So I’ve evolved my idea of what I map can be. This can only be possible because I was able to step outside of my own comfort zone, finally letting go of making something that has to be realistic. In making this map, I wanted to track my family name. In Latin America, we use both parents last names, so coming to the US changed many things about us.
The process started as a visual treatment. I know essentially this was a family tree, but I wanted to change how it looked. So I got some influence from water. Droplets flowing down the window when it rains interact with each other and create new droplets. Then I looked at river systems and the flow of water from mountain top to the river delta, where it opened up to the ocean. That really was not working for me either, so I stepped back for a moment. The map is about the last name, so I decided to have the map flow out and take the shape of the first letter, p.
In Illustrator, then After Effects, I designed the letter and then animated it. Along the way you can see how each person’s name changes from what they were born with, to who they become. The colors on the lines are all from the Colombian and Ecuadorian flags, and the colors could even take on they’re own meaning. Yellow for the marriage that has lasted, red for the first marriage, one of youth and energy that didn’t last, and blue for an affair that was often an undiscussed matter until years later when it finally resurfaced from the ocean depths.
It’s about my family, and I’m proud of it.