Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Map Installation

Our friend, Kathryn, mounted her collection of Map prints in her stairway.

What a great idea!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Technology and me

This is my idea of modern. I refer to it as "clamshell chic." It's basically all the technology I care to have on my body. I do old-fashioned phone calls and receive texts and answer them with as few letters as one or as many as three. I get internet information from my laptop. I get directions from large pieces of printed paper called "maps." I play word games on my wife's i-Phone. Oops! She tells me that I need my own, but I resist. I need to go technology-free for big chunks of my day. That's why I garden. I love that those tiny seeds contain all the instructions for making a long vine which produces giant orange fruit which get carved into spooky candle-bearing jack-o-lanterns. Way more efficient than the silicon guts of cell phones.

Friday, November 14, 2014

SoHo Artist

In the early 1980s I was living in a loft in New York's SoHo. The building I was in was zoned AIR, Artist in Residence. In order to occupy the space I had to qualify, in the eyes of the NYC Office of Cultural Affairs (or some such name), as an artist. I laid the Map out on the floor, climbed a step ladder, and took pictures. I submitted the slides to the certification folks, and they balked a little since I said that I had never exhibited. But they came down for a site visit and decided that, yes, I was an artist. It was shortly after these photos were taken that the Map was put away for a twenty-year rest.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


People often ask me if I get bored working on my Map since I work on it every day that I am at the farm. The simple answer is, "No." And the image above is a principal reason. I never know what is going to develop on the page in front of me. Today N14/E26 came up in the draw, and the card that lead me to it also read "wave paint." That meant that around the already existing beige "banana" I was going to add a band of darker beige (the next color on my palette) in a wave pattern. I then dated the new paint (1169 in Map years) and added the orange dotted lozenge. I had to tape this panel to the one below it in order to accomplish that. While I was at it and contrary to all my own rules I added the faint blue rectangle in colored pencil. That was a whim, but I liked it enough to consider doing that sort of thing to future panels. 

When I was done I had a composition which pleased me a lot. I know that most of you who follow my work are most intrigued with the "mappiest" panels, the ones which most resemble maps that we all know, but I hope that you will also come to appreciate some of the compositions that the deck of cards dictates in its own random way.

Not boring at all!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Map Factory Update

Here are some shots taken today of the current state of the 'Map Factory', with Tyler and me working on preparations for the upcoming shows. We are hunkered down indoors as some of the first snowfall of the season hits Northern Michigan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

About custom prints....

For those of you who would like to assemble a group of Map panels I offer to make custom prints of individual sheets at $30 apiece. Actually these are not prints but rather are direct inkjet photocopies of the working set which we keep in the studio. Each time a Map panel is randomly chosen for reworking it is photocopied. I archive the original and apply the new work to the copy. This means that adjacent panels may not be of the same "generation" and may not, therefore, match each other in tone or quality. As a matter of fact, anomalies in the printing process (see the images above) are incorporated into the overall Map execution as acts (or accidents) of nature and are welcomed in my creative process.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Video: A Guest Artist

Jerry interviews Map guest artist Faelan Blair

Monday, November 3, 2014

Paris! Frankfort! Catskill!

Last week was a banner one for Jerry's Map. On Wednesday I received an invitation from the Palais de Tokyo to exhibit  there in early 2015. Their intention is to show the entire Map opening February 12 for a two-month run. See you there!

Then on Friday the Map was featured on Take a look!

The opening of the show in the Frankfort, Michigan Oliver Art Center is on February 27. I will be rushing back from Paris to help paper the two-story West wall there with the Map. If you can't make Paris this is your chance!

The show in the Hudson Valley is taking shape, too, and is scheduled to open May 1. I'll give you more details as they become available.

See you all soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Video: Jerry's Infomercial

Jerry talks about how to become a collector and supporter of the map

Why collect Jerry's Map?

When I originally posted Map prints on Ebay about ten years ago I imagined that people would buy contiguous prints to mount on a wall, gradually adding to their assemblages. The concept was that they would buy modular art, creating their own sections of the Map.

To date over a thousand of these prints have been sold but mostly as individual, random panels rather than coherent groups. Several people have, on the other hand, made installations of Map sections ranging from 20 to 40 panels. The prints and originals are easily wall-mounted using poster mount tabs and can be protected, if necessary, by covering them with clear plastic.

In order to encourage collecting we have made the prints very affordable. Here are some of the items you can find in my Ebay store

Original panels $142- $220
Signed prints $10-$20
Custom prints by request $30
Second edition Map poster $36

But why collect them? Because you just like them? Because you believe in and want to support the project? Because you think that one day they will be valuable? Any of those reasons is valid. Only time will tell if the "Antiques Roadshow" people are making your grandchildren gasp in disbelief!

Use the link at right to check out the Ebay listings right now! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Video: A Human Zoo

Watching people scurry around Manhattan recently gave me a new take on my map.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Where to show?

Where shall I show the Map? Next year, 2015, is more or less booked with four sure shows and a couple of tentative ones. But 2016 is completely open. One novel idea would be for me to show the entire opus on a basketball court! That might be cool if there are bleachers or a balcony. Who's got one? Your high school?

Anyway let me know if you know of a space or know of a gallery or museum near you that might want to exhibit my work.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Video: But is it art?

Someone on the internet recently claimed that I didn't consider my map as a work of art. This is my reflection.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jerry's 99 cent Sale!

Thanks for all your interest in the videos that Tyler has been doing! The "Mixing Paint" one alone has had almost 1300 page views. Very gratifying!

The Ebay store, on the other hand, has been left in the shadows. We don't need Ebay to pay the rent, but we do rely on it to help pay for the endless printer cartridges and some of Tyler's meager salary.

So, to try to stir up a little monetary feedback we are launching a 99 cent sale. Map prints that are being relisted are up for auction starting at under a buck. Time to start collecting! Click on that link at the right and have a look!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Video: The Void

This is the story of the Void, the Map's version of nothingness or, more positively, life in another dimension.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Video: Making Blanks

Tyler films the making of the "blanks", the first stage in the building of a new Map panel.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

They're here!

The Second Edition of the Master Map has just come back from the printers, and Vada Color has done an even more magnificent job than the first time. My sister-in-law, Lynn Staley, tweaked the typeface and added a red dingbat (new word for me) to complete the fresh look. Each of the 30 prints has been signed by me.

They're 20 by 24 on slightly heavier stock than the First Edition and  available now on Ebay at $36 each plus $8 for the shipping tube and Priority Mail postage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Video: Mystery Circles

Jerry talks about those funny circles that are appearing on every panel

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mixing Paint

Every morning I remix the paint to ensure there is an even continuum of the color palette. This morning Tyler filmed this ritual

Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming shows

The next Map shows on the schedule for 2015 are Frankfort, Michigan opening in February, Catskill, NY over the Summer, and Grand Rapids in the Fall. We'll keep you posted on the specifics.

Also in the works: a Second Edition of the Master Map. That should be available on Ebay by early September.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Video Clip

I asked Tyler to shoot some video of me working this morning. Take a look and let us know what you think. We are thinking about maybe doing a series, or even a live webcam. We would appreciate your input.

Also, here is a brief time lapse of two 4x4 sections of the map.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Back on Ebay!

Contrary to prevailing advice we have decided to list a few things on Ebay again. The original panel above, showing an airport, a Void Defense Wall (VDW), and an encroaching Void, is currently available on Ebay for $222. There is also a nice selection of prints at $14. Take a look!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Inner Workings

Hey everyone! I'm Dylan Lettinga, Jerry's cousin and intern here up at Fake Rock Farm working on the various cartographic duties as ordained by the cards. I've been lucky to get work with family as awesome as this before I head off to college, and the work has been nothing but fun. To go into a little more detail about the work I do here: it works in a similar fashion to the way the map is created, the cards assemble a list of chores for the intern(s), it can be anything like scanning images to updating them in the computer's folders. Some days it would be photocopying images to work toward the overall goal to have three complete versions of The Map and to have a full sale stock, or assembling various map scales like 4 x 4 or 8 x 8 tiles using our new map assembly software. Or in this case, I make an appearance on the blog. There's a seemingly endless stream of panels and things to update in order to keep things "high-tech", and we're toying with idea of a computer game based around the map. This is a truly amazing project that I get to be a part of, and great that you all can keep up with it as well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Latest Numbers

The population of the Map as of the latest census (1145) was 16,678,978. There were 29 parishes and 467 cities.

The largest cities were:
     1. Ukrainia              2,431,338
     2. Geo                        1,693,938
     3. Leyemouth         1,496,242
     4. Sabratha              1,048,334
     5. Wybourne              870,946
     6. Fields West             713,634
     7. Southchurch         673,740
     8. Nelleville                 603,140  
     9. Jackson                    586,034 
   10. Gebel                        443,338

As of the last inventory (7/22/14) the Map was composed of 3,169 panels covering 2,255.6 square feet. The maximum East-West dimension is 46.7 feet, and the maximum North-South is 48.3 feet. When it is exhibited with one inch spacing between panels, the maximum East-West dimension is 52.5, the maximum North-South is 53.2.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Subscribe today!

Sometimes I lie in bed imagining how new techniques or rules would affect the Map. And sometimes I lie there trying to think of new ways of underwriting my Mapping costs. Here's one: you, because you really believe in this wacky project and want to help support it, subscribe to receive a monthly signed print from me! If you bought these prints individually they would cost $14 each plus $5 shipping. Six of them would cost you $114.

So. how about a half-year subscription for $99? Good deal! Or maybe a whole year for $175? You'd get a copy of the first panel drawn each month.

The one above, by the way, was the first July panel that I worked on.

How 'bout it? Email me at if you want to get on board. Thanks!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Deciphering the Map language: a challenge!

The name of the town on the panel above is, in Map Language, Pusuj Sofif. Can you determine what the name would be in English? I'll let you know as soon as someone has given me the right answer.

The Map Language, now abandoned by most of the parishes, is still in use in a handful, most notably New Ukraine.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Palimpsest or pentimento?

Well neither, really, though both terms come to mind when I describe my process for reworking the panels of my Map. Thanks to modern technology I can scan and reprint a panel without having to erase physically the image or overpaint it in order to revise it.

Shown above is the panel which came up in this morning's draw of the cards. I've applied a grid to guide my collage of one-inch squares that will re-interpret the painted shapes. The original version of this sheet is now preserved in my studio archives.

A few panels have undergone as many as eight revisions. Most panels are in their third or fourth generations.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More cards!

Here's another group of nine cards which were recently retired. Well, they weren't exactly retired but were replaced by copies of themselves. The cards get thicker as I amend the instructions by putting labels over the old ones. Then the deck, comprised currently of 114 cards, becomes nearly impossible to shuffle. So, it became necessary for me to instruct myself to make copies of some which were becoming too thick.

I find that I am having to revise the instructions almost with every draw in order to accomplish certain tasks I have set for myself. I am trying, for example, to make two complete exhibition sets because of overlapping shows scheduled for 2015. I am about two-thirds of the way there. In addition to the two show sets I have one complete current working set which will stay in the studio so that my work is never interrupted. The three sets together will account for almost 10,000 panels!

Let me know if you have questions about any of the cards above.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Come and get it!

They're here, and they're beautiful thanks to the folks at Vada Color here in Traverse City. (Pardon my clumsy photo above.) And, yes, this First Edition of Jerry's Master Map is priced at $30 plus shipping ($6 if folded and shipped flat; $8 if shipped in a mailing tube). If you are not in the U.S. just email me ( and ask about shipping rates.

The prints are 20 by 24 inches and are signed and numbered. They show all the panels which composed the May 16, 2014 version of the Map.

Payment by PayPal ( is the easiest for me and, therefore, prefered.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Master Map Prints!

Here's an opportunity to have your own copy of that giant master map some of you have seen at recent exhibitions!

I was at the printer's this morning to talk about the layout for the new, First Edition, Master Map! This composite shows all of the 3100 plus panels, and I have plans to update it from time to time as needed. Signed 20 by 24 inch prints should be available in about a week for around $30 plus shipping. I'll keep you informed!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Come see the Map in Concord!

The show at the Concord (MA) Art Association opened on Thursday, April 17, and the Map installation looks great! Unless I have miscalculated there are 314 panels (or almost exactly 10% of the entire Map) on exhibit.

It's in good company, too. The group show, curated by Ilana Manolson, has as its theme "Personal Terrain" and contains some stellar work by area artists.

If you are in the neighborhood come check it out! The show will be up until May 18. For more info, click the link at right.


Friday, March 14, 2014

And We're Back!

Good tidings arrived from Edinburgh this week in the form of the long-awaited Map panels! The Map has made quite a journey these last few years, and all signs point to more travels to come. All 2,800 panels are safe and sound here in icy old Michigan, just in time for the upcoming exhibition at the Concord Art Association.

The Map will make a second appearance in the Bay State at the upcoming Personal Terrain exhibition in Concord, Massachusetts this April. For those who were lucky enough to view The Map before, come peer into it again as many panels now feature fresh artwork.

Personal Terrain:
Contemporary Mapping

Ilana Manolson, Curator
April 16-May 18, 2014
Opening Reception: 
Thursday April 17, 6-8pm

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some fresh numbers

For all you numbers junkies the Map is now composed of 3111 individual panels covering 1728.3 square feet. If it were perfectly square it would be 41.5 feet on a side. The actual maximum dimensions are 46.7 feet in width and 48.3 feet in height. To mount the entire Map with the standard 1" gaps between panels would require a surface 52.5 feet wide and 53.2 feet long. 

The population of the Map is now 16,364,902. There are 441 separate cities in the 29 parishes. The largest city is still Ukrainia at 2,414,234 followed by Geo with 1,663,163 inhabitants.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Closing out the eBay Store!

That's right folks. I am phasing out the items for sale in my eBay store over the next couple of weeks.  Rest assured panels, both originals and prints, will continue to be sold.  Contact me for more information on how to acquire your favorite pieces!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another note on framing

I framed these Map panels recently using those clip frames, and I think the results are great! The pieces are hung a half inch apart but still read as one continuous map.

If you use this method and start with a large enough expanse of wall you can continue to collect sections and add them as they become available.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Here is my current palette of paints used on the Map. The 35 colors continue to be remixed, one new color a day. You can see the dates on top of the bottles. The remixing process started about ten years ago when I decided that the palette was too bright. It's now very earthy and subdued. Too much so?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Between shows

It's winter in Northern Michigan, and I am hunkered down getting ready for the next show in Concord, Massachusetts opening in mid-April. The snow is inching over the windows here- over 180 inches so far and plenty of time left before Spring to break the old one-season record of 231". It's 10 degrees outside, and I am working away on the Northernmost panels of the Map, ones that will make their debut in Concord. The Edinburgh show closed last Friday. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of those four wine boxes full of Map. The Brattleboro exhibit has another month to run.

In the meantime, anticipating new shows in 2015, I am in the process of making copies of the entire Map. That should take over a year, but it will mean that I will always have a version in the studio so that my work can go on uninterrupted. The originals can be on display while I rework the copies. Wanna help? Go to Ebay and buy yourself a few panels or prints. Thanks!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A framing suggestion

Here's a  helpful suggestion with regard to framing for those followers out there with panels in their collections or those who want to snag a few but don't know how they would display them.  These modern "frame-less" frames are available at most craft stores for about $4 each and look great especially when you are hanging several panels in a set.  The clasp system could not be easier to use!


Check out the Map panels currently available for sale in my eBay store.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Today's draw

The card drawn earlier today was the 17 of spades! Yes, seventeen since there is now a card in the deck which instructs me to add ten to a card of each suit. This former seven of spades is now a seventeen and had me move to the N19/W21 panel. I am now moving right to left and top to bottom as I did until about a year ago when I switched to moving North, South, East or West depending on the suit drawn.

The card also instructed me to make a new 1/16 scale page, and I have done that. Then I added seventeen 1-inch square collage pieces emanating from the red-circled crosshairs near the upper right of the panel. The instruction to do a 1" paint band was ignored since the entire sheet has already been painted.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The final Summerhall product

Here, thanks to friends of friends of friends (and I hope they don't mind my using their excellent photo!), is what the installation in Edinburgh looked like. The exhibition closes on January 24. So, if you are in the neighborhood, stop by before it's too late!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back at work in my studio

I went to Edinburgh and London over New Year's with my wife, Meg Staley, our two sons, Henry and Lucky, and had a fabulous time! Hogmanay at Summerhall was a big treat thanks to all our new friends there.

I got back to Michigan on Tuesday but was stuck in Detroit overnight because of the winter storm and sub-zero temperatures. We drove back to the farm on Wednesday, and I got re-installed in my studio on Thursday. So, I am now back at work and in total bliss.

I am going to attempt in 2014 to post to this blog more often than in the past, but I am always torn between working on the Map and doing the peripheral things.

We'll see.......

Meantime, Happy New Year! And check out the new Ebay listings!