Piece description from the artist
I started this imaginary map drawing by outlining a shore shape with islands and thin bridges in water-soluble pencil on watercolor paper. I then drew the pigment out using watercolor wash to form the watery texture, which is a process in itself; with such a big work, the water dries as I go, and I have to be clever to avoid hard edges. I drew in roads, blocks and houses within the land masses, following the pattern I've been perfecting over the years (a combination of drawing from the material and anticipating the aesthetic result). I used only water-soluble pencil and drew the pigment out with a wet brush to make the color in each block. That means that the smaller blocks are darker, and the larger blocks are lighter. This balance between aesthetic direction and materiality is a constant throughout most of my work.
Emily Garfield creates intricate maps of imaginary places that explore the origins of cities and the function of maps themselves. Her work is inspired by the visual language of maps as well as the fractal similarity that cities share with biological processes such as the patterns of cells and neurons.
Taking inspiration from scientific approaches, Emily Garfield bases her art practice on collaborative discovery as much as individual research, highlighted in ongoing monthly science-art meetups as well as workshops: at Genspace in New York, and at the DeCordova Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum while in Boston, among others. She was the 2014 director of the Somerville Open Studios city-wide arts event, and now lives in New York where she helps to produce the Tribeca Art+Culture Night art festival. Emily Garfield received her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University, where she also studied the aesthetic response through cognitive science.
Time-lapse map drawing video: http://vimeo.com/50571510
7-minute presentation from 2017 on making maps from rules: https://youtu.be/x6yIast7AFo
20-minute presentation from 2020 on inspirations and science connection: https://youtu.be/dtpsDWZg3tA