One Man’s Map is Another Man’s Work of Art

Eric Brightwell moved to Los Angeles from his home in Iowa City in 1998.  Since then, he has been creating hand-drawn maps of the city to help him find his way around.  What started out as home-made navigation tools soon evolved into works of art (priced between $200-300).  Brightwell’s maps differ from the detailed maps we offer here at GbBIS, but who knows; perhaps one day our custom maps will be hung in an art gallery as well. 


Eric Brightwell grew up in small towns—a tiny town in Iowa, rural Missouri, a Florida suburb whose nearby city he barely got the chance to visit—making Los Angeles’s size and grandeur instantly appealing to him.  His first visit toL.A.was on a post-college road trip in 1998.  The great diversity attracted Brightwell: the sights and sounds of Koreatown,Olivera Street…”I was instantly smitten,” he said ofLos Angeles. “It was like a theme park where all the rides were big.”

After returning home to Iowa City, Eric quit his job, packed up his things and moved to The City of Angels.  Today, he knows the area better than many natives.  Slowly, section by section, Brightwell has been mapping the entireL.A.area—from Mount Washington to theAngelesNational Forest.  Recently he completed his 118th map, its location chosen for him by his followers on a blog.  Brightwell’s maps — drawn with Sharpie markers on colored paper — it seems, have developed a following.

Recently, the 1650 Gallery inEchoParkexhibited 40 of Brightwell’s original works, pricing the 81/2-by-11 maps at $350 a pop and larger reproductions at up to $250. One original and numerous prints sold, said gallery owner Andrew Overtoom.  Art and map enthusiasts loved the custom detail specific to each place — thick tree trunks were used for theAngelesNational Forest, Disney-logos forAnaheim.  They also appreciated the evidence of fieldwork — crease lines and crumples from being stashed in a back pocket, water stains from walks in the rain.

Brightwell originally used his custom-drawn maps to orient himself in a big city, never intending for anyone else to see them.  Maps are used for all sorts of purposes: navigation, visualization, identification.  At GbBIS we offer custom maps to individuals whose business may be affected by geography or demographics.  With multiple features such as location plotting, territory shading, demographic shading, and much more, GbBIS’s custom maps are the ultimate tools to organize and simplify your complex data.  You don’t need to walk around and draw your own maps to mark important locations.  Let GbBIS provide you with a location map that accurately marks all the locations important to your business—store locations, competitor locations, suppliers, key customers…

Contact GbBIS today and discover how our custom maps can help you visualize the locations important to your business


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