Brian, Alabama: Central

BRIAN, ALABAMA, US – central city.

I first conceived Brian in 1999 after visiting downtown Houston for the first time. I was in the sixth grade; this was the first time I made a “series” of maps that spanned over multiple 8 1/2 x 11″ papers.

You may notice a similar freeway structure to downtown Houston. It was intended. Abnormal, though, is the rest of the street grid – which consists of a bizarre mix of curves and cul-de-sacs. I tried to correct this later on when I realized most cities would never have such a layout (hence the white out near Brian’s CBD), but the white out turned out badly, so I abandoned the project.

Though the frontage roads that border each freeway may suggest the city was meant to be in Texas, it was not. Brian began without a real-life location – just a city stuck somewhere in my imagination. Eventually, though, I wanted it to assign it an actual US location so I could relate it to the country’s modern economy and culture. I needed a location with a southern ocean coast, preserving Brian’s orientation on paper. That limited me to two plausible locations: Mobile, AL and Wilmington, NC. I settled for Mobile since (using the Houston grid) I’d ingrained Interstate 10 in my mind.


One comment on “Brian, Alabama: Central”

  1. Brian,

    Your maps are fantastic! I totally get them.

    My name is David Hyman and I am a kindred urban map maker like yourself. Reading your section about yourself it sounds much like a description me except our frame of reference is different. I grew up in Manhattan and my maps are island and rail transportation centric early on, and highway centric later as the maps became more sophisticated. My main period of map making was through junior high school into 9th grade where I probably completed about 200 of them. Much like you I continue to make maps on the sides of my notes and while on the phone and it remains a wonderful form of solace. In my mapmaking heyday, these maps were made on notebook paper and some grew to be very large. They have been in my closet for years and I am in the process of scanning them now. The combined panels are creating huge files and don’t really know what to do with these files once I am done.

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