Matthew Haussler

Can you make your way through Millennium Park with nothing but a pencil?

If you like adult coloring books, prepare to lose many hours of your life to this even more intricate, throwback hobby: finding your way around hand-drawn mazes that loop through the Chicago cityscape.

Through a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign, artist Matthew Haussler is raising money for his second set of maze booklets, each page of which depicts a Chicago park, skyline, or neighborhood in an artful black and white sketch. Every image is a separate maze—like the ones you can find on the back of a children’s menu in a restaurant, except these are complex enough to drive kids insane and keep grown-up puzzle-solvers occupied for hours.

Haussler raised money for his first round of booklets last year, and held an art exhibition that featured several blown-up versions of the mazes in a Chicago Intelligentsia coffeehouse over the summer.

Matthew Haussler

In 2009, when he was working as a bank teller, Haussler doodled mazes on his break as a way of unwinding. About two years later, he had the golden idea: “I’ve done these things called negative space drawings, which is where you draw the area around an object instead of drawing the object,” Haussler says. “And I thought, ‘Hey, I can do those, and mix the mazes into it.”

Before he knew it, he was making mazes out of everything—buildings, fish, people. In 2013, he quit his bank job, made a full-time go at maze-making, and the Chicago mazes were born.

Haussler in the process of drawing his (almost) record-breaking maze.

In January of last year, he unveiled his most extensive work to date at Block 37, a shopping center in downtown Chicago: a 74-foot-long hand-drawn maze that took him eight months to complete. It’s so large and detailed that it’s proven impossible for him to upload on a computer as one image. Until someone solves it, the official Guinness World Record for longest maze remains out of his grasp—but for Haussler, the accomplishment is in the art itself.

Matthew Haussler
Matthew Haussler
Matthew Haussler

Haussler’s eventual goal is to make a maze book for every major city in the world. For now, the new maze booklet will contain images of Wrigley Field, the U.S. Cellular Field (where the White Sox play), the Chicago Water Tower, and several areas around the Loop.

Booklet, from $10 at Kickstarter.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

  2. Equity

    The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike

    Because of coronavirus, millions of tenants won’t be able to write rent checks. But calls for a rent holiday often ignore the longer-term economic effects.

  3. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  4. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  5. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

×