If 8 Famous Artists Created Maps of the Cities They Loved…
I have always loved maps ever since I can remember — so much so that as a boy, I used to draw my own maps. Along with a keen sense of direction, I can remember how my relatives and friends would marvel at my creations and my awareness of the world around me, which naturally contributed to my passion for travel…
If 8 Famous Artists Created Maps of the Cities They Loved…
…and this article — which was written by Andrew Boyd for Credit Card Compare — gives a graphical glimpse into eight top travel destinations around the world in the form of “maps” which include key points of interest with each city.
Of course, the maps are neither accurate nor to scale — but let us venture on a virtual journey of those eight destinations in the world, with which I have been given express written permission to use in this article. Verbatim text from the aforementioned article is in quotes above each “map”, with brief notes added by me for some of the destinations below each “map.”
1. Tokyo, Japan — Yayoi Kusama
“Before venturing to New York to be part of its much-lauded avant-garde scene, Yayoi Kusama began her career exhibiting in Tokyo. Most famous for her iconic polka-dot motifs, which she uses liberally in her main mediums of installation and sculpture, Kusama also channels her creativity through painting, performance, film, fashion and poetry. In 2014, she opened a five-storey museum in Tokyo dedicated to her work: the Yayoi Kusama Museum.”
Tokyo is a city where I surprisingly felt at home when I visited. I enjoyed the food; I marveled at the sights; the transportation system is remarkably efficient; and the people were accommodating and friendly — especially as they greatly appreciated when I spoke to them with my very limited command of Japanese…
…and yet, one really does not need to know Japanese to get around, as English is rather prevalent in Tokyo.
2. London, England — Banksy
“Hidden behind a veil of anonymity, British graffiti artist Banksy is well known for his controversial and thought-provoking art, which comments on consumer culture, geopolitical conflicts and modern life. He mainly uses stencils and spray paint, and he has stable motifs that commonly appear in his work, including rats and police officers. His worldwide success has pushed his work into other fields, including film-making and a dystopian theme park, Dismaland. But he stays close to his street art roots and still pops up in his favourite locations around England.”
I may have to return to London to get more of its vibe — especially as I still have yet to ride on a double decker bus even though I had done so in places such as Brazil. I also missed out on the fish and chips, as Dublin is the closest place where I enjoyed that treat. The air was miserably cold and windy when I last visited London; but I did enjoy driving elsewhere in England — including to places such as Stonehenge, Dover and Brighton.
3. Florence, Italy — Leonardo da Vinci
“A painter, architect, inventor and anatomist, da Vinci brought together his genius and creativity to break the boundaries of what existed before him. His many notebooks — nearly indecipherable and often written in code — contain plans for planes, helicopters and bicycles. Living and working in the Florence of the Medici’s, he received the patronage and creative stimuli necessary to inspire one of the greatest artists of all time.”
I have never been to Florence; but I hope to return to Italy one day. Despite having been to that country several times, I still have never been to certain cities, landmarks and destinations — and I would like to also visit San Marino and Vatican City as well.
4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands — Vincent van Gogh
“Van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter and is among the most influential and well-known artists in Western art. His intense personal expression, heavy and dramatic brushstrokes and bold colours were founding elements for much of modern art. Though originally there to attend university, van Gogh often took long walks around Amsterdam to admire its beauty — no doubt a source of inspiration.”
I would not necessarily give my ear to visit Amsterdam, as I have been there several times; but I will most likely return later this year.
Interestingly, when people think of Amsterdam, they do not usually think of the canals, which rival Venice.
5. Los Angeles, United States of America — David Hockney
“Born in Bradford, David Hockney was one of the progenitors of the British Pop Art scene but has been closely associated with Los Angeles since the 1960s. He’s widely known for his bright and wavy swimming pools, as well as fantastically coloured landscapes depicting the Californian countryside he passed en route from his Malibu beach house to his studio in the Hollywood Hills.”
I was never particularly fond of the Los Angeles area, as I have been there countless times for both business and leisure — from Beverly Hills to Malibu; from Torrance to Van Nuys; from downtown to the airport; from Disneyland to the Queen Mary. I have had my fair share of being able to talk to the drivers in the opposite direction on the San Diego Freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic which failed to move. I have many friends who still live in the area. However, I do remember my time on stage at the Hollywood Bowl. Okay, I was not a performer; and I was the only person there — but I thought that it was really cool, just the same.
6. New York, United States of America — Andy Warhol
After beginning his career as a commercial artist and illustrator, Andy Warhol became one of the most famous proponents of Pop Art, beginning in the 1960s with silk-screened paintings of Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. His New York City studio, ‘The Factory,’ became a hive for contemporary celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando. Though often criticised for his open embrace of the art market and promotion of consumerist ideology, he was, to many, an inspirational creator who made art accessible to the masses.
New York is where I was born and raised; and it is where I went to college — but I have never characterized it as a city which can be defined by only one person, attraction, food, culture or other factor. For that reason, this map did not particularly work for me.
Despite having traveled all over the world, New York is still one of my favorite cities. Perhaps I am biased; but that will always be the case…
7. Melbourne, Australia — Sidney Nolan
“One of Australia’s greatest modernist artists, Sir Sidney Nolan was inspired by his formative years in Melbourne and spent his career painting the Australian countryside and the lore of bush life. His works on the theme of 19th-century bushranger Ned Kelly are widely regarded as one of the greatest series of Australian paintings of the 20th century. Through his impressive landscapes and depiction of man’s interaction with them, there’s no doubt that Nolan’s work had a definite impact on ideas of Australian identity.”
Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra are four cities to which I have not yet visited in Australia, having preferred to be in Sydney, Cairns and Uluru, which is also known as Ayer’s Rock — and yes, I climbed it to the top before I understood what were the sacred beliefs of the Aboriginal people pertaining to that landmark; although I understand that climbing it will no longer be permitted in 2019.
I have a video of that climb to the top. Perhaps I will highlight it in a future article here at The Gate.
On a side note, I wonder if Melbourne Nolan would do a map of Sydney…
8. Johannesburg, South Africa — William Kentridge
“Born in 1955, in Johannesburg, William Kentridge is best known for his stark, bold charcoal drawings, which he films during the production process and then presents as works themselves. His parents were lawyers, well-known for their work defending apartheid victims, and Kentridge’s work often takes on themes of social justice. To fully grasp and appreciate his art, it’s often necessary to understand the South African socio-political condition and history.”
Perhaps I am incorrect; but when I visited South Africa, Johannesburg seemed similar to Atlanta to me in that it is not the typical center of activity. Sandton is like Buckhead, for example…
…but I did visit what was then the tallest building in Africa — and I did go up to the top floor — but I still have yet to post the views from that building. I will add that to my ever-growing list of trip reports which I need to complete.
To this day, I still use interactive maps — such as Google Maps, for example — and study them for no other reason than just because. Combine that with earning my Bachelor of Arts degree at one of the top art schools in the world and my passion for travel; and this article naturally interested me.
I hope that it interested you as well.
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.