Nikki Rosato Creates Intricate Portraits Out of Old Maps




Wired’s Underwired blog examines the work of artist Nikki Rosato, who creates human forms by cutting away at maps, leaving only roads and rivers behind. Here’s her artist statement:

Our physical bodies are beautiful structures full of detail, and they hold the stories that haunt and mold our lives. The lines on a road map are beautifully similar to the lines that cover the surface of the human body.

In my most recent work involving maps, as I remove the landmasses from the silhouetted individuals I am further removing the figure’s identity, and what remains is a delicate skin-like structure. Through this process, specific individuals become ambiguous and hauntingly ghost-like, similar to the memories they represent.

Below, “Couple: Boston, MA,” 2009.


The Art of Maps: John Speed Atlas Online

The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (thumbnail)

John Speed’s atlas, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, first published 400 years ago, has been digitized and put online by the Cambridge University Library, which possesses one of only five sets of proof maps. (Zoomify format; Flash required.) Print copies for sale. News coverage from the Daily Mail; a gallery of Speed’s maps from BBC News.