Friday, March 18, 2016

Zansky's Fortuna

When I'm bored, one of my favourite things to do is take a random walk through Google Maps. I still find it mind-boggling that we have the ability to walk the streets of almost any place in the world, all from the comfort of our living room. At its base, Google Maps brings the world closer together, and allows us to travel to places we may not otherwise be able to visit.

What's even better is the way that people have been inspired by the mass of information that Google Maps provides. For example, you can play a game called GeoGuessr, guessing where in the world a random street view resides. It's very addictive.

In comes an illustrator/graphic designer named Zansky. Fresh outta Brazil, his website explains that he works mainly with printed materials and graphic arts (offset, silkscreen, letterpress, woodcuts, fingerprint). This is the stuff I really love about graphic design, being able to get away from the increasingly digitized world in which we pixel-push all day long. Or, at least I feel like that's what I'm doing sometimes.

But what does Zansky have to do with Google Maps? In his wonderful project entitled Fortuna, he works with randomly chosen street view images, creating intensely bright landscapes that the viewer could certainly get lost in.

I especially love the way he incorporates the blurred sides of some Google Maps images (something I find quintessential in any street view), using them to make the prints seem somehow ethereal or psychedelic. It's like I'm taking a street view walk through an acid trip.

Even the bus in the image below reminds me of the way some images in street view capture moving objects in a seemingly glitched-out way. It's great.

A little about Zansky's process:
Fortuna is a series of artworks based on the idea of map exploration without knowing the destination, before spinning any 'wheel of fortune,' there is a starting point. Using Google Street View, I pick a random spot and start exploring. Each step in a new direction is captured to be used as a reference. Then, those screen captures are reinterpreted using three colors. The results are figurative landscapes that look like abstractions with a psychedelic feeling.”
After selecting an image to work from, Zansky takes a decidedly digitally-created medium (digital photography taken by one of those crazy Google Maps camera cars) and applies analog methods (in this case, screenprinting with three colours) to create the final pieces.

I really appreciate his decision to use analog techniques applied to computer-generated subject matter. In a way, it makes the images seem more real to me, in that a bus could somehow end up looking like a caterpillar with a fat butt. Why not?

Zansky has collected these works in a book of the same name as the project with beautiful spreads for your otherwise boring coffee table. Check out more of his work on his website.

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