Creating art from something everyone sees…David Imus and maps

Every once in awhile an artist is rewarded for something that others may view as mundane.  It’s the combination of utility and craft that together creates beautiful art.

Maps are all around us.  When you look past their ubiquity, you can see art.  One of the most famous examples of this is the NY Subway map, and the beauty and perspective provided by maps was the subject of one of my favorite episodes of “The West Wing.”

I have a large map of England from 1814 in the foyer of our home that always serves as a great conversation starter:



This evening I read an article about a new map that covers the seemingly mundane in a beautiful way. The Essential Geography of The United States of America by Imus Geographics was recently awarded one of mapmaking’s highest prizes for how he represented cities, states, attractions and geographic features.  Imus Geographics is one man in Eugene, Oregon who through hard work, 6,000 hours over two years, bested National Geographic, Rand McNally and all the others.

Just because others may look past what you want to create, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best.

The Essential Geography of The United States of America (image from




I work at a PR agency.  We work with a lot of clients.  Some of the clients are the type that warm your heart, and some aren’t. They aren’t “bad,” they just don’t provide the extra satisfaction of the “social good.”  (Yes, at this point one can make the case that as long as companies don’t hurt people they are doing a social good by providing a service, creating jobs, creating wealth that can be used for good etc., but that’s secondary here.)

So, by day, yes I do get the chance to sometimes work on things that are truly good, and other times I’m just helping sell stuff. For balance, I give back with what I know how to do, that’s marketing and writing.  This weekend, I spent some time helping write the opening remarks for a run to raise money to help stop sex trafficking in our area.

Find your balance, give back with what you know how to do, and feel good.