What were you doing at age 17? I know I was dreading another year of high school, beginning my search for colleges and totally abusing the fact that my parents still paid for the gas in my car. What was I not doing? Becoming a published artist and writer.
For Martin Vargic, that story is a little different. The Slovakian artist published his first book in December of 2015 at age 17. Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World started with a viral hit back in January 2014. By the end of the month, his Map of the Internet 1.0 had been picked up and featured by media outlets like Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, Fox News and more. The map design features a fictional world as made up by the different realms of the Internet. And it’s absolutely gorgeous.
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Fast-forward almost two years and now Vargic’s Map of the Internet 1.0 is almost dead center in his 128-page book, and the Map of the Internet 2.0 has been posted under Vargic’s former online presence “Jay Simon” on his Deviant Art page.
Vargic began designing maps over three year ago. For those who don’t feel like doing math, that puts him at 14 years old, if not younger.
“I was always interested in looking at maps and infographics and the way they can convey large amounts of information,” Vargic says, “and naturally [I] started to draw many maps and infographics of my own.”
His book Miscellany of Curious Maps shares over 70 map design projects from Music and Literature to Paranormal Activity and Gaming. The book also comes with an oversized removable copy of the Map of Stereotypes; perfect for framing and hanging up.
The artwork for the maps was inspired by old National Geographic maps, but the subject matter, Vargic says, comes from out of the blue, “however, I often search for inspiration [by] looking at the news, social media and examining the work of other people.” But while the ideas might come easily, the actual process of creating the maps is pretty meticulous.
“If I am not making a map based on the real world, I first need to choose the shape and layout of the map … Then I start the actual mapmaking process; first I draw the brief, preliminary outlines of the various continents and landmasses based on my general knowledge about a subject such as music, literature or sports. The layout of the various landmasses is based on their relations with each other. After that, I start the actual research.”
Vargic goes through quite a bit to gather the information he adds to his map design work and tries to keep the maps “as recent and up to date as possible,” one of the few reasons he refers to the Map of the Internet as a work in progress.
The Map of Stereotypes
“I would say the main goal of every map I do is to inform and educate more people about the subject it is based on and make them more interested in it … I would say to anyone to go and follow his dreams, and try to put in as much hard work as possible to achieve them.”
The Map of Olympic Medals (top left); The Map of Average IQ Score (bottom left); The Map of Nobel Prize Laureates (top right)
The Map of Disasters
The Map of Literature
The Map of Sports
The Map of Stereotypes
The Map of YouTube
All map images are courtesy of Martin Vargic
The Art of Illustrated Maps is the first book ever to fully explore the fascinating world of “illustrated” conceptual maps. Author and map artist John Roman traces the roots of imaginative mapping from their beginnings over two thousand years ago, and shows us how the human mind is programmed to instinctively relate to the geographic exaggerations illustrated maps are famous for.This book maps the origins and history of creative cartography, analyzes why our brains so easily relate to conceptual maps, presents how professional artists create illustrated maps, and showcases the works of contemporary map illustrators from around the world.