I first came up with the idea for this illustration when I was trying to capture the essence of what makes Albuquerque special. Aside from the people, it's the landscape.
The looming Sandia's, the vast desert spaces, the lush Cottonwood Bosque and the flowing Rio Grande never fail to give me a sense of wonder and awe. They make me feel insignificant in a good way. Living here, so close to these natural wonders, I get the feeling that I’m just a small part of something big.
If I could use photography or paint or some other rich art form to capture all the beauty and all the color and and all the life that exists in this place I would. But my skills don’t come close.
So, I do what makes sense to me. I zoom out, simplify and I create broad strokes from what I see. I reduce it down to it’s silhouette; jagged mountains, the flat lines of a desert, a cluster of trees for the bosque, and mellow waves of the river water.
I've oversimplified these major landforms to allow our experiences to fill in the details. I know the feeling of the rough edges of the rocks that make up the mountains. I know how it feels to walk for miles in the desert and find beauty where I thought there was nothing. I’ve ventured into the comforting shade of the bosque Cottonwoods when they're bright green and shimmery gold. I stood in the river and felt its current swell around my legs.
Maybe you know Albuquerque and you have your own images and memories to fill up the spaces in between these lines.
I hope that you can see the richness and beauty of our city in this minimalist version of it.