Jerry’s Map: Building a World
Every artwork begins with an idea that interests the artist enough to compel them to create something from it. From the initial mark made at the beginning, the artist is creating in response to an idea that expands and changes as the work develops. Jerry Gretzinger has acted upon this notion of responding to an idea in the map that he has created, and continued to create for 50 years.
Jerry’s Map has ‘evolved’ over the years, growing out of a systemic, intricate process that Jerry has created himself. Jerry uses a deck of playing cards, which he dubs the ‘future predictor’, that gives him a set of instructions on what parts of the map he will work on that day. Depending on the instruction, Jerry can build different sections of the world he has created: add new institutions to a city or town, paint some new farmland, scan and archive original pieces and work on the next generation of each map card. Each change is recorded in his computer spreadsheet that contains the population of each town he had created. By using a deck of playing cards, Jerry allows for chance to play a major role in his world-building, and it keeps the map stimulating for him to work on.
Another element of chance that he allows to seep in is his ‘new void’ card, which dictates that Jerry wipe out a section of the map with a splotch of white. As the void expands, the map gets eaten up by the whiteness and replaced with the grey worlds that appear within the void. This idea of destroying and creating anew puts Jerry in a dual position of creator and observer, something that he remarks as being fascinating. The map has obviously taken on a life of its own, and has expanded to being more than 2500 pieces of 8x10 inch card. Having a few prints of the map and one original piece in my possession, I can affirm that they are intricately thought out, beautiful small treasures that show one artist’s dedication to an idea.
If you would like to see Gregory Whitmore’s short film about Jerry and his map (highly recommended), click here.
Jerry is also collaborating with other artists to make more map pieces. To check that out, or if you’re interested in buying a print, check out Jerry’s website here.