Saigon Compass

This pen and pencil drawing is based on a smashed American war compass where the cracks resemble a birds eye view of Ho Chi Minh City. The outside ring has a detailed history of how the city was formed from Khmer rule to the Gia Dinh era and Nguyen Dynasty influences through to the French occupation and then finally Ho Chi Minh's triumphant re-gain of power with the Vietnamese Communist Party. Inside held up by bamboo is an abstract map of the city with each district being represented by a particular strength or quality. In order to create this piece I studied the map of Ho Chi Minh in detail to try and keep it as accurate as possible. Many of the lines and detail match up to famous roads and junctions to keep the illusion of a map. The districts are separated by bamboo sticks which are tied together with string.

Pen and pencil illustration digitally manipulated

Saigon Compass

This pen and pencil drawing is based on a smashed compass where the cracks resemble a birds eye view of HCMC. The outside ring has a brief history of how the city was formed from Khmer rule to the Gia Dinh era and Nguyen Dynasty influences through to the French inspirations and then finally modern day Ho Chi Minh City.

Inside the outer rings, held up by bamboo is an abstract map of the city with each district being represented by a particular strength or quality. The whole aesthetic of the piece was meant to be a cross between an old compass to symbolize maps, direction and also the famous stamp design, which is still a massive part of life here today.

In order to create this piece I studied the map of Ho Chi Minh in detail to try and keep it as accurate as possible. I drove around to different districts to take photos myself and to get a feel for the area too. I struggled with drawing on location as I would always get interrupted or talked to so I preferred to photo places then re-draw into my design at home.

 

Many of the lines and detail match up to famous roads and junctions to keep the illusion of a map. The districts are separated by bamboo sticks, which are tied together with string. Although the districts all line up I didn’t make it a perfect copy as I preferred to distort it visually. Using illusions and enlarging the outer districts to give a fish bowl effect I was able to fit a lot more into a relatively small area, whilst still keeping a good balance of positive and negative space.

Pen and pencil illustration, digitally manipulated

80 x 80cm 2016