Sunday, December 16, 2012

Systems, systems, systems.......

As most of you know by now the creation of the Map is based on a series of systems which dictate the manner in which it is executed.

The same is true of the selling of Map panels and prints. Each time I work on a panel (as determined by the draw of the cards) I make a copy of that panel and sign and date it. I offer those prints for sale on eBay. The price is determined by the average sale price to date. I take that average and multiply it by 1.2. If the print doesn't sell at that price within 30 days I re-list it at 80% of the original price. I reduce it another 20% each month after that until it sells. In that way the market determines the price of the prints. The first offering price is currently around $15.

I am now posting the available prints from North to South. I post two new prints for every one that sells.

Take a look and start collecting now! Thanks!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My software quandary/plea!

I compose panels like the one above on my Photo Smart software that came with an HP printer that is now long discarded. That software is the best photo manipulation system I have ever had the pleasure of using. It is simple, intuitive, and does what I want it to without confusing me or making me scream expletives. I can drag my scanned 8 by 10 inch panel images onto a custom 16-panel grid, and the software resizes them for me.

All that is well and good, but here's the problem: it's installed on my 15-year old, soon-to-retire desktop, and I don't have the installation disk. People a lot smarter than I am have tried to copy the software so that it could be installed on a newer computer, but their attempts have failed.

What can I do? Does anyone know of a program that can do what I need? Everyone suggests Adobe Elements, but I don't want to buy it without being sure that it will work. I tried to download a trial copy but got bogged down in the process. Help!  I am very open to suggestions!

And thanks for listening to my rant!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The next step....

And now the show is over. The Map sits in a dozen boxes in my garage waiting for the ride to Michigan. With any luck it will be unpacked and re-installed on shelves in my back bedroom studio at the farm by November 10 or 11. And I will be back at work on it! I can't wait!

The MASS MoCA show was a huge success- at least from my vantage point. The staff, headed by Joe Thompson, Sue Killam, and Eric Enderle, was extremely supportive. They seem to answer all questions with a "Yes!" They undertake any project with the attitude that anything is possible. And then they manage to pull it off! I owe them a huge debt of gratitude!

PS...big thanks to Steve Taylor who rode the scary Genie lift to get this spectacular picture. Greg Whitmore's updated video will be coming along soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The show is on!

The show at MASS MoCA opened officially last Saturday and runs through this coming Sunday, October 14. The Map is finally laid out entirely for the first time since 1985 when it was a fifth its current size. I hope that some of you following this blog will be able to come! Be sure to come say hello to me as I continue the work on this project. For directions go to

I wasn't prepared  myself for the magnitude of my Map. I had feared before arriving here that it would be dwarfed by the enormity of the black-box theater where we mounted it. But the Map more than holds its own. What a perfect setting!

In the photo I am standing with my oldest son, Aaron, right on top of Wybourne's Southwest suburbs.

Oh well!

Friday, September 21, 2012


Here it is! The original Map panel in all its faded, rumpled, tattered glory. It was mounted maybe forty years ago on recycled cardboard and then polyurethaned. The Prestype "Wybourne" is still intact.

The original four blocks are there, almost at the center, almost square. That was my starting point for creating a city which was, for me, a conflation of what I imagined London to be and what I had experienced in Washington. There are representations of Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, as well as The U.S. Capitol and The White House. A couple of railway stations were thrown in, too, because part of the romance of London was, for me, the notion that it had several train stations with exotic names.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

N23/W10: After

N23/W10: Before

What the ten of diamonds hath wrought.....

First, since the panel which came up, N23/W10, was a first generation one, it "spawned" a new panel, N26/W9,  of the same type as the original. The new sheet is shown above.

Since I don't know how to move these images around on here I will now post the Before and After images of N23/W10......

And the winner is......

....the ten of diamonds! That's the first card drawn this morning. So, I've moved down ten panels in the current stack ( N20 and higher) arriving at N23/W10. Now I will copy that panel and start work on it. In my next post I will show you the Before and After pics of the current work.

The instruction on this card is a housekeeping one: to create a new 1/32 (or larger scale) composed panel. I'll show you that, too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another sales pitch

Here  are few reasons to go to eBay right now and buy yourself a piece of Jerry's Map:

1. The Ukrainia panel pictured above is now being offered at the buy-it-now price of $13.96. The last Ukrainia panel went, at auction, for $51! So, this one is a steal.

2. If you've already bought one or more panels you can check to see if any contiguous ones are available. By buying them or those you can begin to construct your own copy of Jerry's Map.

3. Maybe you just like the graphics and would like to have a piece on your wall. You can go to any craft store and get a mat and frame (11 by 14") for under $15. For 25 or so it can be on your wall in just a few days.

4. Or maybe you just think the whole project is cool and want to show your support by contributing. It's almost like Kickstarter but without Kickstarter. Every couple of prints sold buys me a new ink cartridge. And every sale gives me the ego food it takes to keep slugging away at this endless endeavor.

5. It might be a viable investment. Who knows? The print you buy today may be worth more in the future.

Friday, August 10, 2012

More about those cards.....

I just took the top nine cards off my "Future Predictor" deck and scanned them so I could give you a better idea of what they tell me. Starting from the upper left they are:

6 Hearts: I move down six panels in my current stack, pull that sheet, make two color copies, and archive the original. One copy gets signed and offered for sale on eBay. The other copy becomes the next generation of that panel and gets revised according to basic rules which I will not go into here. Each panel has a set of cross-hairs from which all execution and revision emanates. Blank areas get painted, and already painted areas get a layer of collage. When the sheet is entirely collaged the bud of a new town appears at the cross-hairs.

Q Hearts: Move 12 panels and proceed as above. When the card is red the painting or collageing is done counter-clockwise. Black cards indicate a clockwise direction. The card also has the command "1/16" telling me to make a new 1/16 scale composed sheet  (256 panels on one 8 by 10 inch page).

5 Hearts: The command is to scan. I am continually in the process of scanning the 2600 plus panels in order to make 1/4 and 1/16 composition sheets and to give me a sense of where I am in the project.

Black King: tells me to build a new defense wall. So, that sheet will have the bud of a new Void Defense.

9 Diamonds: another "scan" command. There are several in the deck.

8 Diamonds: reads "New island if all water OR new Void Defense Wall." This gives me an alternative. Sometimes I draw a card which doesn't make sense given the panel on which I am working. I am obliged to execute the command as well as I can but also then have given myself permission to change the command on the card for the next time it comes up. I keep a list of such new commands and take the next one on the list.

7 Diamonds: "Count sheets." This is another never-ending process. Every time I archive a sheet or create a new panel I try to remember to change the count on the header sheet for that pile. Sometimes I forget. So, I have found it necessary to count manually the piles. This command obliges me to count at least one pile.

Joker: Move 15 panels, work clockwise, copy a city "master" onto label paper. Most of the collage work is done by cutting out label paper. There are stacks of various colored collage materials and folders of roads and cities. There are masters of each type, and, in this case, I will copy the top master in its stack and then return it to the bottom.

7 Diamonds: "Copy this sheet for collage." The seventh panel down the stack will be copied onto label paper for collage use. This is an example of the Map regenerating itself.

Everyone thoroughly confused? I'd be happy to answer specific questions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Slow Map

When Jerry's Map was started in August, 1963 in that production control room of the Hoover Ball Bearing factory on South State Road in Ann Arbor there were no personal computers, no color copy machines, no video games, no emails, no Walkmen, no satellite TVs, no fax machines even.

The earliest panels of the Map were executed in ballpoint pen on what was referred to as "typing paper." Since there was no word processing, term papers had to be hand-typed on one of those antique machines called "typewriters". The stats for the Map- populations, "station districts", college football scores were typed onto half-page size binder paper. Letters I wrote to friends back in Ann Arbor after I transferred to Berkeley in September, 1963 were typed, and I made a carbon copy to keep for myself.

All that now seems like the Middle Ages. I use the computer to scan images, compose smaller-scale sheets, to make labels, and to keep stats. I use the color inkjet constantly to make copies of panels so that I can revise them without losing their history. I email images. I sell prints on eBay.

But I won't resort to generating the actual Map iconography by computer. I often think what I might have created on SimCity if I had spent 49 years doing it. The satisfaction, for me, of making this Map is to see the interaction of my rules and my hand. They are, in a way, a simple, slow computer. The images emerge at a snail's pace. Panels often take years to complete.

Sometimes I feel that we move too fast in these times. We miss many details when we do. We see more of what's real from the seat of a bicycle than one of an A320. (I do love the window seats, though, I have to admit. That must be obvious from my work).

There has been a lot of talk about turning my Map into a video game. I will only want to do that when it's possible to recreate the hand-drawn quality. Will that be in my lifetime?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The two that got left behind.....

Here, for those of you who were curious, are the other two sets of large vinyl prints.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jerry's Map meets the chicken coop

My friends, Cary and Bill, who made a generous contribution to the cartridge fund coffers, are getting, in return, a series of three of these 28 by 35 inch vinyl prints. I've had three different sets printed, and, so that they could decide between the sets, mounted them on the side of the chicken coop this morning. Don't they look great?

I don't know yet which set they will choose, but the remaining six prints will be available at $220 apiece (or three for $600). If you have a blank coop or garage or fence that deserves some Map prints, let me know! I can email you photos of what's up for grabs. And.....they are UV coated and guaranteed!

Monday, June 25, 2012

About those prints on eBay......

There has been a rash of print purchases on eBay including a record $51 paid at auction by one intrepid bidder for the important Ukrainia panel shown above. Thanks!

While the sale of prints barely covers my ink costs I do appreciate them as an indication of your support for this project. Please keep it up! And remember: when you buy a print your surname goes on the list of potential names for Map features! A mountain! A lake! A whole parish!

For the record, original Map panels are also available at $320 for first generation and $80 for subsequent iterations. Signed four by five-foot billboard vinyl blow-ups can also be had at $600. If you are interested please let me know.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Note from a man on a farm....

I am at the farm. Last night's thunderstorm has passed, and the grey skies are starting to lift.

I got up this morning around six, made a cup of green tea, sweetened it with some old cherry/tomato jam that no one else in the house will eat, went upstairs to my computer to check the blog. 123 followers where there had been 82 a few days ago. What's going on?

Followed a source back to reddit and read the conversation there til I was in tears. They (you) all get it! I read on, clinging to what, by then, were only shreds of humility. And then I realized that the Map is much bigger than me and that you all are a part of it, too. Thank you all for being human and smart and loving and inquisitive. Gods one and all.

I will start to answer your questions, but the task is daunting! Please be patient!

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Semi-Official!

Sue Killam and Eric Enderle from the Hunter Center for Performing Arts at MASSMoCA in North Adams came here for a studio visit on May 1, and we talked about details for the show there this fall. They took videos of my space so that it could be re-created on the stage up there, and we talked logistics with Greg Whitmore, the videographer who will be shooting more footage during the installation and show. This is getting to be very exciting!

The concept is that the installation will be about half complete when the show opens on October 5 and will continue until Saturday afternoon, the 6th. Visitors will be able to watch the process. I will be there helping and, when the installation is done, will be working in my on-stage studio and answering questions. The show will close on Sunday the 14th or the following day. We'll be more specific soon.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Void Incursion in Penfold!

A new incursion of The Void has occurred in  Penfold, a thriving city of some 103,000 people in the parish of The Plains. The incident happened in the center of the city taking with it an estimated 7,400 residents and the second of the city's two railway stations. Leadership of the town has petitioned the Central Government to provide Void Defense walls to protect the remaining Penfoldians. In the meantime a new residential area, New Penfold, has been erected northeast of the existing city and will house people displaced from the central district.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The not-so-blank blank

This is the new, farm-made blank I referred to in my last posting. It and others like it will begin to appear around the perimeter of The Map as soon as I get back to my Cold Spring studio.

This "blank" is made of Map misprints and remnants which have been collaged with wallpaper paste onto heavy card stock. I like the quality of these sheets- a little rumpley and sturdy. They definitely have a handmade quality to them which I respond to.

I'll soon move onto the next generation of "blanks": ones in which more beautiful, recycled paperboard shows through.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The tee!

Here it is! The official Jerry's Map tee shirt! You can get one now on eBay for a paltry $29! Go do it!

I am out at the farm in Michigan til about April 9. I am only doing peripheral Map work, namely making "blanks", the new sheets that get added to my Map. The current generation is solid collage of various Map and Map-related images. I'll show you one next time I blog.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A milestone.

What you see above is the 2500th panel of Jerry's Map (N6/E28). For weeks now I have been saying that The Map comprised a little over 2500 sheets. Then, the other day, Roberto did an updated inventory, and it was revealed that there were only 2497! I was disappointed, but since then I have added three more panels bringing the total, as of this morning, to 2500.

As you can see the virgin (or blank) panels have taken on a new look. They are, for the most part, paperboard box backs collaged together with bits of old Map prints.

The inventory also showed that, of the 2497 in-progress panels, 1539 are Generation II or higher. There are currently 2 Generation VIII panels in the mix. The total of all generations (not counting approximately 50 original panels which have been sold) was 5460.

The Map, at 2500 panels, now covers just under 1389 square feet. That's about 30% of a basketball court or 23.5% of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I have a long way to go!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Save the date!

The tentative date for the opening of the display of the entire Map is Friday, October 5, 2012. Circle that day on your calendars. It's the start of the Columbus Day weekend. So, you'll all have ample time to get there. I hope to see lots of you and have a chance to put faces and voices to you folks who have supported me here. I'll give you the exact location as soon as the ink is dry. In the meantime, think Berkshires....hint, hint!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Red Dimension has made its first appearance....

N15/E20 played host yesterday to the first manifestation of the Red Dimension. I had added a "New Red Dimension" card to the deck a couple of weeks ago, and it came up yesterday morning. Here's what we know: RD is in shades of red, and its tendrils seem to be able to cross any lower 2-D features. What we don't know (yet) is what its role will be when it encounters The Void. My hunch is that it will be able to cross Voids in that The Void occupies the same plane as The Map itself. This new feature appears to be in another plane altogether. Any notions from you out there?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

JPEGs on Shopify!

I just listed a couple of JPEGs (like the one above) on my Shopify store. They are also available on eBay. If you'd like to get one, use the link at right. They're $2.99 apiece.Send payment via PayPal,  and I will email them to you right away. Then you can print it big or small or use it as a screensaver or....or....or

My plan, depending on your response, is to list lots more contiguous panels. Let me know what you want!

In the meantime I plan to update the segments in the next couple of days. And....bigger news....I drew the Red Dimension card this morning, and added the first instance of that new feature to the Map this morning. I'll try to get some images of it to you soon!

Monday, February 6, 2012


I woke up this morning realizing that I could offer JPEGs of Map panels on eBay! No muss, no fuss! You send me some PayPal bucks, and I email you a JPEG that you can print out yourself. No shipping charge!

So, as soon as I get home from this vacation, I will post some. Watch for them!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Uppercase Indeed!

Issue 12 of Uppercase is out! And it has a six-page spread on the Map. Hooray and thanks to Gail Anderson who wrote the piece. And many thanks, too, to Greg Whitmore who contributed the big lead photo and to Janine Vangool for putting it into print. The magazine is a treasure to all us graphics and creative types.

I'll make a link the magazine site so that you all can find a vendor near you or order a copy directly from Calgary (of all places!).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

N1E1 updated

Here's the latest N1E1 segment. Not too exciting, I know, but time will reveal all!

More exciting: I received Issue 12 of Uppercase magazine in the mail today, and Gail Anderson's article about me and the Map looks great! I will post a link shortly telling you where to find this beautiful publication.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And S1/W1 gets an update...,.

Thanks, Ann, for the latest purchase of S1/W1 real estate! This segment is coming along.

I am setting up a shopify store for the Map, but I have a lot to learn. Son, Henry, was here on the weekend to give me some help, and friend Gail is working on a logo for Jerry's Map. Cool! I'll let you know when the shop is really up and running.

I have finished a side project, the copying of 48 panels to go on the wall at the show this fall. They will be an earlier generation of  panels which will be exhibited on the floor.

With that work done I was able to resume the regular progress of the Map. I have finished working through the rows to the bottom and have started over at the top. I find that it is taking me almost exactly one year to complete a cycle. Of course, as the Map expands it will take longer.


Friday, January 6, 2012

S1E1 comes online....

Here it is, folks, in all its sparse glory: the first iteration of the S1E1 segment. It shows the six panels which you have bought to date. Thanks go to Deb and Cory and Sue! They are the most recent Map collectors.

I was reflecting this morning how slowly this process goes. Over the holidays I was watching my cousin play Minecraft. He was doing it with what, to my 69-year old eyes, was dizzying speed. Rock was being mined and turned into tools in nanoseconds. Trees produced wood; gravel collapsed in the mine, zombies appeared and were zapped. Kersplooie! Fast, faster.....his left fingers slapping keys; his right hand deftly working the mouse.

Jerry's Map is more like Slow Food. Or slow anything. It takes lots of time. Things acrete over years, not seconds. In 2003 I decided that my colors were too bright and set out to subdue them. I started remixing them, one jar at a time, a few drops a day. Nine years later they are toned down a bit.

Sometimes I wish that you all would buy up panels more quickly so that the segments like the one above would fill in faster. But that, too, is part of the Slow Map process. Don't let me stop you from purchasing though! I appreciate every sale!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was a great year for me and my Map. We were invited to exhibit my work at two great contemporary art museums. One is in the Northeast and scheduled for late October/early November 2012. The other, in the Southeast, will show a large chunk of Jerry's Map in May, 2013. What a way to kick off the Map's 50th anniversary year! The Northeast show will be the first time the entire Map has been assembled since 1982 when it was composed of only about 500 panels. It's now just over 2400. I'll give firm dates and locations when I know them.

I will also be on the lookout for other institutions that would like to show the Map during 2013. If you know of any or have contact with any, please let me know! Thanks!

A couple of new Map features are in my head and will make their way onto paper in 2012: one, which I will call "Crop Circle Collage" in deference to Joanne who just asked me about it, has me excited. The other, still a vague concept, I will call "The Red Dimension". I'll experiment a little and then launch it sometime soon.

I hope that all your new years have started off in the right direction. Stay tuned! (And run over to Ebay and buy yourself a few prints!)