Piece description from the artist
For this imaginary map, I started by dripping a mixture of watercolor and sumi ink onto the paper and letting it roll around in a river form by shaking the paper. When it dried, the disparate elements separating into a mottled water pattern, I drew around it to form the start of a city. My process combines logical urban design observations with aesthetic considerations which let me push beyond the possibilities of real maps and tell a more individual, imaginative story.
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