Modern Map Art Review

I was born in Chicago. I lived near Midway Airport (and by “near” I mean one block over) until I moved away for college, and then law school, when I was 21. After law school, I returned to Chicago, to the same house I grew up in. John and I bought the house from my parents and lived there for eight years, and welcomed two babies home to that house.

For a variety of reasons it made sense for our family to move to Woodstock and I love it here. It’s a gorgeous area, the kids can walk to school, we have parks and a library nearby, and plenty of things to do and fantastic local businesses. If we are itching to visit Chicago it’s about an hour or hour-and-a-half drive, or we can take the Metra into the city. We live in a house that’s more than 100 years old and it was built for us in a way that a custom built home just couldn’t be.

Woodstock makes me feel calm and relaxed. Woodstock is my kids’ home; Campbell was born here and although Cooper and Dexter weren’t nearly all of their memories are after we moved here.

Chicago is my home, and it’s very much a state of mind for me. It’s loud, and active, and busy, and makes me feel excited, energized, and inquisitive.

My office is on the second floor of our house and my goal is to make it equal parts Woodstock and Chicago. It has a large window overlooking our quiet block and I can look at all the trees and old houses, and watch neighbors walk their dogs or kids ride their bikes. The first art I hung on the wall was the Chicago IL Street Map Poster. I love seeing all the familiar shapes and lines of Lake Michigan, the expressways, and streets of Chicago.

Every time I sit in my office I see that print and I’m reminded of the city and everything I love about it. I remember the noise of the traffic, and trains, and planes; the smell of food from all the amazing restaurants, and all of the places I love to visit. I think of the tall buildings, and crowds of people, and the lakeshore. Since I hung the poster I’ve also added to my Chicago mementos – I have a few of my favorite Chicago books, and I often have a snack of “Chicago Mix” or “Windy City Mix” popcorn. I find these things especially helpful when I’m writing about Chicago.

The Chicago IL Street Map Poster was created by Jennifer Beck and is available in white, black, red, blue & red, and blue & orange in sizes from 8″ x 10″ to 24″ x 36″. Prices range from $29.99 to $79.99.

My poster arrived promptly in a mailing tube. It is printed on thick, museum quality matte paper with Ultrachrome ink. The posters do not come matted or framed; I picked up a simple black frame form mine at a local store. I chose the “white” poster, which shows the city in white, with water and streets marked in black. The city name at the bottom is also black on a white background.

This map is a great addition to any room in the house or office, and makes a great gift for Chicagoans or former Chicagoans. It’s pretty artwork to hang on the wall, but it’s also a personal piece that brings to mind what Chicago means to each individual.

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