Dan Paul Smith

Interface and visualisation developer.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Maps at the Affordable Art Fair

A friend of mine had a spare ticket to the opening night of the Affordable Art Fair this year. It was situated inside a pop-up building (like a giant gazebo) on Hampstead Heath and by "affordable", they mean that there's artwork in the range of £40-£4,000 on sale.

It took about 3 hours to walk around the place (very slowly, while squinting and taking pictures of things) - it was split into 6 aisles I think, with paintings, prints and sculptures tucked into every nook and cranny. It was enjoyable, there was some amazing art there. I'm usually very peculiar about what I like / don't like, and have to say that I was enjoying myself massively, talking to exhibitors while trying to avoid leading anyone on to think I was there to buy something.

What caught me by surprise, and is the reason for this post, was the amount of map related art. I've just started a masters degree that heavily involves maps and mapping things, so here I was in an art gallery with the art world and tech world once again colliding for me.

I managed to snap them all.


Start up idea: a clothing company that let's you order custom-printed jumpers/t-shirts of a segment of a map. I think maps would look cool on people, not just walls.

Animal Garden

Maps made out of animals. Not sure if they're related to the countries they're forming.

Currency map

I really like this map. Shame it cost a few grand. A country's currency slices through it (as well as overlapping into any neighbouring countries) along with time zone separations and a bit of a colour boost I guess - currency isn't that colourful is it?

Debt map

A map made of credit cards from different countries.

 Postcode map

A piece of work from my friend's gallery. Nice use of colour, not quite my thing though, I'm usually after a pattern or two.

Great Britain currency map

Shiny currency map for GB.

Gold leafed New York map

Really nice monochrome, highly detailed map of New York. No matter where I stood, the fantastically placed spotlights got in the way.

Modern London

This looks like an old map of London, but features modern landmarks like the London Eye. Weird chymera-like animal things dotted around. Couple of butterflies thrown in.

The lost rivers

London's lost rivers printed on porcelain. Not sure if it's accurate. Definitely creative. Porcelain usage related to us flushing toilets? I forsee a 3D printer plugin for ArcMap.

World cow map

Can't quite remember this one. The map's got numbers on it, relating to the cows I think. I think it's a map that shows you what type of patterned cow you get in different countries? Only a guess.

London A-Z cutouts

How cool are these? The amount of effort that's gone into these is admirable. They've all had spatial features that aren't roads, rivers or bridges sliced out, especially the third picture that's had 6 pages sliced and overlaid on top of each other while still in the original book (which looks really old as it is). I noticed people standing next to me were tracing the newly formed routes. I think I overheard someone explaining to their mate that if they left their house in Primrose Hill, they could turn left, right and be in Paddington. Magical. I would actually quite like to build my own London map, using just the places and things that interest me. And then download or print it. Or wear it.

Blurred boundaries

This is infact a county, I - and the gallery assistant - didn't know which country this was, they seemed to think it was in the Carribean somewhere despite the snowy background. People as a continuous field? I like it.

So yeah, there we have it. Loads right? Good old maps. Always intersting, whether you're a lamp post or a person.

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