Maps as Abstract. Maps as Familiar.
Maps are good for the soul - they provide a detailed aerial view of the real places you love - where you had your first kiss, where you dream to own a house, islands you want to explore by boat... you can write names and dates right on these maps and they bring you exactly to that place in time with great detail... beautiful.
And then there’s this other aspect of maps when you get to the part of the atlas that you’ve never been to, and will never get to... Africa’s Burkina Faso, Canada’s Hudson Bay, Chile’s Cape Horn - these places allow you to appreciate the pure abstract quality of a map - the organic lines dividing water and land, the colors of different countries juxtaposed to one another, the strange names of meandering rivers. This experience departs from the relational & familiar and gets into Jackson Pollock-style abstract expressionism... beautiful.
This is why we love maps - they can bring you to so many different places through time and space in your own mind. Forget about the actual place & time that a map represents - studying a map can become a completely Zen experience when you depart from the familiar and just groove on the cartography. This is why we chose the name Map Is Art for our business - because not only are maps art, but they are different kinds of art, depending on what type of map you’re looking at.
Look at the examples above... the eye wanders all over the abstract map with no reference pointing you to another time or place, just like in the Pollock painting. On the other hand, the “familiar” art & map forces your eye to bounce around to different points and then make “I love San Francisco” or “I don't like California” type judgements and thus think about historical events, cultural norms, make things right or wrong, etc.
There are such varied reactions to great maps, just as there are reactions to great art. It’s time we elevate the map to its rightful place, as art. The Map is the art. Mapisart !