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.
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.
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.
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.