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!

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.

Lost Maps

Anonymous, 2008 [London, United Kingdom] original HDMA web archive: map 74

In the early days of the HDMA, I accepted files for the website through drop.io, a service later bought by Facebook. Using drop.io was very easy, and, if you chose, anonymous. This means I received many files without identifying information or accompanying email addresses. Ahh…the early internet.

I referred to them as the “lost maps,” and I still have a folder with these random drawings. These are two of the best. The map above was easily identifiable as the Mill Hill district of London, and, with a little extra research, the map below was determined to be Doha, Qatar.

Anonymous, 2008 [Doha, Qatar] original HDMA web archive: map 81

Barcelona Architecture

Alec, Barcelona, 2007 [Barcelona, Spain] original HDMA web archive: map 65

Alec’s map of Barcelona is an example of a truly useful hand-drawn map. Drawn while he was on vacation, it highlights a number of architectural sites and museums. Among the landmarks are several Antoni Gaudi buildings, the Forum 2004, the Gas Natural Building, and the Music Palace.

Mount Whitney Mountaineering Route

Unknown (drawn for Mark Morey), Mt. Whitney, c. 1991 [Sequoia National Park, California] original HDMA web archive: map 54

After not receiving one of the few daily hiking permits to climb Mt. Whitney via the standard Whitney Trail, an experienced hiker suggested Mark Morey and his friends take the lesser-used Mountaineering Route. He sketched this map for them which they used to navigate the nine-mile route in the early 1990’s.

Mark recounts, “over the next two days, we saw no other people except at the summit. We had a lot of route debate [as well as] the most glorious hike and summit of Whitney. On the way up, we found all of the landmarks drawn on the map, however, on our way down, we realized that none of those were the ones he meant us to find.”

Obama Volunteer Office

Bernard Bonnet (drawn for Margo Handwerker), Obama Volunteer Office Southmore, 2008 [Houston, Texas] original HDMA web archive: map 19

Here a seemingly insignificant object, a cocktail napkin, captures a historic moment in United States history: the presidential primary campaign of Barack Obama. Handwerker, the recipient of the napkin, recounts the story of the object in the style of a museum didactic:

“Born in France, Bernard Bonnet became a United States citizen on July 25, 2007. This made him eligible to vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, arguably the most groundbreaking race in that nation’s history. Bonnet, a book buyer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), fervently supported Democratic Senator Barack Obama (American, born 1961), voting in the Texas primary election and caucusing for the candidate on March 4th, 2008. Three days before the caucus, Bonnet attended an exhibition opening at the MFAH, where he created this hand drawn map for his co-worker, Margo Handwerker. A fellow Obama supporter, Handwerker needed directions to the Obama volunteer office on Southmore Blvd. in Houston, Texas.”

Map for Friday

hand drawn map of london
Damian (drawn for Scott Witthoft), Map for Friday, 2008 [London, United Kingdom] original HDMA web archive: map 14

Witthoft submitted this map created by his friend Damian. While visiting London, he used it to navigate to “the bar with the tiny margaritas.” Drawn on a notebook page annotated with Jan Tschichold’s idealized margins, the cartographer barely breaks the boundaries of modernist perfection.