The Night City Sky maps.

Posted on November 28, 2016 by Bench Bookkeeping | 0 comments

One of the disadvantages to living in Chicago (and most big cities, for that matter) is missing out on a clear view of the night sky. What's worse is forgetting it's up there.

Whenever we head back to Katie's hometown in more pristine northwestern PA, I'm always blown away by the epic night scene that reveals itself nearly every night. These days, the closest I'll get to the night sky from within the Chicago city limits is a visit to the planetarium and packet of astronaut ice cream.

This past summer, Katie challenged me to come up with a way to combine the fascinating patterns of city streets with the immense depth and unique patterns of the night sky. Many iterations and false starts and trashed drafts later, we finally came to a design that we liked a lot. The series includes Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston, New York, and San Francisco.

We're happy to introduce this as out latest print release, and it's available exclusively through Uncommon Goods. Right here. Image below for your consideration.

In other news: If you're interested in anything from my storefront, use the offer code THETURKEY15 for 15% off all purchases until December 4.

Thanks for reading. There's some work that I'm chipping away at that I can't wait to share with you. In the meantime, I wish you a great and comfortable holiday season for you and yours. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any ideas for projects, prints, or world peace.
All the Best,
Phil

The Origins, the Minimal City, the Press, the Venues

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Maps & The City

Anyone who knows me might say, among other things, "This guy loves maps." That is true. The other day I got to thinking about why I started making maps at all.

Katie and I used to live in Bucktown right on Armitage and Western. There were two places nearby that we loved: Margie's Candies, a 100-year old sundae shop offering up huge servings smothered in homemade chocolate; and the Map Room, one of the great pioneering beer bars of this city.

Around 2009 or so I was in the Map Room drinking with my longtime friend Matt. Looking at the maps plastered all over the walls, I was struck with an idea to make a map of the city's best beer bars. I went on to research and ink that map, Katie colored it, we released it to the public, and it got some nice traction. It was a lot of fun and it took us to some new corners of the city.

As the years passed, other beer bars popped up everywhere, ordinary bars started calling themselves beer bars, and worst of all, some of the bars that were on my map closed. So, like many maps, it faded and became a snapshot in time. Nonetheless, I love the fact that this map is one point in time that I remember well.

there are some Easter eggs in the map that are fun to revisit. For example, I drew two of my friends who first introduced me to beer better than Yeungling. Here's Tom and Jim (below), talking and walking outside The Map Room.

The Minimal City

Earlier this summer, I decided to make a departure from my typical style. I wondered how I could reduce the city of Chicago to a very minimal presentation while preserving some soul of the city. That led me through many, many drafts, some using criss-crossing lines, following its grid-like pattern of roads. I finally settled on a design that showed some continuity from the horizontal streets through to the waves of Lake Michigan, and was happy with the outcome.

I thought the lines needed to really pop out, and so I settled on a screen printing the design in gold ink on a Midnight Blue stock. This was created at Hoofprint in Pilsen, under their expert advice. (I highly recommend checking them out, by the way. They provide a range of printing services all from a converted Funeral Home.)

Here's the print in final form. 18" x 18" on heavy French Paper. Available on my site here.

    

Cape Horn Illustration in the Press 

It was a great honor to have Runner's World feature the Cape Horn marathon maps. If you or your friends and family are running a race this Fall, let me just say Good Luck. My hat's off to you. I haven't run a marathon since the Chicago Marathon in 2013 and every time I think about doing another one I pass out in fear of mile 18. If you're running this year, get in touch and I'll get you a good deal on a framed marathon map print. Runner's World article is here

It was also a huge honor to have the Chicago Alphabet featured in an article by Patty Wetli of DNAInfo! She does great reporting on news in the neighborhood and in the greater Ravenswood area. Read about the origins of the print and some of the early scratch-work and sketches. 

As always, I'm offering the ABC's to Chicago-area teachers for free--right now I estimate the print is in 30+ classrooms! Get in touch if you're a teacher or know one. Click the image below for more product details:

New Places & New Work

If you're local, find my work at the great shop, Neighborly, on Montrose and Damen. I've always loved their selection of well-designed, locally sourced products, and I'm proud now that my work is part of their lineup. That includes recent releases like the Minimal City print and the Chicago Alphabet.

Also exciting news: I've worked with the Brooklyn-based retailer Uncommon Goods for some time now--they sell three of my marathon maps and the home portraiture through their site. I'm proud to say that we've deepened the partnership to include a set of prints that will be released very shortly. It will be sold exclusively through Uncommon Goods and be featured prominently in their marketing. Stay tuned for a newsletter all about that print. Hint: It's a map. (Shocked?)

Two upcoming Chicago fairs where Katie and I will be showing our work. Stop by and say hello: Thanks for making it all the way to the bottom, dearest reader. You can get to my site this way.

Chicago Flag Art. How would famous artists have interpreted the flag?

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Short exercise. Can you put the artist to the variations on the Chicago flags below? Let me know in the comments. 


Number 1:chicago flag matisse

Number 2:
chicago flag mondrian


Number 3:
chicago flag pollock


Number 4:
chicago flag rothko


Number 5:
chicago flag warhol


Number 6:
chicago flag lichtenstein


Number 7:
chicago flag neon


Number 8:
chicago flag van gogh

The Chicago Alphabet, decoded!

Posted on September 07, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Want the full run-down of the Chicago Alphabet? You've come to the right place :) Keep scrolling down for the letters!

A is for Adler (Planetarium), 

B is for Bean, 

C is for Cubbies, 

D is for Deep Dish, 

E is for Elevated Train, 

F is for Ferris Wheel, 

G is for Grant Park, 

H is for Hancock Building, 

I is for Illinois, 

J is for Jazz (& Blues), 

K is for Kick-off, 

L is for Lake, 

M is for Magnificent Mile (or Michigan Avenue), 

N is for Navy Pier, 

O is for O'Hare, 

P is for Picasso (sculpture in Daley Plaza), 

Q is for aQuarium, 

R is for River, 

S is for Snow, 

T is for T-Rex, 

U is for U-Boat, 

V is for Victory, 

W is for World's Fair (or White City) in 1893, 

X is for (White) soX, 

Y is for "Yes, We Can!" 

Z is for Zoo!

The End. Happy spelling! Click here to go back!

Breweries of Chicago: Latest Map!

Posted on August 02, 2016 by Bench Bookkeeping | 0 comments

Back in 2010, I came out with the map of Chicago's great beer bars. The idea had struck, if you can believe it, when I was having a beer at Map Room. When we released it, we did a few beer events like Beer Hoptacular. It was there I met Liz Garibay, who was giving history tours of Chicago bars and also creating an app around those bars. Lots of enthusiasm for new projects.

Fast forward 6 years and we've collaborated on this new map, Breweries of Chicago, which we're happy to now release. This shows 41 of Chicago's breweries, from Ale Syndicate Brewers to Vice District Brewing Company. We've got long-established spots like Goose Island Clybourn, as well as newer places like Band of Bohemia.

We hope to inspire Chicago beer lovers to head out and visit all of these spots, sample the beer, and enjoy the variety of life. This is available on my site here. The shortened link is www.chibrewmap.com

Chicago Brewery Map

    Building Drawings: Commemorating Great Buildings for Customers

    Posted on July 08, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    I wanted to share a few examples of building drawings I've done for customers. 

    The first example is the Rookery, which I carried out for an architect I met at the Ravenswood art walk. I've posted this elsewhere, but wanted to walk through the panels.

    The first is an elevation drawing. This took a while. I started with a tour of the Rookery, which I believe was given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and I took tons of photos.

    Rookery drawing

    Drawing of the Rookery interior:

    Drawing the Rookery exterior details:

    Rookery exterior drawing details

    So that's an example of a building drawing that's historic. The Rookery is stunning. It's like Chicago's Taj Mahal, and definitely deserves all the attention. So glad that it was restored to its current glory, I believe in the 80s.

    But there's other work that I do, some of which is less prominent on the site. Here's one that I did for developer Evan Oliff, who wanted to show off one of his properties and present an original to his client:

    Storefront Rendering in Pen and ink

    Yet another building drawing example is something like the one below--made for the Skokie County Club. This is a drawing of the exterior of their building. The final version had the names of all the board members in a coin-like medallion over the building.

    Skokie Country Club drawing pen and ink Finally, one other example of the custom building drawing is this one, done for the great restaurant Daniel in New York. They wanted to have a holiday card with their building facade done and thought that it would have more character if done by hand.

    Daniel Restaurant drawing

    And this is the final version of their card:

    Daniel Restaurant holiday card

    So that's just a small sample of the building drawings I do. Please get in touch here and let me know what I can do for you.

    Little Cottage, Gold Coast

    Posted on June 26, 2016 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    In 1871, fire swept through Chicago, ravaging a huge swath of the city from 18th Street to Fullerton Avenue. In its ashes, citizens immediately began the process of building the city taller and more stately.

    In 1872, one of those citizens built a cottage of his own at 1241 N. State Street. Like most of the cottages popping up at the time, it was brick rather than combustible wood, suited to the narrow lots, economicalgood for a worker and his family.

    Within a decade or so that worker had new neighbors: distinguished families like Potter, Goodman, and Lincoln, all living in mansions. Today, Gold Coast is chic, bustling, populated, and well-developed.

    That worker's cottage is the last of its kind, nestled among larger multi-unit buildings that are almost literally squeezing the cottage between them. The economy of the neighborhood is almost like a slow tectonic force acting on a grain of sand.

    DNAInfo recently reported that this cottage has just been sold to a developer with plans to demolish the home and build something more lucrative in its place.  

    I love a free market. I don't begrudge the seller or the developer. There's an opportunity to add value to a property that had been so neglected, its exterior was crumbling and its kitchen lacked appliances. No one was showing it much lovethat is, until its sale made the news.

    On the other hand, I love that this home is a slice of the city's history. It has cultural value to anyone who loves and appreciates that history. More than an artifact, though, the home stands for the long-forgotten people who passed through. It's a thing that holds tight to the past and asks you to remember, despite the weather and the years.

    —————

    If you want to support the preservation of this home and others like it, the organization Preservation Chicago takes the lead on issues like this. I'm not affiliated with them.

    DIGITAL IMAGE: The sketch below is available for free in a downloadable high-resolution 8.5" x 11" pdf.

    PRINT: Or if you'd prefer, we can send you a signed print on high-quality, heavy stock paper. That's available for purchase here for $16. I also do custom home and building portraits. For more like this home, check out this gallery of home drawings.

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