Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Artist Matthew Picton evokes specific historical events or time periods with the art, text, even paper he chooses to use.
Matthew Picton pulls off a neat artistic trick -- not only does he create sculptures of cities, he also layers in their histories.
In his series "Paper Sculptures," Picton creates hand-cut and folded paper 3D street grids. He also incorporates art, text, or even special paper to evoke something specific about the city (often, a historical event or time period). So, for example, Picton's London "Great Fire" of 1666 map depicts burned illustrations of 17th century street life. In the case of Las Vegas, Picton uses neon green paper decorated solely by the words from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
It's a concept that stemmed from Picton's eagerness to add more depth to his early map art. "I started to want to introduce more elements of actual text and history," he says, adding that he "started trying to imagine as to how to sculpt the spaces in between the streets."
One of the biggest challenges, he says, is deciding what highlight. "Enough history has to be read and understood in order to be able to select and place the literature," Picton says. "Lately the challenge has been assimilating all the reading required to produce a work."
Picton's "Paper Sculptures" will be on exhibit at the Toomey Tourell Fine Art gallery in San Francisco from June 6 to July 14. An eBook with his works, Urban Histories; A Fictional Perspective, is also available for sale.
Below, a look at some of the maps:
Moscow (French invasion of Russia, 1812)