Working with the Hyde Park Art Center on the Not Just Another Pretty Face exhibitions gives me the opportunity (and the challenge) to create a map-based work about the life of a specific person, couple, or family. I call these pieces “visual biographies.” The process starts with an on-line call or series of email conversations. It is always so interesting to learn about the interests and priorities of the people I work with. Every visual biography is different, but through research and sketches I gradually narrow down a theme–usually based on stylized images and patterns. For example, the inspiration of one visual biography came from the many years a couple spent commuting between Milwaukee and Chicago. Thinking about that drive—going back and forth and back and forth–– reminded me of mid-century movies of city traffic moving to jazzy music. To start the drawing, I collaged together actual metro area maps of Milwaukee and Chicago (edited considerably to shorten their commute). Then I filled in all the roads, parks, neighborhoods and important sites with jazzy lines and shapes. Periodically, an orange sunburst shape appears throughout the drawing, identifying significant sites for their family.