket, he shared, “All the disparate pieces felt really fragile but as I seamed it together, wove in loose ends, and removed stitch markers, it felt more and more sturdy. Something that I’d been handling like a delicate bird egg started to just feel like a blanket.” The Seattle-based comic artist, crafter, and coder shares updates via Twitter and his website. (thnx, Jennifer!)

 

 



Design History

The Roman Empire's 250,000 Miles of Roadways Imagined as a Subway Transit Map

June 12, 2017

Christopher Jobson

University of Chicago sophomore Sasha Trubetskoy spent a few weeks designing this amazing subway-style transit map of all the roads in the Roman Empire circa 125 AD. As Kottke notes, Rome constructed 250,000 miles of roads starting in 300 BC—over 50,000 miles of which were paved with stone—linking a total of 113 provinces from Spain to modern day Britain to the northern tip of Africa.

Trubetskoy pulled data from numerous sources, but took liberties where the history is fuzzy. “The biggest creative element was choosing which roads and cities to include, and which to exclude,” he shares. “There is no way I could include every Roman road, these are only the main ones. I tried to include cities with larger populations, or cities that were provincial capitals around the 2nd century.”

You can see the map in a bit more detail on his website, and if you donate a few bucks he’ll send you a hi-res PDF fit for printing. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design Illustration Science

The Chart of Cosmic Exploration Elegantly Details 56 Years of Human Adventures into Space

March 10, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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We’ve long been fans of the data-rich illustrations produced by Pop Chart Lab, and this new print is no exception. The Chart of Cosmic Exploration documents every exploratory endeavor into space spanning Luna 2 in 1959 to DSCOVR in 2015. The elegantly dense chart not only depicts the flight paths and orbits around planets, moons, comets, and asteroids, but also takes pains to illustrate some 100 exploratory instruments. The result is a shockingly clear overview of an immensely complex topic. The print is now available for preorder and begins shipping next week. (via Mental_Floss)

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Design History Science

Art Meets Cartography: The 15,000-Year History of a River in Oregon Rendered in Data

November 25, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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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)

 

 

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