Melissa Thorpe

Budding Food Stylist and Photographer/Creative



The long and winding road...a map of places I've lived

Final Map

This map is ongoing. My plan is to continue to transform each building represented by a photograph (or a blank space) into a line drawing. A legend is also in the works to simplify the details I am conveying such as the type of transportation used. I also envision adding details/stories/memories that occured while living in each different building, i.e., my husband proposed to me when we lived in the lakeview highrise or I listened to and fell in love with stevie wonder's "talking book" (on vinyl) almost everyday when living in the duckpond repurposed garage. While creating this map, each place I've lived holds so many memories for me. As I researched what year they were built or looked up houses on google street view to refresh my mind of the residences of my college years, I would remember details, the most miniscule of moments that had not been reflected upon prior to this project. One of the major challenges for me was to organize this mass of information, to simplify the details so as not to become lost in them. I hope Anne teaches this class again, as I would definitely sign up and continue draw this map and future iterations (potentially involving my food experiences in each city). 


I look forward to enhancing and simplifying the drawings as well as adding details of the areas in which the buildings were positioned within each area of the cities.

Why am I making this map? For fun? A client? A gift? To showcase my favorite places? Etc.

I am designing and creating a map that will show all the cities I've lived in...from my childhood in Florida to Chicago to San Francisco to Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC to our next city, LA.

Why am I the expert to create this map?

It's been an incredible adventure thus far, with so many different types of lifestyles and cultures explored and absorbed. I'ved lived in about 14 different dwellings so far, from high-rise condos to modern open lofts to townhomes to single family homes.

Who is my target audience?

I have two young boys, and would like them to have an idea of our life prior to them, so they really can get to know us as individuals/humans, not just as parents.

Do I want my final project to be printed or digital? How is going to be used/held? What other constraints do I need to keep in mind moving forward? (Note type can be smaller on printed maps than when viewed on web)

I want to create a clean, uncluttered map. Something that translates the diversity my life is filled with from housing to food to lifestyles. I would prefer a digital and a non-digital version.

What level of detail do I need to include? (Names, addresses, contact info, street names, website, hours, descriptions, color coding, etc.)

Maybe designing silhouettes of all the buildings I've lived in (it's a lot, I think 14); or a map of the perspective from a window in each residence hand drawn from photographs I took while living there (the ones from many moons ago would be based upon memory).

Dear class, I need your help/expertise/guidance on how to.....

Create silhouettes. Please input and comment; I'm in it for collaboration.

new directions (hand-drawn, digitally inverted)

Here is my pinterest page of inspiration.

Considering making an outline of the statue, the spirit of progress, from one of the buildings I lived in while in Chicago and creating my map on it. It's inspiring to me and sentimental.

(photo credit:


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