PLACES UNKNOWN - CULBERSON and PLANO, TEXAS

Over graciously wide scopes of rolling, open country, the highway winds across a landscape of groomed neatness; out buildings are sturdy, the barns sometimes finer than the big, roomy white frame homes. Sometimes there are plodding oxen in the fields; the next farm may have a tractor. The love of these people for their land is reflected in spick-and-span premises.
—Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State (1940)

Guide Notes:
Culberson, Texas, 24 x 68 inches, oil on canvas, 2011. 
Plano, Texas, 26 x 54 inches, oil on canvas, 2014. 
Editor’s Note: See Guide Nate Burbeck’s PLACES UNKNOWN at Anna Zorina Gallery in New York City. The show, comprised of works completed since 2011, reveals a haunting world of prototypically American locales such as a suburban cul-de-sac, a highway rest stop, an empty field on the edge of town, each rendered alien by the insertion of an inexplicable surreal element. This disruption of our visual expectations is heightened by the addition of figures that stand trance-like, often placed or facing away from the central subject of the painting, expressionless and passive, like observers from another time and culture. The suspended tension of these juxtapositions allows the paintings, as Nate says, to “explore and to externalize an inner space or a psychological state that I feel permeates…contemporary American society.”
What: NATE BURBECK: PLACES UNKNOWN
When: Opening Thursday, February 20, 2014; 6-8PM; Runs through March 25, 2014.
Where: Anna Zorina Gallery, 533 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
* * *
Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.
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PLACES UNKNOWN - CULBERSON and PLANO, TEXAS

Over graciously wide scopes of rolling, open country, the highway winds across a landscape of groomed neatness; out buildings are sturdy, the barns sometimes finer than the big, roomy white frame homes. Sometimes there are plodding oxen in the fields; the next farm may have a tractor. The love of these people for their land is reflected in spick-and-span premises.
—Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State (1940)

Guide Notes:
Culberson, Texas, 24 x 68 inches, oil on canvas, 2011. 
Plano, Texas, 26 x 54 inches, oil on canvas, 2014. 
Editor’s Note: See Guide Nate Burbeck’s PLACES UNKNOWN at Anna Zorina Gallery in New York City. The show, comprised of works completed since 2011, reveals a haunting world of prototypically American locales such as a suburban cul-de-sac, a highway rest stop, an empty field on the edge of town, each rendered alien by the insertion of an inexplicable surreal element. This disruption of our visual expectations is heightened by the addition of figures that stand trance-like, often placed or facing away from the central subject of the painting, expressionless and passive, like observers from another time and culture. The suspended tension of these juxtapositions allows the paintings, as Nate says, to “explore and to externalize an inner space or a psychological state that I feel permeates…contemporary American society.”
What: NATE BURBECK: PLACES UNKNOWN
When: Opening Thursday, February 20, 2014; 6-8PM; Runs through March 25, 2014.
Where: Anna Zorina Gallery, 533 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
* * *
Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.
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PLACES UNKNOWN - CULBERSON and PLANO, TEXAS

Over graciously wide scopes of rolling, open country, the highway winds across a landscape of groomed neatness; out buildings are sturdy, the barns sometimes finer than the big, roomy white frame homes. Sometimes there are plodding oxen in the fields; the next farm may have a tractor. The love of these people for their land is reflected in spick-and-span premises.

Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State (1940)

Guide Notes:

  1. Culberson, Texas, 24 x 68 inches, oil on canvas, 2011. 
  2. Plano, Texas, 26 x 54 inches, oil on canvas, 2014. 

Editor’s Note: See Guide Nate Burbeck’s PLACES UNKNOWN at Anna Zorina Gallery in New York City. The show, comprised of works completed since 2011, reveals a haunting world of prototypically American locales such as a suburban cul-de-sac, a highway rest stop, an empty field on the edge of town, each rendered alien by the insertion of an inexplicable surreal element. This disruption of our visual expectations is heightened by the addition of figures that stand trance-like, often placed or facing away from the central subject of the painting, expressionless and passive, like observers from another time and culture. The suspended tension of these juxtapositions allows the paintings, as Nate says, to “explore and to externalize an inner space or a psychological state that I feel permeates…contemporary American society.”

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
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FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
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FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.
At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.
In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.
Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.
Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.
* * *
Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

FREEDOM TUNNEL - NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The 83-year-old Freedom Tunnel, which runs 2 ½ miles, once funneled freight trains into New York City. It has become Manhattan’s longest and perhaps most atmospheric gallery, where cathedral light falls upon 20-foot high walls. The day-glow alternates with long stretches of complete darkness turning the entire corridor into its own work of chiaroscuro. Admission is free but you might get busted for trespassing. And when trains speed through, you must quickly clear the tracks.

At some point the Freedom Tunnel’s freight trains went away and were replaced by people seeking shelter and artists seeking fabulous light and generous wall space. The subterranean shantytown was featured in the documentary Dark Days which chronicled the stories of tunnel residents and their eventual eviction in 1991 when Amtrak brushed off the abandoned tracks for their Empire Connection line. That hasn’t stopped folks from trespassing.

In 2007, my husband and I descended into the tunnel following entry directions from a fellow explorer. We brought a tripod and two cameras. Upon entering, we saw a man laying on a platform high up to the right of the tracks. He looked up, smiled, mumbled a few words then lay back down. We continued onwards, the only other contact with humans coming from above—the fleeting sounds of children’s laughter, adults conversing loudly. But for the most part it was quiet. We were in an alternate zone where long walks through darkness gave way to columns of sunlight that fell in from grates above and on the west side of the tracks. The effects combined with the graffiti were a photographer’s dream. Rays of light fell beneath an alien smoking from a hookah. Beautifully designed block letters, 10-feet-tall, spelled out “peace.” And the iconic “There’s No Way Like the American Way” mural by Chris Pape referenced the people that once made this subterranean landscape their home—the “mole people” as they came to be known.

Our walk through this corridor of chiaroscuro was loaded with anticipation. Even in the darkness, our flashlights revealed smaller artworks, tags, and random prose. All manner of ephemera littered the ground—a teddy bear, the bare bones of a bike, and no shortage of spray paint cans. And while there was ample room off the tracks and no third rail to worry about, when a train thundered through it definitely amped the excitement.

Artist Chris Pape (aka Freedom), for whom the tunnel is named, began painting there in 1980. There is an old photo of Pape’s recreation of Goya’s Third of May beautifully lit by a fire that a resident used for cooking. Pape said it was meant to viewed by that firelight. In 2009, Amtrak began painting over the tunnel walls. Gone are works like the American Way mural. The cavalier ruin of decades of visual history is in keeping with the heavy, sometimes tragic, history of this controversial corridor. But the art keeps going up. These days, websites provide directions to the tunnel’s once-secret entrance and more folks are exploring it. I can’t begrudge the masses. To visit the Freedom Tunnel is to experience another dimension, one that is as much a visceral experience as it is visual.

* * *

Irene Tejaratchi Hess is a photographer, video editor and writer.  She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, where evenings brought the sweet song of the mourning dove and the low whistle of a mobster calling his kids home for dinner. Irene spent her early career producing natural history documentaries for the PBS series Nature. She now lives in Portland, Oregon and recently finished editing a documentary on the Marine National Monuments. Find more of her work on her website, www.IreneHess.com, and follow her on Tumblr at luxroxvox.tumblr.com.

MAINE TIMBER COUNTRY

The tree has symbolized the land, people, and wealth of the New England region long before Europeans stumbled onto its shores. The tree has been portrayed, as well, on countless New England maps, flags, and documents: official, sacred and mundane.

To put things in perspective, the first colonial coin featured a tree. The New England forest was claimed by the British Crown in the 17th century as timber became New England’s first big colonial calling card. Wood was of military import to the British Empire as a timber-starved England desperately needed wood ship masts for its ever-growing Navy. In fact, the first sawmill in North America was built in York, Maine, in 1623 for the express purpose of exporting lumber to England. The America timber industry was born as custom-built ships transported 100’ white pine ship masts and other lumber to the homeland in mass-market fashion. Nearly four hundred years later, the timber business continues to be a dynamic force on the Maine landscape, economy, and people.

From highways crowded with logging trucks to piles of timber stacked three stories high, it’s evident on the ground that timber is big business here. Almost 90 percent of the state of Maine is cover by forest and approximately 66 percent of the land is timberland. In 2005, the annual revenues from Maine’s forest topped $6 billion ($5.31 billion in forest-based manufacturing and $1.5 billion from forest-related recreation and tourism).

Beyond the dollars, timber benefits include stewardship of regional green space, wildlife habitat, and clean watersheds. The timber industry also offers a constant supply of environmental critique that range from chemicals used in the paper sector to woodland habitat loss.

Long gone are the days when unfortunate lumberjacks were buried in unmarked graves with their boots nailed to the nearest tree, but logging-related danger still looms on Maine’s back roads and highways. Ask any mother in Maine about heavily loaded, speeding logging trucks on local roads and you will be schooled.

Below the billboard issues lie the detail and cultural texture of living in a tree state. Abandoned skidders, landings, bottle cap clubs, nurse stumps, wood poaching, and wood pile contests are but a few of the cultural details of timber country. Logging roads and timber tracts provide the greatest cultural context, especially in terms of social and recreation opportunities. Their unintended use include hiking, bird watching, motocross, ski-dooing, and countless other wholesome outdoor activities. Far from prying eyes, these remote places host a bit of devious mischief, as well. Among other activities, quiet logging roads serve as popular under-age “drinking roads” — as evident by occasional trails of empty “road soda” cans. Such beer cans are but tiny shiny blips in the never-ending feedback loop between man and nature within the cultural landscape of America’s premier “Pine Tree State.”

Editor’s Note: David Buckley Borden is participating in the Boston Fun-A-Day 2014 project by developing 31, one-page landscape installation proposals during the month of January. The work is a freewheeling exploration of the New England landscape and our cultural love affair with the region’s “great outdoors.”

Follow Fun-A-Day Boston at http://funadayboston.tumblr.com/. And if you’re in the region, stop by the Fun-A-Day Boston 2014 show hosted by Voltage Coffee & Art (Opening Reception February 21st, 7-9pm; Show runs February 17th through April 5th).

* * *

David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.

Find more of his work at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr atdavidbuckleyborden.tumblr.com and follow him on instagram

ILLUSTRATED NEW ENGLAND
Not sure which of David Buckley Borden’s fantastic illustrations we first ran across, but whether it was the Masshole, the Demonym Map or one of his New England Ecological Engineers, we were hooked immediately. A landscape designer by day, David has a great Tumblr that we’ve been fans of for some time. To kick off 2014, he was kind enough to share some of his art and talk with us about how New England’s culture, landscape and ecology are reflected in his work.
AG: David, you’re originally from New England. We know it’s hard to describe where you’re from in just a few words, but what are one or two things the rest of the country (and/or New Englanders themselves) should know about the region? 
DBB: The New England forest was once clear-cut on an Amazonian magnitude. At the height of the region’s merino wool craze in the 1840s, approximately 70% of the New England landscape was cleared for pasture and agriculture. This sheep craze is just one example of the culture-driven landscape transformations the region has undergone in the course of its history. New England was arguably saved from the ecological disaster of sheep farming by another major cultural event: the Civil War and the subsequent opening of the West. All landscapes are created and experienced within a cultural context, and this is important to keep in mind when getting to know New England, or any other region for that matter.
AG: What draws you to explore the cultural landscapes of New England through the lens of art? How does where you’re from influence what you do? 
DBB: In my view, the human condition is a place-based experience and I’m exploring my place, New England, by way of art and design. Many of the ideas underlying my artwork are the same ideas I’m exploring in my landscape architecture practice. Part of my daily work is to analyze and communicate ideas related to landscape and this practice is often done through drawings. Still, the landscape architecture profession takes itself very seriously and operates on a long timeframe. My art is a creative counter to this; the artwork is created relatively quickly and is “light” in attitude, although no less informed. Because there are no clients to serve, my art allows me to explore my personal landscape-related interests including the nuances of being a native New Englander and the influence of place on the human experience.
AG: In several of your pieces, you combine cartography with the vernacular of New England. What is it about that intersection that interests you? Is there any sort of regional tradition along the same lines?  
DBB: There is a regional tradition of cartography, especially in the terms of New England’s colonial past. Many of the earliest documentations of New England were maps; maps of exploration, territory, resources, rivers, trade routes, etc. Beyond its history, I love cartography because it’s accessible. People know the language of maps. As a creative device, the map is an ancient, yet highly effective, communication tool that still resonates with folks, much like the vernacular of New England. Both cartography and the vernacular are relevant and meaningful to a broad cross section of people, which is of great interest to me as both an artist and a designer of the built environment.
AG: Your artwork draws from not only the cultural aspects of New England, but also its ecology, geology, etc.—elements that you work with as a landscape designer. How have you (re-)discovered the landscape around you through your illustration?
DBB: In terms of landscape, if geology is the bones, then ecology is the hair, skin and nails. And culture is the heart and soul. I work at the junction of man and nature. Much of my New England artwork can be boiled down to insights, commentary, or interesting facts about this intersection of landscape and culture. Some of my illustrations are project proposals, some are nerdy inside jokes, but all are exercises in learning about a landscape’s existing and/or proposed condition. In essence, my art is a means to understanding a place.
AG: With the Maine plaid and the preferred disruptive pattern material (DPMs), you delineate states using fabric tropes. We’re intrigued by the idea of regional fabrics. Talk to us about what plaid and camouflage represent to New Englanders and how they’re worn and used.
DBB: The term “urban fabric” is sometimes used in the urban planning and design field to describe the density, character and built condition of cities and suburbs. For example, a city with narrow streets and lots of densely built small buildings is said to have a tight fabric. Along these lines of thinking, I explore the fabrics of regional landscapes. So, what type of fabric would best describe the Maine woods in winter? A red and black Buffalo plaid seemed right to me.
Camouflage, also known as disruptive pattern material (DPM), is certainly a popular clothing pattern in New England. It is used on everything from snowmobiles to bikinis. Each prevalent camouflage pattern has a unique origin and its own set of cultural associations, including stereotypes. In the case of state identity, you can bet your wool mittens, New England is divided on the issue of camouflage preference… On the regional scale, each state possesses unique landscapes: the finger lakes in New Hampshire, the blue hills of Massachusetts, the swamps of Rhode Island, the valleys of Vermont, etcetera. Each landscape has its own distinct landscape ecology patterns and from 2000 feet above they reveal their own unique patterns, which often look like military issued camouflage patterns.
AG: One of the things we’re trying to explore in the American Guide is the persistence of regionalism. How do you see that playing out in New England?
DBB: The maple syrup bucket is half full. The type of regionalism that runs hand-in-hand with “place as tourist attraction” is alive and well in the town commons of New England. The type of regionalism that centers on a unique regional place-based way of life defiantly limps along. Market forces and transportation and communication technologies certainly challenge the regional character of New England, but there are forces greater than iPhones, cheap drywall and two-day shipping. In particular, people’s longing to be rooted in a place and their willingness to carry on family/local traditions are at the core of the persistence of regionalism.
AG: Are there any artists or designers you admire who similarly explored (or currently explore) New England regionalism?
DBB: New England has a rich art history and currently has a variety of thriving regional creative hubs: Portland (ME), Brattleboro (VT),   Peterborough (NH), Providence (RI), New Haven (CT) and my current hometown of Cambridge (MA). Some of the most influential “regional” artists to my creative work include Eric Sloane, Andrew Wyeth, Jon Piasecki, and my graduate school drawing instructor Anne McGee, who paints wonderfully insightful Fenway Park and Cape & Island scapes.
Although not artists per se, there are a number of influential New England-based writers who explore regionalism related topics in their work. These writers are the greatest influence on my fundamental understanding of the place-based experience and the complexity of cultural landscapes. My list is long, but three of the most powerful authors include Howard Mansfield (NH), John Stillgoe (MA), and Richard Forman (MA). And if I had to recommend just one book, it would be Stillgoe’s Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places. 
AG: Besides your Tumblr, where else can we find your work?
DBB: I’d like to welcome everyone to attend the group art show at the Aviary Gallery on January 2nd in Jamaica Plain, MA. The show, entitled BEST IN SHOW: An exhibition of art inspired by animals, both real & imagined runs through the end of the month. I have two animals in the show.
Beyond the animals exhibition, I’m currently developing an art installation at Bodega in Boston for March and am working with Trifecta Editions on a three-day art happening in May.
In the interim I’m participating in the Boston Fun-A-Day project by developing 31 one-page landscape installation proposals during the Month of January. The ultimate goal is to build a couple of these proposals in the field this summer. I encourage people to follow the daily progress of this project on my tumblr and instagram or my ol’ fashioned website.
Editor’s note: We’d definitely recommend checking out the Aviary Gallery show if you’re in the area. The Gallery is at 48 South Street in Jamaica Plain, MA and the opening reception is tomorrow, January 2nd from 6-9pm. Pets are welcome and a portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. 
Illustrations in order of appearance - top to bottom, left to right:
1) Massachusetts’ Premiere Ecological Engineer - The Massachuset and Wampanoag tribes called the land I grew up in “Nanamooskeagin,” or “land of many beavers.” Sadly, the only castor canadensis I’ve seen in my hometown are found on the Abington town seal at the top of property tax bills. (Silkscreen print on 8 X 10” Rives BFK grey paper)
2) New England Demonym Map - Some times people name places. Other times places name people. (Mixed media: pencil, pen, watercolor, carbon transfer, photoshop touch. 8.5” X 11”, 2012)
3) Nurse Log- A familiar sight in the New England forest, the nurse log is essentially a fallen tree, covered with a layer of moss and organic debris. It provides a natural germination field for native species of shade loving plants. (Ink, graphite, colored pencil and carbon transfer on paper, 8.5 x 11”, Winter 2013) 
4) Maine Is Cold Map (Collage, Winter 2013)
5) Masshole, Circa 1620 A.D.  - The definition of a “masshole” is arguably as varied as the people of  Massachusetts. My personal perspective  is more concerned with local soil horizons than issues of poor driving manners or sour temperaments. (Two-color silkscreen print of this Masshole drawing available from Trifecta Editions)
6) Granite Love Letter - Installation Proposal:Life-sized fieldstone love note in the wild flower field on the southern hillside at Bobolink Farm in Harrisville, NH. Installation consists of 22 tons of dry-laid local granite field stone consisting of four stone fence inspired forms, laid out as “X O X O.”
7) Momma Said Knock You Out - The chestnut blight is a cruel organism; just as it appears the chestnut sapling has made its triumphant return and is going to shoot up to be a mighty tree of yore. It doesn’t. In the words of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years”… a sad arrested state for a tree that once made up the majority of America’s total tree cover. (Pen, pencil, carbon transfer on paper, 8” X 10”, Spring 2011)
8) New England DPM Preference Map (Mixed media: Pen, pencil, acrylic paint, illustrator. Spring 2013)
* * *
David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.
Find more of his work at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr at davidbuckleyborden.tumblr.com and follow him on instagram. 
Zoom Info
ILLUSTRATED NEW ENGLAND
Not sure which of David Buckley Borden’s fantastic illustrations we first ran across, but whether it was the Masshole, the Demonym Map or one of his New England Ecological Engineers, we were hooked immediately. A landscape designer by day, David has a great Tumblr that we’ve been fans of for some time. To kick off 2014, he was kind enough to share some of his art and talk with us about how New England’s culture, landscape and ecology are reflected in his work.
AG: David, you’re originally from New England. We know it’s hard to describe where you’re from in just a few words, but what are one or two things the rest of the country (and/or New Englanders themselves) should know about the region? 
DBB: The New England forest was once clear-cut on an Amazonian magnitude. At the height of the region’s merino wool craze in the 1840s, approximately 70% of the New England landscape was cleared for pasture and agriculture. This sheep craze is just one example of the culture-driven landscape transformations the region has undergone in the course of its history. New England was arguably saved from the ecological disaster of sheep farming by another major cultural event: the Civil War and the subsequent opening of the West. All landscapes are created and experienced within a cultural context, and this is important to keep in mind when getting to know New England, or any other region for that matter.
AG: What draws you to explore the cultural landscapes of New England through the lens of art? How does where you’re from influence what you do? 
DBB: In my view, the human condition is a place-based experience and I’m exploring my place, New England, by way of art and design. Many of the ideas underlying my artwork are the same ideas I’m exploring in my landscape architecture practice. Part of my daily work is to analyze and communicate ideas related to landscape and this practice is often done through drawings. Still, the landscape architecture profession takes itself very seriously and operates on a long timeframe. My art is a creative counter to this; the artwork is created relatively quickly and is “light” in attitude, although no less informed. Because there are no clients to serve, my art allows me to explore my personal landscape-related interests including the nuances of being a native New Englander and the influence of place on the human experience.
AG: In several of your pieces, you combine cartography with the vernacular of New England. What is it about that intersection that interests you? Is there any sort of regional tradition along the same lines?  
DBB: There is a regional tradition of cartography, especially in the terms of New England’s colonial past. Many of the earliest documentations of New England were maps; maps of exploration, territory, resources, rivers, trade routes, etc. Beyond its history, I love cartography because it’s accessible. People know the language of maps. As a creative device, the map is an ancient, yet highly effective, communication tool that still resonates with folks, much like the vernacular of New England. Both cartography and the vernacular are relevant and meaningful to a broad cross section of people, which is of great interest to me as both an artist and a designer of the built environment.
AG: Your artwork draws from not only the cultural aspects of New England, but also its ecology, geology, etc.—elements that you work with as a landscape designer. How have you (re-)discovered the landscape around you through your illustration?
DBB: In terms of landscape, if geology is the bones, then ecology is the hair, skin and nails. And culture is the heart and soul. I work at the junction of man and nature. Much of my New England artwork can be boiled down to insights, commentary, or interesting facts about this intersection of landscape and culture. Some of my illustrations are project proposals, some are nerdy inside jokes, but all are exercises in learning about a landscape’s existing and/or proposed condition. In essence, my art is a means to understanding a place.
AG: With the Maine plaid and the preferred disruptive pattern material (DPMs), you delineate states using fabric tropes. We’re intrigued by the idea of regional fabrics. Talk to us about what plaid and camouflage represent to New Englanders and how they’re worn and used.
DBB: The term “urban fabric” is sometimes used in the urban planning and design field to describe the density, character and built condition of cities and suburbs. For example, a city with narrow streets and lots of densely built small buildings is said to have a tight fabric. Along these lines of thinking, I explore the fabrics of regional landscapes. So, what type of fabric would best describe the Maine woods in winter? A red and black Buffalo plaid seemed right to me.
Camouflage, also known as disruptive pattern material (DPM), is certainly a popular clothing pattern in New England. It is used on everything from snowmobiles to bikinis. Each prevalent camouflage pattern has a unique origin and its own set of cultural associations, including stereotypes. In the case of state identity, you can bet your wool mittens, New England is divided on the issue of camouflage preference… On the regional scale, each state possesses unique landscapes: the finger lakes in New Hampshire, the blue hills of Massachusetts, the swamps of Rhode Island, the valleys of Vermont, etcetera. Each landscape has its own distinct landscape ecology patterns and from 2000 feet above they reveal their own unique patterns, which often look like military issued camouflage patterns.
AG: One of the things we’re trying to explore in the American Guide is the persistence of regionalism. How do you see that playing out in New England?
DBB: The maple syrup bucket is half full. The type of regionalism that runs hand-in-hand with “place as tourist attraction” is alive and well in the town commons of New England. The type of regionalism that centers on a unique regional place-based way of life defiantly limps along. Market forces and transportation and communication technologies certainly challenge the regional character of New England, but there are forces greater than iPhones, cheap drywall and two-day shipping. In particular, people’s longing to be rooted in a place and their willingness to carry on family/local traditions are at the core of the persistence of regionalism.
AG: Are there any artists or designers you admire who similarly explored (or currently explore) New England regionalism?
DBB: New England has a rich art history and currently has a variety of thriving regional creative hubs: Portland (ME), Brattleboro (VT),   Peterborough (NH), Providence (RI), New Haven (CT) and my current hometown of Cambridge (MA). Some of the most influential “regional” artists to my creative work include Eric Sloane, Andrew Wyeth, Jon Piasecki, and my graduate school drawing instructor Anne McGee, who paints wonderfully insightful Fenway Park and Cape & Island scapes.
Although not artists per se, there are a number of influential New England-based writers who explore regionalism related topics in their work. These writers are the greatest influence on my fundamental understanding of the place-based experience and the complexity of cultural landscapes. My list is long, but three of the most powerful authors include Howard Mansfield (NH), John Stillgoe (MA), and Richard Forman (MA). And if I had to recommend just one book, it would be Stillgoe’s Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places. 
AG: Besides your Tumblr, where else can we find your work?
DBB: I’d like to welcome everyone to attend the group art show at the Aviary Gallery on January 2nd in Jamaica Plain, MA. The show, entitled BEST IN SHOW: An exhibition of art inspired by animals, both real & imagined runs through the end of the month. I have two animals in the show.
Beyond the animals exhibition, I’m currently developing an art installation at Bodega in Boston for March and am working with Trifecta Editions on a three-day art happening in May.
In the interim I’m participating in the Boston Fun-A-Day project by developing 31 one-page landscape installation proposals during the Month of January. The ultimate goal is to build a couple of these proposals in the field this summer. I encourage people to follow the daily progress of this project on my tumblr and instagram or my ol’ fashioned website.
Editor’s note: We’d definitely recommend checking out the Aviary Gallery show if you’re in the area. The Gallery is at 48 South Street in Jamaica Plain, MA and the opening reception is tomorrow, January 2nd from 6-9pm. Pets are welcome and a portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. 
Illustrations in order of appearance - top to bottom, left to right:
1) Massachusetts’ Premiere Ecological Engineer - The Massachuset and Wampanoag tribes called the land I grew up in “Nanamooskeagin,” or “land of many beavers.” Sadly, the only castor canadensis I’ve seen in my hometown are found on the Abington town seal at the top of property tax bills. (Silkscreen print on 8 X 10” Rives BFK grey paper)
2) New England Demonym Map - Some times people name places. Other times places name people. (Mixed media: pencil, pen, watercolor, carbon transfer, photoshop touch. 8.5” X 11”, 2012)
3) Nurse Log- A familiar sight in the New England forest, the nurse log is essentially a fallen tree, covered with a layer of moss and organic debris. It provides a natural germination field for native species of shade loving plants. (Ink, graphite, colored pencil and carbon transfer on paper, 8.5 x 11”, Winter 2013) 
4) Maine Is Cold Map (Collage, Winter 2013)
5) Masshole, Circa 1620 A.D.  - The definition of a “masshole” is arguably as varied as the people of  Massachusetts. My personal perspective  is more concerned with local soil horizons than issues of poor driving manners or sour temperaments. (Two-color silkscreen print of this Masshole drawing available from Trifecta Editions)
6) Granite Love Letter - Installation Proposal:Life-sized fieldstone love note in the wild flower field on the southern hillside at Bobolink Farm in Harrisville, NH. Installation consists of 22 tons of dry-laid local granite field stone consisting of four stone fence inspired forms, laid out as “X O X O.”
7) Momma Said Knock You Out - The chestnut blight is a cruel organism; just as it appears the chestnut sapling has made its triumphant return and is going to shoot up to be a mighty tree of yore. It doesn’t. In the words of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years”… a sad arrested state for a tree that once made up the majority of America’s total tree cover. (Pen, pencil, carbon transfer on paper, 8” X 10”, Spring 2011)
8) New England DPM Preference Map (Mixed media: Pen, pencil, acrylic paint, illustrator. Spring 2013)
* * *
David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.
Find more of his work at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr at davidbuckleyborden.tumblr.com and follow him on instagram. 
Zoom Info
ILLUSTRATED NEW ENGLAND
Not sure which of David Buckley Borden’s fantastic illustrations we first ran across, but whether it was the Masshole, the Demonym Map or one of his New England Ecological Engineers, we were hooked immediately. A landscape designer by day, David has a great Tumblr that we’ve been fans of for some time. To kick off 2014, he was kind enough to share some of his art and talk with us about how New England’s culture, landscape and ecology are reflected in his work.
AG: David, you’re originally from New England. We know it’s hard to describe where you’re from in just a few words, but what are one or two things the rest of the country (and/or New Englanders themselves) should know about the region? 
DBB: The New England forest was once clear-cut on an Amazonian magnitude. At the height of the region’s merino wool craze in the 1840s, approximately 70% of the New England landscape was cleared for pasture and agriculture. This sheep craze is just one example of the culture-driven landscape transformations the region has undergone in the course of its history. New England was arguably saved from the ecological disaster of sheep farming by another major cultural event: the Civil War and the subsequent opening of the West. All landscapes are created and experienced within a cultural context, and this is important to keep in mind when getting to know New England, or any other region for that matter.
AG: What draws you to explore the cultural landscapes of New England through the lens of art? How does where you’re from influence what you do? 
DBB: In my view, the human condition is a place-based experience and I’m exploring my place, New England, by way of art and design. Many of the ideas underlying my artwork are the same ideas I’m exploring in my landscape architecture practice. Part of my daily work is to analyze and communicate ideas related to landscape and this practice is often done through drawings. Still, the landscape architecture profession takes itself very seriously and operates on a long timeframe. My art is a creative counter to this; the artwork is created relatively quickly and is “light” in attitude, although no less informed. Because there are no clients to serve, my art allows me to explore my personal landscape-related interests including the nuances of being a native New Englander and the influence of place on the human experience.
AG: In several of your pieces, you combine cartography with the vernacular of New England. What is it about that intersection that interests you? Is there any sort of regional tradition along the same lines?  
DBB: There is a regional tradition of cartography, especially in the terms of New England’s colonial past. Many of the earliest documentations of New England were maps; maps of exploration, territory, resources, rivers, trade routes, etc. Beyond its history, I love cartography because it’s accessible. People know the language of maps. As a creative device, the map is an ancient, yet highly effective, communication tool that still resonates with folks, much like the vernacular of New England. Both cartography and the vernacular are relevant and meaningful to a broad cross section of people, which is of great interest to me as both an artist and a designer of the built environment.
AG: Your artwork draws from not only the cultural aspects of New England, but also its ecology, geology, etc.—elements that you work with as a landscape designer. How have you (re-)discovered the landscape around you through your illustration?
DBB: In terms of landscape, if geology is the bones, then ecology is the hair, skin and nails. And culture is the heart and soul. I work at the junction of man and nature. Much of my New England artwork can be boiled down to insights, commentary, or interesting facts about this intersection of landscape and culture. Some of my illustrations are project proposals, some are nerdy inside jokes, but all are exercises in learning about a landscape’s existing and/or proposed condition. In essence, my art is a means to understanding a place.
AG: With the Maine plaid and the preferred disruptive pattern material (DPMs), you delineate states using fabric tropes. We’re intrigued by the idea of regional fabrics. Talk to us about what plaid and camouflage represent to New Englanders and how they’re worn and used.
DBB: The term “urban fabric” is sometimes used in the urban planning and design field to describe the density, character and built condition of cities and suburbs. For example, a city with narrow streets and lots of densely built small buildings is said to have a tight fabric. Along these lines of thinking, I explore the fabrics of regional landscapes. So, what type of fabric would best describe the Maine woods in winter? A red and black Buffalo plaid seemed right to me.
Camouflage, also known as disruptive pattern material (DPM), is certainly a popular clothing pattern in New England. It is used on everything from snowmobiles to bikinis. Each prevalent camouflage pattern has a unique origin and its own set of cultural associations, including stereotypes. In the case of state identity, you can bet your wool mittens, New England is divided on the issue of camouflage preference… On the regional scale, each state possesses unique landscapes: the finger lakes in New Hampshire, the blue hills of Massachusetts, the swamps of Rhode Island, the valleys of Vermont, etcetera. Each landscape has its own distinct landscape ecology patterns and from 2000 feet above they reveal their own unique patterns, which often look like military issued camouflage patterns.
AG: One of the things we’re trying to explore in the American Guide is the persistence of regionalism. How do you see that playing out in New England?
DBB: The maple syrup bucket is half full. The type of regionalism that runs hand-in-hand with “place as tourist attraction” is alive and well in the town commons of New England. The type of regionalism that centers on a unique regional place-based way of life defiantly limps along. Market forces and transportation and communication technologies certainly challenge the regional character of New England, but there are forces greater than iPhones, cheap drywall and two-day shipping. In particular, people’s longing to be rooted in a place and their willingness to carry on family/local traditions are at the core of the persistence of regionalism.
AG: Are there any artists or designers you admire who similarly explored (or currently explore) New England regionalism?
DBB: New England has a rich art history and currently has a variety of thriving regional creative hubs: Portland (ME), Brattleboro (VT),   Peterborough (NH), Providence (RI), New Haven (CT) and my current hometown of Cambridge (MA). Some of the most influential “regional” artists to my creative work include Eric Sloane, Andrew Wyeth, Jon Piasecki, and my graduate school drawing instructor Anne McGee, who paints wonderfully insightful Fenway Park and Cape & Island scapes.
Although not artists per se, there are a number of influential New England-based writers who explore regionalism related topics in their work. These writers are the greatest influence on my fundamental understanding of the place-based experience and the complexity of cultural landscapes. My list is long, but three of the most powerful authors include Howard Mansfield (NH), John Stillgoe (MA), and Richard Forman (MA). And if I had to recommend just one book, it would be Stillgoe’s Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places. 
AG: Besides your Tumblr, where else can we find your work?
DBB: I’d like to welcome everyone to attend the group art show at the Aviary Gallery on January 2nd in Jamaica Plain, MA. The show, entitled BEST IN SHOW: An exhibition of art inspired by animals, both real & imagined runs through the end of the month. I have two animals in the show.
Beyond the animals exhibition, I’m currently developing an art installation at Bodega in Boston for March and am working with Trifecta Editions on a three-day art happening in May.
In the interim I’m participating in the Boston Fun-A-Day project by developing 31 one-page landscape installation proposals during the Month of January. The ultimate goal is to build a couple of these proposals in the field this summer. I encourage people to follow the daily progress of this project on my tumblr and instagram or my ol’ fashioned website.
Editor’s note: We’d definitely recommend checking out the Aviary Gallery show if you’re in the area. The Gallery is at 48 South Street in Jamaica Plain, MA and the opening reception is tomorrow, January 2nd from 6-9pm. Pets are welcome and a portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. 
Illustrations in order of appearance - top to bottom, left to right:
1) Massachusetts’ Premiere Ecological Engineer - The Massachuset and Wampanoag tribes called the land I grew up in “Nanamooskeagin,” or “land of many beavers.” Sadly, the only castor canadensis I’ve seen in my hometown are found on the Abington town seal at the top of property tax bills. (Silkscreen print on 8 X 10” Rives BFK grey paper)
2) New England Demonym Map - Some times people name places. Other times places name people. (Mixed media: pencil, pen, watercolor, carbon transfer, photoshop touch. 8.5” X 11”, 2012)
3) Nurse Log- A familiar sight in the New England forest, the nurse log is essentially a fallen tree, covered with a layer of moss and organic debris. It provides a natural germination field for native species of shade loving plants. (Ink, graphite, colored pencil and carbon transfer on paper, 8.5 x 11”, Winter 2013) 
4) Maine Is Cold Map (Collage, Winter 2013)
5) Masshole, Circa 1620 A.D.  - The definition of a “masshole” is arguably as varied as the people of  Massachusetts. My personal perspective  is more concerned with local soil horizons than issues of poor driving manners or sour temperaments. (Two-color silkscreen print of this Masshole drawing available from Trifecta Editions)
6) Granite Love Letter - Installation Proposal:Life-sized fieldstone love note in the wild flower field on the southern hillside at Bobolink Farm in Harrisville, NH. Installation consists of 22 tons of dry-laid local granite field stone consisting of four stone fence inspired forms, laid out as “X O X O.”
7) Momma Said Knock You Out - The chestnut blight is a cruel organism; just as it appears the chestnut sapling has made its triumphant return and is going to shoot up to be a mighty tree of yore. It doesn’t. In the words of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years”… a sad arrested state for a tree that once made up the majority of America’s total tree cover. (Pen, pencil, carbon transfer on paper, 8” X 10”, Spring 2011)
8) New England DPM Preference Map (Mixed media: Pen, pencil, acrylic paint, illustrator. Spring 2013)
* * *
David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.
Find more of his work at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr at davidbuckleyborden.tumblr.com and follow him on instagram. 
Zoom Info

ILLUSTRATED NEW ENGLAND

Not sure which of David Buckley Borden’s fantastic illustrations we first ran across, but whether it was the Masshole, the Demonym Map or one of his New England Ecological Engineers, we were hooked immediately. A landscape designer by day, David has a great Tumblr that we’ve been fans of for some time. To kick off 2014, he was kind enough to share some of his art and talk with us about how New England’s culture, landscape and ecology are reflected in his work.

AG: David, you’re originally from New England. We know it’s hard to describe where you’re from in just a few words, but what are one or two things the rest of the country (and/or New Englanders themselves) should know about the region? 

DBB: The New England forest was once clear-cut on an Amazonian magnitude. At the height of the region’s merino wool craze in the 1840s, approximately 70% of the New England landscape was cleared for pasture and agriculture. This sheep craze is just one example of the culture-driven landscape transformations the region has undergone in the course of its history. New England was arguably saved from the ecological disaster of sheep farming by another major cultural event: the Civil War and the subsequent opening of the West. All landscapes are created and experienced within a cultural context, and this is important to keep in mind when getting to know New England, or any other region for that matter.

AG: What draws you to explore the cultural landscapes of New England through the lens of art? How does where you’re from influence what you do? 

DBB: In my view, the human condition is a place-based experience and I’m exploring my place, New England, by way of art and design. Many of the ideas underlying my artwork are the same ideas I’m exploring in my landscape architecture practice. Part of my daily work is to analyze and communicate ideas related to landscape and this practice is often done through drawings. Still, the landscape architecture profession takes itself very seriously and operates on a long timeframe. My art is a creative counter to this; the artwork is created relatively quickly and is “light” in attitude, although no less informed. Because there are no clients to serve, my art allows me to explore my personal landscape-related interests including the nuances of being a native New Englander and the influence of place on the human experience.

AG: In several of your pieces, you combine cartography with the vernacular of New England. What is it about that intersection that interests you? Is there any sort of regional tradition along the same lines?  

DBB: There is a regional tradition of cartography, especially in the terms of New England’s colonial past. Many of the earliest documentations of New England were maps; maps of exploration, territory, resources, rivers, trade routes, etc. Beyond its history, I love cartography because it’s accessible. People know the language of maps. As a creative device, the map is an ancient, yet highly effective, communication tool that still resonates with folks, much like the vernacular of New England. Both cartography and the vernacular are relevant and meaningful to a broad cross section of people, which is of great interest to me as both an artist and a designer of the built environment.

AG: Your artwork draws from not only the cultural aspects of New England, but also its ecology, geology, etc.—elements that you work with as a landscape designer. How have you (re-)discovered the landscape around you through your illustration?

DBB: In terms of landscape, if geology is the bones, then ecology is the hair, skin and nails. And culture is the heart and soul. I work at the junction of man and nature. Much of my New England artwork can be boiled down to insights, commentary, or interesting facts about this intersection of landscape and culture. Some of my illustrations are project proposals, some are nerdy inside jokes, but all are exercises in learning about a landscape’s existing and/or proposed condition. In essence, my art is a means to understanding a place.

AG: With the Maine plaid and the preferred disruptive pattern material (DPMs), you delineate states using fabric tropes. We’re intrigued by the idea of regional fabrics. Talk to us about what plaid and camouflage represent to New Englanders and how they’re worn and used.

DBB: The term “urban fabric” is sometimes used in the urban planning and design field to describe the density, character and built condition of cities and suburbs. For example, a city with narrow streets and lots of densely built small buildings is said to have a tight fabric. Along these lines of thinking, I explore the fabrics of regional landscapes. So, what type of fabric would best describe the Maine woods in winter? A red and black Buffalo plaid seemed right to me.

Camouflage, also known as disruptive pattern material (DPM), is certainly a popular clothing pattern in New England. It is used on everything from snowmobiles to bikinis. Each prevalent camouflage pattern has a unique origin and its own set of cultural associations, including stereotypes. In the case of state identity, you can bet your wool mittens, New England is divided on the issue of camouflage preference… On the regional scale, each state possesses unique landscapes: the finger lakes in New Hampshire, the blue hills of Massachusetts, the swamps of Rhode Island, the valleys of Vermont, etcetera. Each landscape has its own distinct landscape ecology patterns and from 2000 feet above they reveal their own unique patterns, which often look like military issued camouflage patterns.

AG: One of the things we’re trying to explore in the American Guide is the persistence of regionalism. How do you see that playing out in New England?

DBB: The maple syrup bucket is half full. The type of regionalism that runs hand-in-hand with “place as tourist attraction” is alive and well in the town commons of New England. The type of regionalism that centers on a unique regional place-based way of life defiantly limps along. Market forces and transportation and communication technologies certainly challenge the regional character of New England, but there are forces greater than iPhones, cheap drywall and two-day shipping. In particular, people’s longing to be rooted in a place and their willingness to carry on family/local traditions are at the core of the persistence of regionalism.

AG: Are there any artists or designers you admire who similarly explored (or currently explore) New England regionalism?

DBB: New England has a rich art history and currently has a variety of thriving regional creative hubs: Portland (ME), Brattleboro (VT),   Peterborough (NH), Providence (RI), New Haven (CT) and my current hometown of Cambridge (MA). Some of the most influential “regional” artists to my creative work include Eric Sloane, Andrew Wyeth, Jon Piasecki, and my graduate school drawing instructor Anne McGee, who paints wonderfully insightful Fenway Park and Cape & Island scapes.

Although not artists per se, there are a number of influential New England-based writers who explore regionalism related topics in their work. These writers are the greatest influence on my fundamental understanding of the place-based experience and the complexity of cultural landscapes. My list is long, but three of the most powerful authors include Howard Mansfield (NH), John Stillgoe (MA), and Richard Forman (MA). And if I had to recommend just one book, it would be Stillgoe’s Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places. 

AG: Besides your Tumblr, where else can we find your work?

DBB: I’d like to welcome everyone to attend the group art show at the Aviary Gallery on January 2nd in Jamaica Plain, MA. The show, entitled BEST IN SHOW: An exhibition of art inspired by animals, both real & imagined runs through the end of the month. I have two animals in the show.

Beyond the animals exhibition, I’m currently developing an art installation at Bodega in Boston for March and am working with Trifecta Editions on a three-day art happening in May.

In the interim I’m participating in the Boston Fun-A-Day project by developing 31 one-page landscape installation proposals during the Month of January. The ultimate goal is to build a couple of these proposals in the field this summer. I encourage people to follow the daily progress of this project on my tumblr and instagram or my ol’ fashioned website.

Editor’s note: We’d definitely recommend checking out the Aviary Gallery show if you’re in the area. The Gallery is at 48 South Street in Jamaica Plain, MA and the opening reception is tomorrow, January 2nd from 6-9pm. Pets are welcome and a portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. 

Illustrations in order of appearance - top to bottom, left to right:

1) Massachusetts’ Premiere Ecological Engineer The Massachuset and Wampanoag tribes called the land I grew up in “Nanamooskeagin,” or “land of many beavers.” Sadly, the only castor canadensis I’ve seen in my hometown are found on the Abington town seal at the top of property tax bills. (Silkscreen print on 8 X 10” Rives BFK grey paper)

2) New England Demonym MapSome times people name places. Other times places name people. (Mixed media: pencil, pen, watercolor, carbon transfer, photoshop touch. 8.5” X 11”, 2012)

3) Nurse Log- A familiar sight in the New England forest, the nurse log is essentially a fallen tree, covered with a layer of moss and organic debris. It provides a natural germination field for native species of shade loving plants. (Ink, graphite, colored pencil and carbon transfer on paper, 8.5 x 11”, Winter 2013) 

4) Maine Is Cold Map (Collage, Winter 2013)

5) Masshole, Circa 1620 A.D.  The definition of a “masshole” is arguably as varied as the people of  Massachusetts. My personal perspective  is more concerned with local soil horizons than issues of poor driving manners or sour temperaments. (Two-color silkscreen print of this Masshole drawing available from Trifecta Editions)

6) Granite Love Letter - Installation Proposal:Life-sized fieldstone love note in the wild flower field on the southern hillside at Bobolink Farm in Harrisville, NH. Installation consists of 22 tons of dry-laid local granite field stone consisting of four stone fence inspired forms, laid out as “X O X O.”

7) Momma Said Knock You OutThe chestnut blight is a cruel organism; just as it appears the chestnut sapling has made its triumphant return and is going to shoot up to be a mighty tree of yore. It doesn’t. In the words of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years”… a sad arrested state for a tree that once made up the majority of America’s total tree cover. (Pen, pencil, carbon transfer on paper, 8” X 10”, Spring 2011)

8) New England DPM Preference Map (Mixed media: Pen, pencil, acrylic paint, illustrator. Spring 2013)

* * *

David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.

Find more of his work at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr at davidbuckleyborden.tumblr.com and follow him on instagram

BOTTLE HOUSE - RHYOLITE, NEVADA

In the old mining ghost town of Rhyolite, there is a house built almost entirely of beer bottles. Built in 1905 by a resourceful man named Tom Kelly, the 76-year old used nearly 30,000 glass bottles acquired from several saloons in the area to complete the house in just 5 1/2 months. But Mr. Kelly never lived there. In 1906 he raffled off the three room house for $5 a chance. In the 1920s it was used in a Hollywood movie featuring big star of the day Douglas Fairbanks. Over the next 80 years several eccentric caretakers lived in the home, preserving it for future generations to visit. Today it’s managed by Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management, and the bottle house underwent a structural restoration in 2005. A 100-year old beer bottle house, in a ghost town in the middle of the nowhere… I’ll drink to that.

* * *

KC O’Connor is a Guide to Wyoming for The American Guide. He’s a writer and photographer based in Lander, Wyoming. Follow him on Tumblr at kcowyo.tumblr.com and on Twitter.

DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART - DALLAS, TEXAS

As mighty herds of longhorns went up the cattle trails, wealth came in, and there were strivings for culture such as theretofore had not been possible.
—Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)


The Dallas Museum of Art was first organized in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association. The year before, an exhibition was held in the Public Library’s gallery to raise money for a permanent collection. The admission charge was twenty-five cents. In a rare example of prices falling since the early 20th century, general admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is now free. 
Today, the collection includes more than 22,000 works and attracts more than half a million visitors each year. For more information, visit www.dallasmuseumofart.org.
Hours of admission: Tues and Wed - 11am-5pm; Thurs - 11am-9pm; Fri-Sun - 11am-5pm. (The third Friday of the month, excluding December, the Museum is open until midnight.) Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 
Images - Loren Reed Smith
* * *

Loren Reed Smith lives in Lewisville, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Follow his photography on Tumblr at lorenreedsmith.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART - DALLAS, TEXAS

As mighty herds of longhorns went up the cattle trails, wealth came in, and there were strivings for culture such as theretofore had not been possible.
—Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)


The Dallas Museum of Art was first organized in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association. The year before, an exhibition was held in the Public Library’s gallery to raise money for a permanent collection. The admission charge was twenty-five cents. In a rare example of prices falling since the early 20th century, general admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is now free. 
Today, the collection includes more than 22,000 works and attracts more than half a million visitors each year. For more information, visit www.dallasmuseumofart.org.
Hours of admission: Tues and Wed - 11am-5pm; Thurs - 11am-9pm; Fri-Sun - 11am-5pm. (The third Friday of the month, excluding December, the Museum is open until midnight.) Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 
Images - Loren Reed Smith
* * *

Loren Reed Smith lives in Lewisville, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Follow his photography on Tumblr at lorenreedsmith.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART - DALLAS, TEXAS

As mighty herds of longhorns went up the cattle trails, wealth came in, and there were strivings for culture such as theretofore had not been possible.
—Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)


The Dallas Museum of Art was first organized in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association. The year before, an exhibition was held in the Public Library’s gallery to raise money for a permanent collection. The admission charge was twenty-five cents. In a rare example of prices falling since the early 20th century, general admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is now free. 
Today, the collection includes more than 22,000 works and attracts more than half a million visitors each year. For more information, visit www.dallasmuseumofart.org.
Hours of admission: Tues and Wed - 11am-5pm; Thurs - 11am-9pm; Fri-Sun - 11am-5pm. (The third Friday of the month, excluding December, the Museum is open until midnight.) Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 
Images - Loren Reed Smith
* * *

Loren Reed Smith lives in Lewisville, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Follow his photography on Tumblr at lorenreedsmith.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART - DALLAS, TEXAS

As mighty herds of longhorns went up the cattle trails, wealth came in, and there were strivings for culture such as theretofore had not been possible.
—Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)


The Dallas Museum of Art was first organized in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association. The year before, an exhibition was held in the Public Library’s gallery to raise money for a permanent collection. The admission charge was twenty-five cents. In a rare example of prices falling since the early 20th century, general admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is now free. 
Today, the collection includes more than 22,000 works and attracts more than half a million visitors each year. For more information, visit www.dallasmuseumofart.org.
Hours of admission: Tues and Wed - 11am-5pm; Thurs - 11am-9pm; Fri-Sun - 11am-5pm. (The third Friday of the month, excluding December, the Museum is open until midnight.) Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 
Images - Loren Reed Smith
* * *

Loren Reed Smith lives in Lewisville, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Follow his photography on Tumblr at lorenreedsmith.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART - DALLAS, TEXAS

As mighty herds of longhorns went up the cattle trails, wealth came in, and there were strivings for culture such as theretofore had not been possible.

Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)

The Dallas Museum of Art was first organized in 1903 as the Dallas Art Association. The year before, an exhibition was held in the Public Library’s gallery to raise money for a permanent collection. The admission charge was twenty-five cents. In a rare example of prices falling since the early 20th century, general admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is now free. 

Today, the collection includes more than 22,000 works and attracts more than half a million visitors each year. For more information, visit www.dallasmuseumofart.org.

Hours of admission: Tues and Wed - 11am-5pm; Thurs - 11am-9pm; Fri-Sun - 11am-5pm. (The third Friday of the month, excluding December, the Museum is open until midnight.) Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 

Images - Loren Reed Smith

* * *

Loren Reed Smith lives in Lewisville, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Follow his photography on Tumblr at lorenreedsmith.tumblr.com.

STONEWALL FIELD GUIDE SERIES, INCLUDING THE WHISKEY WALL - NEW ENGLAND 

New England artist David Buckley Borden sketches a guide to New England’s “stonewalls” for Field Assignment #6: Architecture

Ask a New Englander to describe their rural landscape and “stonewalls” would likely top the list, perhaps second only to trees. Glaciation produced a crop of stones and industrious New Englanders rearranged them into an estimated 250,000 miles of walls. Although it’s been over 200 years since the height of stonewall building peaked in the early 1800s, an estimated 100,000 miles of stonewalls still stand as an understated testament to a complex land use history.

Not all stonewalls are created equal. The region’s stonewalls are as varied as the people of New England in their build and intention. Stonewalls range from the hastily tossed farm wall to grand “finished” estate walls. Any landscape-loving Yankee worth his salt can “read” a wall to accurately determine a parcel’s land use history. The following field guide presents five typical stonewalls in section with a brief description of defining features and how the wall’s form provides clues to a landscape’s history.

Tossed Wall (Fig. 1)

The Tossed Wall is architectural evidence of agriculture. As fields were cleared for tilling, these stonewalls were literally tossed into existence —one stone at a time — at the edge of an agricultural field. The form of a tossed wall is loose and often far wider than tall. The builder’s goal was to dump the stone; stacking it up was unnecessary.

Disposal Wall (Fig. 5)

Similar to the Tossed Wall, the Disposal Wall is also a byproduct of agriculture. In some cases the Disposal Wall was initially a Tossed Wall that had been rebuilt in an effort to tidy up the farm. The Disposal Wall is built from two single stack walls, where the resultant void is filed with smaller fieldstones. This type of disposal wall is evidence of a successful agriculture.

Pasture Wall (Fig. 4)

The Pasture Wall, also known as a farm wall, was built to contain livestock and is the most common type of stonewall in New England. This wall is characterized by large stones and typically lacks the smaller stones of an agriculture related wall. The wood rails that once made up most of the wall’s height and ensured that livestock stayed put, have long since rotted.

Gentleman’s Farm Wall (Fig. 6)

The Gentleman’s Farm Wall or Estate Wall is neither the direct result of agriculture nor husbandry, but is a statement of values and achievement. This wall communicates pride, order and wealth by means of craftsmanship. The wall’s tight one-over-two construction, consistent batter and capstone, were of significant expense and beyond the reach of most thrifty New England farmers.

Whiskey Wall (Fig. 7)

The Whiskey Wall is arguably the most misunderstood and misclassified stonewall typology. There is serious debate as to the exact origin of the name. Some historians claim it is called a Whiskey Wall because it was built under the influence of whiskey. As one can easily imagine, “walling under the influence” lends to poor construction practice and eventually leads to the wall’s failure. Others claim it is called a Whiskey Wall because it was destroyed by drunk hunters, likely trying to flush out an animal from the wall. Both options seem plausible, but only the empty whiskey bottle truly knows.

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David Buckley Borden is an artist, landscape designer (highly unlicensed landscape architect), and humorist hailing from the great state of New England. David’s art includes a variety of creative work ranging from landscape installations to silkscreen prints covering an even greater variety of interests in landscape architecture, all things “great outdoors,” and the past, present and future challenges to the lands of North America. Outside of work, when not leading his one-man campaign for sustainable cutis anserine americana, David can be found quietly playing in the dirt in and around his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.

Follow at davidbuckleyborden.com, on Tumblr and on instagram. More of the Stonewall Field Guide Series can be seen here: davidbuckleyborden.com/#/now-in-process.

RUSTON, LOUISIANA

RUSTON (311 alt., 4,400 pop.), seat of Lincoln Parish, is a farming and dairying town in the pine hills of north-central Louisiana. … Ruston’s first business was established in the form of an eating-house operated by a Dutchman named Joe Schwab, “who possessed a mockingbird that whistled popular tunes and a wife with a generous disposition but a quick temper.”

—Louisiana, A Guide To the State (WPA, 1941)

These days, Ruston’s a bit bigger with a population of around 21,500 residents. Louisiana native Bailey Craighead sends word of some off-the-beaten path treasures from her town in the northern part of the state:

The first picture is my favorite little school house that is 100+ years old that I pass everyday going to work at my dad’s store. I love finding little gems like this along the back roads of this great state.

The second picture is my favorite new thing in my hometown because I was one of the 13 people who built it. It was so invigorating to learn how to work the metal and concrete in a way that it would create something intricate, detailed and just all around bad ass. This is an entry pavilion to a park and is a wonderful place to read and gather.

What you’re seeing in that second photo is the entry pavilion to Huckleberry Trails, the city of Ruston’s newest park. The pavilion and sign were “conceived, fabricated and assembled” by students at Louisiana Tech’s School of Architecture.

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Bailey Craighead is a Louisiana native. Follow her on Tumblr at i-followed-fire.tumblr.com.

GUIDE TO: THE LAKE MONSTERS OF AMERICA

Your guide to the obscure, Atlas Obscura, has joined in on #AmericanGuideWeek (which also happens to be #AnimalWeek for the bizarre adventurers over at Atlas). Here’s their weird report for Field Assignment #2: Flora and Fauna:

People love to fill in mysterious areas of nature with myths of monsters. Early maps had voids of knowledge marked with warnings that “Here be Dragons,”sasquatches are believed to be prowling the thick forests, and legends tell of strange creatures that might be concealed beneath the surface of our lakes. Here we present our map of American lake monsters (view it large here), showing the spread of cryptids that might be lurking in the depths of the waters of the United States.

You’ll see a good share of serpent-like animals of the Loch Ness Monsters variety, such as Isabella of Bear Lake in Idaho who was spotted by a Mormon pioneer in the 19th century and even had Brigham Young himself send a hunting party after the possible plesiosaur. There’s also the famed Champ of Lake Champlain, possibly the most famous of American lake monsters, and the Lake Dillon monster in Wyoming that some think is being suppressed by a secret society. However, that’s just where the fun of this fauna folklore begins, as there are also legends of monolithic turtles, webbed hominids, a goat man, a winged alligator snake, a horse-headed alligator, a giant killer octopus, and an eel with a pig head. Just for kicks, we’ve included some illustrations of the more curious entities on our Lake Monsters of America map.

For more in-depth assessments of the most curious of the bunch, keep reading The Lake Monsters of America on Atlas Obscura!

* * *

Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. If you’re searching for MINIATURE CITIESGLASS FLOWERSBOOKS BOUND IN HUMAN SKINGIGANTIC FLAMING HOLES IN THE GROUNDBONE CHURCHESBALANCING PAGODAS, or HOMES BUILT ENTIRELY OUT OF PAPER, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them.

Follow at AtlasObscura.com and atlasobscura.tumblr.com.

PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.
There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *
Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

PANORAMA OF NEW YORK, QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART - NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Amazing modeling sent in to American Guide Week by Matt Bergstrom of Wurlington Bros. Press, which makes their own amazing modeling:

The world’s largest scale city model is the Panorama of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The model encompasses all five boroughs of the city, with 830,000 little buildings made from wood and plastic on 9335 square feet. Over 100 craftsmen worked for 3 years using plat maps, aerial photos and field surveys to recreate the mini city as accurately as possible.

There are many other scale model cities around the world, but few encompass the entire urban area from the skyscrapers of downtown all the way out to the smaller dwellings of the far-flung city outskirts.

* * *

Matt Bergstrom grew up in Minneapolis but now lives in Chicago, where he runs Wurlington Press, a publisher of architectural souvenir postcards and Viewmaster 3D photos. See the wonders of Wurlington at www.wurlington-bros.com and on Tumblr at wurlington.tumblr.com.