5 Jun 2013

2nd Map Making Competition Results

We challenged writers, artists and cartographers to draw a map of their fictional world. We attracted entries from across the (real) world from cartographers who specialise in the art form known as geofiction: making maps of fictional places.

Cartography and writing are two disciplines that have much in common. Writers and cartographers explore themselves and their environment through fictional place. Both have an urge to explore, to discover new places and things, to learn something about their own limitations by pushing at the boundaries of their surroundings and imaginations. Some people go abroad to find themselves, writers and cartographers find themselves in their work. “You do not put yourself into what you write, but you find yourself there”- Alan Bennett. 


Many thanks to everyone who submitted maps – (32 maps submitted) – we loved them all and really struggled with compiling long and shortlists. Much respect.

1st Map of Western Refractoria
original: inks on watercolour paper
Jeffrey Beebe,
b. Indianapolis, IN
Lives and works in NYC, USA

This map ticks all our boxes. We could imagine the stories and people that might populate this world. The map is beautiful, with wonderful texture and depth and some really quirky details. The humour of the place names fits neatly with the Storyslingers sense of humour.

to see all the lovely details of the map, go here: http://jeffreybeebe.com/?v=collection&collection=4

“Over the last nine years, I have created the world of Refractoria, a comprehensive imagino-ordinary world that is equal parts snotty, satirical autobiography and improvised fantasy. The Refractoria drawings--geopolitical maps, city maps, celestial charts, genealogical trees, etc.--are equal parts draughtsmanship and writing. They are a place in which I dump the visual sum of my experiences--the relationships I've had, the books I've read, the music I've consumed, the conversations I've had and overheard. It all exists in Refractoria.

I make these large drawings for the same reason we knowingly fall in love with the wrong person--it is a spectacle, an act of deliberate misbehavior bound to fail and disappoint . . . but the experience is abject, terrifying pleasure while it lasts. And I'm left undeniably altered--and humbled, wistful and a little sore--at the end of each experience.”

2nd The Map of the Eternal Itinerant
original: Digital
Kate McLean,
Whitstable, UK.

This map is highly conceptual, investigating the notion of a city as perceived by a newcomer. The map works on many levels, it’s intelligent and well designed, there is space for the onlooker to fill with their imaginations, and there is reference to an outer world beyond the scope of the map.

 “As a sensory researcher and designer my primary focus is on developing smell maps of different cities worldwide. As an initial stage in my exploration of linking place, human perception and emotion I investigated the notion of a city as perceived by a newcomer. Taking data from hand-drawn maps of a city seen after one month and six months I discovered that as newcomers to a city we create islands and links between them as a tool to understand where we are; we retain elements from our past such as friends, inner sanctuaries of self and simultaneously project into our future. In the map these elements of human perception are represented using the metaphors of geography, urban design and transport infrastructure. The Map of the Eternal Itinerant is a universally applicable personal visual reference.”

More maps available at www.sensorymaps.com.

Joint 3rd The Old Empire of Lorn
original: Digital
Maxime Plasse,
Lives and works in Lyon, France.

We chose this map for its detail, the imaginative scope and artistic execution. We could all imagine stories playing out in the old empire of Lorn.

“Stories are an essential part of my job and life. The human mind is a powerful resource and imagination is probably one of its greatest jewels. Each one of us has a unique and deep inner world hidden within, where countless stories are taking place.
Writers use words to cast these worlds through our minds. I try modestly to put them into my maps. For me Cartography brings out parts of my inner world and lets them tell their own stories. If you let your imagination be your guide, you will probably hear some of these stories, while wandering the paths through the Old Empire of Lorn. May you enjoy your journey.”

Joint 3rd Kvraagetaan
original: coloured ink on 60 sheets of black paper
Juli Martí Casals
b. Barcelona, Spain.

This map is conceptually brilliant, pushing at the boundaries of cartography and art. The map is hand-drawn to perfection, and really must be seen at full size to be properly appreciated.

Juli was born in Barcelona but grew up in Paris; between two cities, two countries. He started his professional life as assistant for an architect in Barcelona and then as a correspondent in Paris for the catalan magazine “El Temps”. His geographical and political interests brought him to publish an essay titled “Els Estats contra Europa” (States against Europe), Angle Editorial, 2009. He first showed his mapping works a year ago in Paris, at Le Duplex, and then in Barcelona at the Casal del Barri del Poblenou, January 2013.

“As a necessary support to play with my cars on, drawing maps soon turned out to be my main game. Torn between two cities (Barcelona and Paris), its two cultures, and its three languages, maps were the territory where I explored my own comprehension of the world. As I grew up my interests were more focused on the cartography itself, with its scales, color codes and international icons.

Kvraagetaan belongs to a project about an ensemble of 3 cities. For the moment, it measures 207,9 x 273 cm, it occupies 60 black A4 sheets and it’s still growing… the work turns around the question of borders and the geographical and urban influences from one city to another. In a sort of recognition to all the AZ or Michelin guides we all use.”

Shortlisted maps (unranked)

original: watercolor and colored pencils on paper
Massimo Potì
b. Bari, Italy.
Lives and works in Turin, Italy.

The region of Solitaria is not a lucky one. If it weren't for its vast inner sea of freshwater and the thin fertile strip of soil around it, it would be a deserted waste of space surrounded by a dark, venomous mist. Since without the body of freshwater there would be no means of survival, both cultures living on its shores developed a sacred respect towards the sea up to the point that no human is allowed to cross it from shore to shore. That's how they ended up living as close and faraway as possible.

“I’ve always loved maps; I find they're the easiest way to feed my imagination with vast playgrounds to build stories from. The veins on a piece of wood, the cracks on a concrete sidewalk, an abstract painting, everything can be turned into a map. Sometimes maps spark from what-if ideas popping into my mind, as is the case with Solitaria. Maps create worlds and viceversa. Maps to me are a way to find my way in the real world by getting in touch with an imaginary

original: Digital
Steff J. Worthington,
Lives and works in Chester, UK

Steff J. Worthington has been a map artist for 20 years on freelance projects for game companies but is a graphic designer by trade. Client-wise he's been seen in print for Chaosium, Miskatonic River Press, Mongoose Publishing, Dark Skull Studios, Cubicle7, and Shaun Duke's The World in the Satin Bag. He believes that maps tell more about the perception of the artist than any land they depict. If more maps today contained more mystery, more evocative wording, and more 'Here Be Dragons' notations then we'd see where we live with more wonder and respect. Our lands and cultures may garner the respect and reverence they deserve.

City of Clocks
Digital print (original: Digital)
Steff J. Worthington,
Lives and works in Chester, UK

Steff is a keen advocate of forward looking design and uses his current copy of 'Creative Review' as a knife vest in times of trouble. A student of the 22 string harp and Celtic and Scandinavian languages he is also a frequent contributor to articles and discussions on the Arthurian Cycle. He can often be seen on the streets of Chester, UK dodging cars and unhealthy snacks and dreaming of finding a home back in his beloved North West Wales.

Oh, and somehow finding Excalibur in his back garden.

Map 32P
original: felt tip pen on multiple sheets of notepaper, taped together
David Hyman
b. New Jersey, USA
better viewed here http://davidcharlaphyman.com/images/Map-32p.html (zoom in!)

David currently works as a product designer. He created this map and many others in the early 1970s when he was 14 years old.

“From 1969 -1973 I drew maps on a daily basis, and that body of work grew to include several hundred cities. As a child I moved from the Suburbs of New Jersey to Manhattan. New York for me then was both fascinating and frightening. Everything outside of my neighborhood was just some "other" place, vaguely mysterious and intimidating. I was too young to explore the outer boroughs on my own, so I was left to look at maps and imagine life out there among the miles of monotonous blocks. The maps show a coming to terms with my new urban surroundings; they gave me a way to make some sense of it. My map making, for the most part, ended around 10th grade and was replaced by life drawing and painting.”

In 1980, some of David’s maps were shown at the Children's Museum in NYC, and in 1981 a map was selected to be included in a show entitled "Mapped Art, Chart Routes and Regions" that toured the USA.

Yogo CBD
original: Digital
Potanin Andrey,
Lives in Samara, Russia.

Potanin is a map collector and designer, rail and metro fan, urban-lover.

“I started drawing maps when I was 6 and this passion hasn’t gone as my natives supposed. I don’t know why it's happened. It's a question of personal taste and individual preferences. I just can tell about some positive merits that the hobby of drawing this kind of maps brings into your life. It’s planning, aiming, strategy, tactics, details, creativity, integrity and much more. It’s absolutely helping in solving your tasks in ordinary life. The only thing for using it is to be fond of maps.”

Arden Maps: The Icathian Imperium and its neighbour states.
original: Archival-Ink on Fabriano-Paper, Digital Composing, Photoshop
Josephe T. Vandel
Lives and works in Leipzig, Germany.

Josephe T. Vandel works as a freelance Cartographer and Art director, creating maps and concept art for novels, board games, RPGs and digital media. He graduated with an M.A. in Communications Arts (Photography and Illustration), an M.A. in Fine Arts (New Media, Film and Installation Art) and finished his theoretical Thesis with the Topic: "The creation of fictional worlds within Western media, from the 15th century literature and art to contemporary media" at the University of East London (England) and Braunschweig University of Art (Germany).

“Home is a foreign word for me. My parents were refugees from the Vietnam war and met in a refugee camp in Germany, in the eighties. All the books we had were the Catholic Bible, Grimm's Fairytales and a German Dictionary of Complex and Anachronistic Terminologies. My world consists of words, and from this books, it became a colourful, weird and twisted mixture. Since childhood, every cardboard or package box was implemented in a giant canvas, on which I painted an ever-growing map, my first map, my first love. I am no German, I am no Vietnamese. Where ever I go, I am foreign. Creating maps lets me create places that belong to me. I close my eyes, lines and symbols unfolding on my map inside and there I find a way home, a home that never was and will never be. I am mapping my life.”

original: graphite on paper
Samantha Martin (age 14)
Lives in San Jose, California, USA

Samantha is 14 years old, we thought her map was so accomplished that we shortlisted her map among the maps made by adults. What particularly delighted us about Samantha’s map was the imaginative scope and inventiveness of the locations. She won the children’s category. 

Samantha grew up with a love of literature and art. She has gone through seven years of private schooling and was homeschooled the past two years. Samantha started making maps as a way of helping her with her fictional writing, and it became more of a hobby than a tool. Now she finds herself drawing maps of new places in her spare time. She is very excited to explore where these fantasylands will take her in the future.

 Children’s competition.

1st Gust, Samantha Martin (age 14)– see above

2nd Gran Angeles
original: coloured ink on paper
Lucas Ezequiel Breska (age 16)
Lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lucas is 16 years old, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’s making maps of the fictional country: The Republic of the Trinity (population 15 million).

My name is Lucas Ezquiel Breska, I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I'm 16 years old. The maps are of a city, the capital of a fictional country. The name of the city is Official Capital of the Angels (or Los Angeles). The name of the country is the Republic of the Holy Trinity. The estimated population of the great Los Angeles is 15 million people .”

3rd Los Angeles
original: coloured ink on paper
Lucas Ezequiel Breska (age 16)
Lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is a map of the capital of a fictitious country, The Republic of the Trinity, the population of which is 15 million.

“Tengo 16 años, soy de hincha de boca, no se que mas decir. Los mapas son de una ciudad, capital de un país ficticio. El nombre de la ciudad es Capital Oficial de Los Ángeles. El nombre del país es República de la Santísima Trinidad. La población estimada del Gran los ángeles es de 15 millones de personas.”


The maps are being informally exhibited in Shaftesbury Arts Centre throughout June & July, (not in the main gallery, but along the main corridor). We hope to raise funds to print them at or near full size and get them framed in order to exhibit them formally. All donations towards this project would be gratefully received, please email Jennifer on zomzara@googlemail.com.

Interested in geofiction? Hungry for more? Check out the cartographers guild, urbangeofiction, maproomblog, 1/10000, no sense of direction blog and the cartographers' websites listed above. Cartographers from the above guild are available to commission, so if you’re an author who needs a map made of their fictional world, check out their forum. Award-winning cartographer Maxime Plasse (joint 3rd in this competition) is open to commissions.

We will continue to periodically post stuff about geofiction, map making and our shortlisted cartographers on this blog, so please subscribe and check back here frequently for more geofiction and cartography. 

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