In our depictions of place, what doors does art open that a medium like photography
just can’t access?
AS SOMEONE WITH LITTLE TO NO ARTISTIC TALENT, I’m fascinated by the ways in which people are able to describe place when freed from the constraints of language and camera lenses. Used effectively, fantastical images, iconography / typography, and journal sketches like those below transmit not only details of place, but the ‘feel’ of how individuals interact with it.
How would you creatively illustrate your home? Share your work in the comments.
[Note: All images and artist notes come courtesy of our friends at Global Yodel, who remind us that "one's home is another's destination." Check them out.]
Pointe Saint-Charles, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Artist: Sophie Casson
Notes: "This is the corner of the street where I live, on Centre street and Charlevoix. The front door to my apartment is behind a tree on the image. This neighborhood is called Pointe Saint-Charles and historically was working-class. Its residents worked for the Grand Trunk, the railroad that ran through Canada from East to West. The architecture has beginning-of-the-century charm and the area still emanates a working class aura, although it is becoming very gentrified since it is very well situated close to bridges, downtown, the subway (on the image, the symbol with the circle and arrow, Charlevoix station) and the busy Atwater Market, by the Canal Lachine which boasts a great cycling path… That’s me on the image, as I often feel like a voyeur, staring through my studio window at the variety of the residents on the sidewalk, either living in the area or working here, or walking out of the ill-frequented bar on the corner of my street. There are sometimes familiar faces, having been living in the area for twelve years."
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Artist: Bonnie Gloris
Notes: "This mixed media postcard highlights the kitschiest aspects of my charming neighborhood: Journal Square, in Jersey City, NJ. It features iconic landmarks such as Loew’s Theater, the former Maniac Shack (torn down for redevelopment that never occurred), and venues of choice for toothless drunks, including Journal Square Pub and Boulevard Drinks. It also incorporates JSQ residents’ gravitation towards fake fur, cars, and general flashiness."
Artist: Daniel Stolle
Notes: "The building on the corner of Hämeenpuisto and Satakunnankatu in Tampere, Finland. The image is a part of a series I once started. Capturing the “charming” architecture of our town."
A little known fact about where you live? "Stalin and Lenin met here first time, 200m from our house."
The Duomo, Milan, Italy
Artist: Olimpia Zagnoli
Notes: "Sketching and watching the sunset on top of the Duomo by myself is something I never did."
Can you sum up Milan? "Lady in a sage tailleur shows her secrets only to poets and explorers."
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Artist: Sasha Prood
Notes: "My postcard describes elements from a normal day at my local farmers market. To add a level of complexity to the image, these elements form letters that spell out ‘Brooklyn’ in a playful ‘hidden message’ style."
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Artist: Tommy Perman
Notes: "I’ve chosen to draw the old Furniture Centre which is below the flat I live in. It closed down a little over a year ago and like a lot of old shops in this area there’s plans to turn it into flats. This depresses me as I think it’s much better for communities to have a mix of shops and residential properties. This is the first image in a series I’m trying to find time to create which has the working title of ‘Leith in Black and Red’. Leith is an area of north Edinburgh – it's famous for being Edinburgh’s port and has played an important role in the history of the city and Scotland. Leithers seem to be very proud of their neighbourhood and it has a stronger sense of identity that any other area of the city. I like it a lot. It’s a diverse, multicultural part of town and there’s loads of great people living here."
Artist: Steven Moreau
Notes: "This map is my feeling about Hanoi, messy and organized, logic and illogical…"
Artist: Nick Agin
Title of piece: Can Anybody Hear Me?
Garfield Park, South Pasadena, California, USA
Artist: Jesse Tise
Notes: "South Pasadena’s this small but beautiful town, with lots of old craftsman-style houses and greenery and plant life everywhere. There's lots of rambling side streets that crisscross through hilly terrain; ideal stomping grounds when you just feel like dropping all your work and going out for a nighttime stroll. I teach during the day in Downtown L.A., so coming home to South Pas is often a welcome change from life in the city. Garfield Park is definitely that one spot in South Pasadena where everyone goes to relax and take a break from the stress of everyday life. It's a fairly big but quiet park, so it's easy to just meditate there, and let the world slow down around you."
Plymouth, Devon, UK
Artist: Owen Jones
Notes: "With no disrespect to the City itself (which I love), the best thing about living in Plymouth is the surrounding area. With the stunning rugged moorland and countryside to the North and some of the country’s best beaches to the south, Plymouth is positioned perfectly for anyone who loves the great outdoors! When the weather is good, and if you’ve got wheels, there’s never going to be a shortage of fun and adventurous activities you can engage in. I hope that I never take for granted what a beautiful part of the world I live in."
Church of San Cristoforo, Milan, Italy
Artist: Marco Ventura
Notes: "This is a pencil drawing I made on June 21st, 2009 in my Moleskine. It’s the Church of San Cristoforo on Naviglio. It’s built on the side of the Naviglio Grande Canal. I go running along the canal with friends and the starting point is always this church. The Church was built in the 13th century and then in the 15th century another building was built next the old one as a vote by the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzi Visconti, after the end of a terrible plague that had killed 20,000 people in the city during the year 1399."
Assemblée Nationale, Paris, France
Artist: Eleni Kalorkoti
Notes: "Outside the Assemblée Nationale metro on a rainy day, just a short walk along the Seine away from the Musée D’Orsay."
A perfect day in Paris? "Doing lots of wandering around looking at beautiful things in the day, then doing lots of sitting down drinking beer in the evening."
Artist: Ricardo Cavolo
Title of piece: Kings of Hope
Preoccupation: "The world where my sons will live."
The Bean, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Artist: Jesse Hora
Notes: "Cloud Gate, or 'The Bean' as locals call it, has become an icon of Chicago because it is like nothing you have seen. It is a public sculpture in Millennium Park; it is huuuge, it's super shiny and it's sort of odd when you first see it. Not odd in a bad way, just odd in the way that you don’t really know what it is or what it’s supposed to be or mean. Let me fill you in, the shiny surface was intended to reflect and distort the immense Chicago skyline. So for Global Yodel, I decided to flip it a bit and have numerous Chicago icons integrated into The Bean."
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Artist: lindA zackS
Notes: "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 times – back & forth – over & under & through – all different"
A little known Williamsburg fact? "It’s a hipster-Italian-Polish-Hasidic-Puerto Rican milkshake."
The Mission, San Francisco, California, USA
Artist: Lisa Congdon
Notes: "My postcard is designed for an old abandoned theater on Mission Street, which is in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco, and is just a few blocks from where I live. The New Mission Theater has this really tall and iconic Art Deco style sign and so immediately I knew I wanted to draw it. There is talk of the theater being bought and renovated int0 a modern day theater. Negotiations are in the works."
Artist: Marcel Kaczmarek
Notes: "These postcards are shown in pairs, one with a photo of modernist Soviet architecture and the other one exactly the same although covered with “ugly” ads that are everywhere in our city. This is to emphasize the early capitalism issue in our country, where advertisement just went too far."
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Artist: Lan Truong
Title of piece: Trees and Football
A little known fact about where you live? "Madonna went to school at the University of Michigan for a couple of years before dropping out and moving to New York."
North Bergen, New Jersey, USA
Artist: Angela Navarra
Notes: "New Jersey just so happens to be the diner capital of the world. I grew up in areas that were flooded with these 24-hour, All-You-Can-Eat places. Each one has its own charm and specialty. One with amazing Disco Fries (fries with cheese and gravy), another with killer milkshakes and Baklava that will just make you wonder if you are even in Jersey anymore."
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Notes: Peter Skwiot Smith
Title of piece: Reflections on Water
Notes: "Saint Paul is a beautiful urban area tucked inside of an even more beautiful area of nature. There are many things that people might claim define the area, and I’m not going to try and claim this is the most important one, but it’s one of the most defining aspects for sure: water. We have the Mississippi River, which starts here in Minnesota, flows south, cutting through both Saint Paul & Minneapolis (and in the Twin Cities sports amazing trails along both the east & west banks). Then of course there are our 10,000 lakes."