Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Modern Map Art

Rarely on QC/D do I feature promotions for products other than my own work, but occasionally something cool comes along. If you're looking for something unique that also features a personal connection, Modern Map Art is worth checking out.

- Cincinnati print via Modern Map Art.

QC/D has been around for nearly a decade, and over that time I’ve gotten a lot of emails. Sometimes they’re tips on a story, other times a thank you, and occasionally someone just sharing a memory triggered by a piece they read. Within all those thoughtful correspondences though, there’s plenty of spam and people who try to get you to promote their products for free. Occasionally though, you’ll get a genuine email sharing something really cool, something creative, and something relevant. Such was the case when I got an email from Jennifer at She’s created these images based on maps from around the world, featuring cities ranging from Akron, Ohio to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She offered to send me one of the prints featuring Cincinnati. I love maps, I love art, and I liked Jennifer’s designs. However, I also love Cincinnati and have an apartment (as well as several boxes in storage) filled with pieces on the wall proudly displaying the name of my home. So Jennifer was awesome enough to let my partner, Laura, and I choose a different city.

We chose Prague.

After a few days, Jennifer kindly to sent us a print featuring the capital city of the Czech Republic. The quality of the print is great and the design is simple while still displaying all the details of the historic city’s arteries, waterways, and rail lines. While I really like the black and white designs of her work, we opted for the “Red” option: a bold, bright map featuring water in blue and travel routes in white on matte paper. The colored option went better with the existing prints in our apartment study, which is also filled with other stylized maps. I really like the print and appreciate the design work that went into it. I can honestly and sincerely recommend Jennifer’s modern map work. If you want to show pride in a place, affection for a locale, or having something on your wall that start’s a good story, Jennifer’s probably got the city you’re looking for here with a range of sizes and color. In addition to the city designs, she also offers ski slopes and nations. Don't want a print? You can also get the artwork on a phone or pillow case.

If you decided to pick something up, I'd very much appreciate if you used the QC/D referral link here.

But, why Prague?

- Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic. Image via

I’ve never been outside of the United States’ lower 48 (something I plan to change soon), but Laura has. From teaching in Romania to recently visiting Denmark, she’s seen a lot more of the world than I have, so she’s the one who recommended Prague. In all of her travel, Prague is a place that’s really stuck with her. So I asked her to share exactly why she appreciates the historic city so much.

Here are Laura’s words: 

They say you never forget your first love, and your first visit to a foreign city is also no exception.  
When Delta touched down on the tarmac in May of 2010, I was clutching a Czech language phrasebook in one hand and my "safety first!" money bag in the other. Coins unfamiliar to me rattled around as we bounced down the runway. From my window I saw trees and fog. 

"We could be anywhere," I remember thinking through my looming jet lag, my own personal fog.

But I wasn't just anywhere and I wasn't participating in just anything. A ritual rite of passage for many, I was studying abroad in a city that I had spent months reading voraciously about. I had memorized what I thought was the proper pronunciation of "hello" and "thank you." I found out pretty soon after departing the airport that memorization does not guarantee communication.

Like most traditional college kids, I was naive and achingly unaware of my own privilege. Armed with one of my best friends and an "understanding of the world" cushioned by the laurels of higher academe, I felt invincible. But my time in Prague slapped me firmly to the ground, where I belonged. Only then could I gaze upon the city with the right perspective.

Prague sits at the crossroads of many things: old and new, east and west, light and dark. It is the greatest study of contrasts I have encountered. Steeped tragically in blood, but also the promising throes of renaissance, it is a stalwart guide for those of us who simply cannot comprehend the atrocious events of the past, and who are wary of what may come in the future.

Preserved by Nazi invaders during WW2 with the intent to make it a living museum, Hitler’s reverence for history ironically saved the city from the violent destruction seen elsewhere in Europe. The 14th century Charles Bridge, connecting land across the Vltava river and flanked by statues of saints, is just one of the many invaluable landmarks that emerged unscathed. Those statues, silent sentries, were witnesses to my own personal transformation.

I spent my time outside of class exploring with not-to-scale maps and taking photographs with a point-and-shoot camera. "Would the technology of 2017 aided or hampered me?" I have wondered. I eventually came to this shaky conclusion: perhaps it would have done neither. Perhaps Prague would have felt exactly the same; it is Prague that has safely weathered the passage of time. Our technological advances pale in comparison to the bridge that has survived countless generations and mass genocide.

I returned to the United States with brand new eyes and a copy of 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' by Czech author Milan Kundera. In exchange, quid pro quo, I left behind a map of the inner workings of my 21-year-old soul. If I ever return, I suspect I will find that map still intact, couched between stones on the Charles Bridge, horrifically out of date. It brings immense pleasure to now own a map that so artfully captures the complexity of a city that still holds sway over me, and will likely never cease to do so. 

- Laura Evers

- Charles Bridge at night. Image via

Grabbing something from Modern Map Art? Use the QC/D referral link here.

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