Lordy Rodriguez: Maps to Abstraction

Lordy Rodriguez: Maps to Abstraction

Summer 2001 Artpace resident Lordy Rodriguez modifies existing maps to create abstract compositions that turn familiar areas into mystical and imaginary places.

In this activity, you will create an abstract work of art from topographic maps of cities, national parks, and landmarks.

Images of topographic maps (this can be a map of anywhere— San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, or a place that you’ve always wanted to visit.)
½ sheet grid paper
Black pens or super fine-tipped markers


  1. Print out the ½ sheet of grid paper provided or create your own grid using a ruler. The squares can be as big or as small as you want.
  2. Find a topographic map of a city, national park, or landmark that you want to draw. Select a section of the map and draw it onto your gridded paper lightly in pencil. Your drawn map does not have to be as detailed as the topographic map that you’ve chosen.
  3. When you’re finished drawing the map, begin to add large shapes across your grid in pencil—not all the squares have to be filled with shapes.
  4. Choose five colored markers to use, then add patterns (dots, zig-zag lines, stripes, etc.) to the shapes and empty spaces (this includes the lines and shapes drawn in the previous steps.)
  5. Outline each and every line and shape in a black pen.
  6. Create a title for your abstract piece and share it on social media—tag us: @artpace, #ArtpaceAtHome; #MakeArtHappen

To read about Lordy Rodriguez’s artwork in the 2012 Hudson Showroom exhibition, New Works Now, please visit our Residences and Exhibitions page, here.

Download grid paper here.

Sample by Artpace Education Intern Ryene Sanders.