Monica Aissa Martinez's You Are Here

This month, Jackalope Ranch opened its first curated exhibition, You Are Here: A Collection of Maps of Phoenix at Regular Gallery

And while you still have a chance to check out the show, which will be up until November 12, we'll give you a little background on each creation. 

First up, a few questions for local mixed-media artist Monica Aissa Martinez who created "You are Here"

1. What were your map inspirations?
I kept the map collage within my current area of interest; it's connected to the human body. It represents a living organism. Maybe it's a lesson (plan), or a teaching tool, for a pretend class. The class: Our World, Our Selves. Or how about Micro and Macro 101 ... 

I met a guy at the opening, who asked about the mitochondria. Were they located at real power plants on the map? I was both suspicious and pleasantly surprised by the question. Turns out he's an M.D. He hadn't even looked at the Legend. I'll hire him to teach the course. Clearly, he gets it. You are Here, the actual title, is very literal, are. 

2. Give us a childhood memory of a map. 
My grandfather had lots of beautiful maps. My mom has them in storage somewhere. I'll be looking for them on my next visit. I always was attracted to maps, but I was more connected to the visual and material aspects: lines, colors, paper, and the folds.

I've taken their detail and purpose for granted. I know now, they are all about accuracy and precision. They are designed to get you to your destination. We should be so lucky. 

3. Are maps and cartography important? 
The mapmaker? Is she important? YES. Somebody has to take on that task! A map is a representation of what is, and because of that, it is also a representation of what can be. 

If only we had full vision in front of us all the time. I'm talking symbol here. But really ... maps tell stories; they represent time and space. One of the interesting things about them is that they change. 

4. What are your map's boundaries and how did you choose them? 
I took the call literal in that I set up the entire city of Phoenix. I deconstructed a map, only to reconstruct it almost exactly, for the sake of a textured collage design. The living organism idea, basically informs the details, and the Legend clarifies. 

​The Nucleus of the cell in my map is the area where (city) government structure is located ...the mayor, city offices...etc. In my map it also holds all the downtown and Central area, where small independent business owners are making their mark. 

Note the Arts district is in the nucleolus, and to be sure so are all arts movers and shakers represented as well. You know who you are. The various elements connect to specific sites or are placed for design balance. 

I have three small errors in my map. But other than that, you can follow it and it could lead you right to your destination. The three errors are deliberate. They have to do with design play. You won't get lost, you'll just loose your footing for a brief moment in time, and hopefully you'll figure it out and eventually get right back on track. 

 5. Would you create another map? 
I have a world map already sitting on my studio table. A map is a great metaphor...I see map construction in my future for sure.

See Martinez's work, along with pieces by Melinda Bergman, Safwat Saleem, Angela Cazel Jahn, Marshall Shore, Sarah Hurwitz, Breeze, Sue Chenoweth, Carrie Marill, and Luster Kaboom, visit Regular Gallery during gallery hours (Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.) or email [email protected] for a private showing. 

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton