I’ve always been fond of maps. Enigmatic countries, beautiful names, pirates’ treasures…
Many of the dear old books had maps: the Hundred-Acre Wood in “Winny the Pooh”, Shvambraniya by Leo Cassil, Oecumene (always in Latin for some reason) in the academic edition of Herodotus, Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”, and encyclopedias’ war maps…
I used to fill my square-ruled exercise books with fantasy worlds, constructed fields for make-believe games, and treated a spelling book as a quest; I pictured Moscow as a city inhabited by houses-creatures – well, it’s hard to recall, there are too many to mention.
So, I was more than ready when Ilya Merenzon, the editor-in- chief of the New York journal “Russia” suggested creating a Literary Map of Moscow.
In cooperation with “Russia!” both English and Russian maps were issued; each had two variants – a modest square version available for ordering, and a posh artist’s proof on a full-sized sheet of designer paper.
The typographics of the Moscow literary map has become its drawcard. Normally these sorts of maps were hand-drawn (like Paula Sher famous picture maps).
On the Moscow Literary Map we used a unique library of fonts – over one hundred typefaces in all, from our own studio, Letterhead. This has been never done before. The Map had already several hugely successful editions.
But not resting on our laurels, we came up and published – My Moscow – another map, but this time tracing all the streets encircled by Sadovoye Col’tso and some other 140 points of interest, that have been chosen by Muscovites in the Live journal game.
A next project – is a St. Petersburg map – “From suburbs to the centre. The city speaking”. Petersburg is the focus place of the fundamental texts of our culture. Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Belyi, Annensky, Mandelshtam, Kharms, Brodsky… Quotations are clashing and bumping and splicing and talking to each other and finally get bound together into one unfired buzzing city, a stream of words and consciousness.
The Petersburg map has been designed and constructed as an all-of-a piece visual-poetical object, in which all words and landmarks, and topography and history are tightly interconnected.
The babble of speech resonating with the city as a whole makes its start in the suburbs, then the trail of quotes becomes ever more dense closer to the centre … While, right in the centre, they squeeze themselves precisely into the tight confines of a city block, a square, or even a building. A perfect fit.
In my work on the maps – My Moscow and Petersburg I enjoyed the assistance of a wonderful designer – Heather Hermit.
In 2019, the second edition of My Moscow was released. 24 new points of interest appeared on the map. Typography was updated and ornaments were completely revised. Daria Litvak helped me in the work on the new version of the map.
At the very end of 2020, a circulation of the most unusual of my cards - the novel “Moscow in a hundred houses” - was released. This is a story about those objects (not only houses, but also monuments) that, in my opinion, define the face of Moscow now. At the same time, I do not hide the fact that not everything in the beloved city arouses admiration among its residents. Any novel has heroes, villains, and jesters. There are a lot of them on my map too.
December 2021 is a new addition to the collection. This time there are two maps: "Venice with a Russian accent" and "Venice With An English Accent". The maps were created in collaboration with Katia Margolis, and Robin Saikia contributed to the compilation of the English one. Venice is the first decisive step beyond the boundaries of Russian culture.
All maps were printed at the Piranesi LAB printing house of Alexei Veselovsky.