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My Mixed Media Maps- Representing History

Mixed Media Maps- “City of Oaks”

mixed media maps Raleigh

We use maps pretty much every day.  Whether they’re printed on paper or interactive on our smart phones, they help us understand the direction were traveling.  Try as we might, it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of our direction by ourselves.

More than that, though- an up to date map is a culmination of years of history, and represents the stories of thousands of families and individuals who, through their struggles with the topography and use of resources, their industry, politics and beliefs, have all influenced the shape, size, and surroundings of each block.

What a symbol a map is!mixed media maps, Raleigh NC

I wanted to capture some of this symbolism in these mixed media maps.  I focus on the big picture, but the variations in the layers of paint and ink, the outline of the streets, and the feathered ink and paint splatters bring to mind all the individuals who, recognized or not, have made each city what it is.  Each layer is like a generation, which stacked together makes the city richer, fuller, and fascinating.

Mixed Media Maps- “The Bull City”

mixed media maps DurhamI began with the cities where I live.  It’s so interesting to me that after living here for a few short years, and meeting a tiny percentage of the people who live here, that I can feel so connected to these cities.  There is good and bad here, dark history and history to be proud of, but it all makes these cities what they are.  They aren’t perfect, but they are beautiful, and the maps of these cities (and of every place around the globe) represents that truth.

mixed media maps, Durham NCMaps, and the meaning behind them, are works of art that are functional, but also emotional.  They evoke memories of people as well as places, and those places and the history behind them influence us in ways we can’t begin to understand.  And I love them for that.

What city should I paint next?!

Here’s a link to my project video Master Plan– this will give you an idea of the process behind these pieces.