In the footsteps of Frodo, Mr. Spock and even Nostromo
Cartographies of cinema
The interstellar journey through Nostromo and its eighth passenger, Jack’s chase in the maze of the Overlook hotel, or the places that Doc and Marty visited, and – watch out, now it gets hard – at what times would you be able to map these trips in detail? The work of American illustrator Andrew DeGraff, among many other works that include clients of the stature of The New York Times or The New York Observer, has devoted part of his work to compile in a book the cartography of many of the classics of cinema.
With millimetric precision and an eternally isometric view, DeGraff ventures to go through the stories over and over again, capturing the scenarios in absolute detail and the way each of the characters in them, to produce almost pyrannesic maps, with an aesthetic and technical charge that allows the freaks of the world to lose us remembering in these eternal dioramas what we could see on screen in a limited way.
From cinema to paper
Andrew DeGraff is an illustrator and artist born in Albany, New York, currently residing in Maine (USA). In 2001, he graduated in Communications Design from the Pratt Institute, specializing in illustration. Shortly thereafter, he published his first book: Trazado: Un atlas literario. Andrew has worked as an illustrator for Visa, Sports Illustrated, Kellogg’s, the New York Times, GAP Kids, Anthropologie and Leo Burnett. He has exhibited in galleries in New York, Albamy, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Calgary, Mexico City and Quezon City (Philippines).
DeGraff’s website, which is obligatory if you’ve come this far, is a catalogue of microcosms, of works made with the affection, precision and detail that characterise his work: From editorial work to his personal work, passing through the “Cinemaps“, Andrew expresses a paradoxically minimal and baroque art, with a Horror Vacui content that ensures that his drawings always have an extra layer of depth.
Img: Path of the Empire’s troops in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
When Mr. Spock crossed paths with Íñigo Montoya
Born of his two passions: Cartography and cinema, in 2018 DeGraff launches “Cinemaps. Atlas of 35 great films”, a book that gathers illustrations of the illustrator’s favorite films, with legends, annotations and comments. The result is a compendium of interpretations of works of the seventh art that suddenly, when seen on paper, acquire a completely different tone, but thanks to the hand of DeGraff never lose the spirit that characterizes them.
Andrew throws himself uninhibited, knowing that he is a scholar to have seen these films since his childhood, and by the affection he has for them, unable to sacrifice their essence. He sets out to recompose the maps of Middle-earth by tracing the path travelled by the Community of the Ring; or to draw the corn field in the Cary Grant was persecuted in 1959; or to present us the map of the treasure of “One-Eyed Willy” and the adventures of those who searched for it.
Each of the maps drawn with DeGraff’s absolute affection and precision is a world to be lost in, remembering iconic scenes from classic cinema, managing to find different perspectives that make us understand the present work behind the great stories of the big screen. Is this a new way of telling cinema? Or is it just an added explanation? Anyway, maybe Andrew should help us all and give us a hand with Dark…
All images used in this article belong to Andrew DeGraff
Andrew DeGraff – Official website
Cinemaps. Atlas de 35 grandes películas – Planeta de libros
ABC – Cartografías de los grandes clásicos del cine
Header: “North by Northwest” map