Neighborhood maps: San Anselmo

hand drawn map of san anselmo california
Unknown (drawn for Renee Sharp), Damaged Videos, 2008 [San Anselmo, California]

This is a map worth keeping. Even though it’s not particularly practical for navigation, it’s a cool piece of ephemera with a fun story. A video store clerk drew it for Renee and her boyfriend when they stopped to ask for directions to a popular sushi restaurant. The clerk quickly drew a few lines on the back of a slip of paper used to label videotapes damaged by customers. Even in 2008, this object was a relic of the past. The rendering was not only incredibly vague but also completely wrong. Despite the map, Renee and Bruce eventually found the sushi restaurant. They also kept the piece of paper using it as a bookmark before eventually sending it to the HDMA.

piece of paper for identifying damaged videos

Neighborhood maps: Venice

hand drawn map of the venice neighborhood in los angeles california
Justin Thiele, Venice, c. 2012 [Los Angeles, California]

The neighborhood maps I’ve been sharing recently are some of my favorites in the collection. This drawing hits on all of the best qualities of hand-drawn maps. It includes personal recommendations, can be used for navigation, and has a striking visual appearance. Justin drew it for his friends when they were visiting him in Venice, California. They wanted to spend some time checking out what made the neighborhood unique, so he recommended the canals and included his favorite pizza place.

Neighborhood maps: Philadelphia

Will Haughery, Fishtown, 2010 [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]
Janel Olah, FWM VIP Party, 2007 [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]

The maps pictured here are of the Fishtown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Like many neighborhoods, there are no true boundaries of the area, and the definition is somewhat malleable. Haughery’s map makes the case that Frankford Avenue can be considered a boundary between Fishtown to the southeast and Kensington to the northwest.

Olah drew the second map for guests attending a party held for Fabric Workshop and Museum apprentices. She idealizes the somewhat confusing layout of streets and highlights the triangular structure of the area where William Penn’s original grid plan for the city breaks down in unexpected ways.

Neighborhood maps: Syros

Dimitris (drawn for Krista Muir), Hermoupolis-Syros, 2012 [Ermoupolis, Greece]

Krista’s friend, Dimitris, drew this map for her when she was traveling through Greece. No one could remember the exact address of her friend’s mother’s place where she would be staying, so she used this map to find the house after arriving on the island.

Neighborhood maps: Chicago

Unknown, Lounge Ax, Empty Bottle, BFA Show, c. 1998 [Chicago, Illinois]

As far as I can tell, this is the first map I collected. Drawn 10 years before I founded the Hand Drawn Map Association, it provides directions to three places in Chicago: the music venues Lounge Ax (now closed) and Empty Bottle, as well as the BFA graduation exhibition for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sadly, I can not remember who drew this map. Whoever it was, they were a SAIC student living in the loft on Wabash Avenue where we stayed. If it was you, please let me know!

Montablan Archipelago

George Kohn, The Montablan Archepelago, 1969 [Fictional location: Montablan; drawn in Varanasi, India] original HDMA web archive: map 103

George drew this map while attending Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India for a year of study in 1969.

The fictional archipelago of Montablan originated years earlier in his imagination while mowing the yard of his childhood home in Iowa. Driven by his contempt of cutting grass, he fantasized himself as one of a group of exploited workers on the island of Lospania who were planning a revolt.

As he grew older, the island remained in his imagination, expanding into a small archipelago of closely allied islands. The place names are influenced by aspects of Indian culture as well as his love of American football. The references in the map to places such as Talortown and Talorado, for example, are a misspelling of Jim Taylor, a fullback for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-1962.

Distant Relatives

Anonymous (drawn for Larry Chance), circa 2008 [Sorrento, Italy] original HDMA web archive: map 101

Larry and his family received this map while visiting distant relatives in southern Italy. After a visit in Barrea, Larry’s hosts drew the driving route to Sorrento, 187 km to the south on the Gulf of Naples.

Dream House

Purple Wyrm, Dream House, 2008 [Fictional location] original HDMA web archive: map 49

Purple Wyrm mapped a home that frequently occurs in their dreams. While much of the home and the space surrounding it remain a mystery, the hatstand near the front door and the dark windows on the veranda are consistent signifiers.

Atom Smasher

Ashley Kersting, CERN, 2008 [France/Switzerland border] original HDMA web archive: map 89

This map depicts the location of the Large Hadron Collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) beneath the France/Switzerland border. Kersting drew it at a pub in St. Paul, Minnesota over a discussion with friends at a local pub. A few days before the particle collider was set to be used for the first time, the group discussed the scientific experiments that would be conducted there. The references to “Cam” indicates the location of their mutual friend who lived in Switzerland at the time.

Office Space

Anonymous, 2008 [Leeds, United Kingdom] original HDMA web archive: map 80

This anonymous frustration map originated in boredom. The creator drew it while waiting thirty minutes for their boss to arrive at a disciplinary meeting. They continue, “this is the third meeting I’ve been asked to attend for minor offenses. I’m convinced my boss is arranging them for his own amusement. It is completely accurate (except for the pelican) but not exactly to scale.”