Sunset Gradient Manhattan Maze Puzzle by Michelle Chandra. Image courtesy of Dirt Alley Design.
Ever go to a new city and feel like you’re wandering around in a maze? San Francisco-based artist and cartographer Michelle Chandra, the founder of Dirt Alley Design, has taken that feeling, and turned it upside down. Her new series of paintings feature maps of different cities, including New York City, but with the streets turned into solvable mazes. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, her maps have turned the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Chicago, Barcelona, Oakland, and San Francisco, into a gorgeous array of mazes. Every print purchased also includes another print of the maze to solve.
Black and White Brooklyn Maze Puzzle Map. Image via Dirt Alley Design
Chandra, who studied programming, data art, and cartography at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she received her Master’s degree, was inspired to create the series by her travels all over the world. She put her love of travel and cartography into action after watching a lecture by Mike Bostock, a data-visualization specialist, on maze generating algorithms.
Rainbow San Francisco Maze Puzzle. Image via Dirt Alley Design
Each maze has been drawn by hand, without any aid from computer algorithms. After the original blueprint of the maze is completed, Chandra redraws it by hand digitally, where it’s then turned into a screen-printed maze map. Time-consuming, but worthwhile, each print takes around 50 to 80 hours of work to complete.
Chandra’s other work has been just as noteworthy – for her Master’s thesis, she created a map visualization that allowed people to see sunrises and sunsets around the world in real-time. Chandra’s blog is worth taking a look at as well, if you’re interested in map making, cartography, or map art.
Metallic Gold San Francisco Maze Puzzle Map. Image via Dirt Alley Design
Michelle Chandra’s map mazes are available for purchase on her website, dirtalleydesign.com, where you can shop for prints by city, or best-sellers; she also can do custom color orders for existing prints.