Mel Watkin

Mel Watkin


Mel Watkin

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.






For more information or to commission a unique work of art through Not Just Another Pretty Face, contact Marina Vulinovic at or 773-324-5520 ext. 1006.