In an age when Google maps have become our go to reference for way finding, this new work from the brilliant studio Stamen is a heroic achievement. This is a beautiful example of how the hand made can sit in perfect harmony with the interactive world. The maps are hand painted, before being uploaded onto the web to create a fully navigable online environment.
Despite lacking the intricate labelling detail of many maps, we have been unable to peel ourselves away from the screen. It is a truly immersive experience that demands your attention. The skill is breathtaking and the result is testament to the commitment and patience of the Stamen team.
Geraldine Sarmiento talks about the process behind the work;
“I went through many rounds of painting and testing, experimenting with other types of brushes as I went along, as well as painting on smooth to rough varieties of paper. For the final product, a variety of brushes and papers were used depending on the desired result. For example, the rougher papers added that extra texture needed for ground areas. It was fun to mix it all up to convey a variety of terrain.
“The process of going back and forth from painting to the computer became a continuous cycle. Midway through as I became more and more familiar with the outcome of how the actual texture would appear on the screen when tiled, my painting process became more specific to achieve the desired texture, color, darkness, stroke, range of value that I wanted for each feature on the map.”
We urge anybody who can sneak 10 minutes of procrastination into their day to take a look at this exceptional project…Be warned, Google maps will seem somewhat soulless from now on!