Piece description from the artist
This piece was created by inventing waterways in water-soluble pencil and then "growing" a map within that geography. Part of the process of creating this particular piece can be viewed at vimeo.com/50571509
My intricate pen and watercolor drawings are 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. I invent each place as I draw, thinking about clustering of neighborhoods, patterns of roads and the individual selective memory that an inhabitant would use to navigate their city. The physical materials also influence each work; the topography of watercolor paper, the force of gravity on ink, or the tensile limitations of paper all structure my drawings in the same way that a landscape influences urban growth.
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