Map Of Manhattan Constructed From Strangers’ Directions

Map Of Manhattan Constructed From Strangers’ Directions

Japanese artist poses as a tourist to collect a hand-drawn version of New York.

Ross Brooks
  • 13 august 2013

Japanese artist Nobutaka Aozaki may look like just another lost tourist, but he’s actually gone undercover to try to put together a map of Manhattan that is made up only of people’s hand drawn maps and directions.

“From Here to There” is an continually evolving art piece in which Aozaki takes to the streets and tries to get people to draw him directions.  Many people at first insist on getting out their smartphone to try and help him find his way, but he insists that they draw a map to make sure he doesn’t forget where it is he needs to go.


To make himself more convincing, the artist dresses up with a bright blue “New York” baseball cap and a shopping bag from the tourist hotspot for shopping, Century 21.

Sometimes he chooses a destination using one of his many Japanese guide books, but other times, he simply asks for directions to a place he’s going to meet friends, or to a restaurant so he can get something to eat.


It could be considered a tribute to more traditional methods of way-finding, using maps in place of the GPS of most smartphones. For many, map reading is an art form in itself, which is why there are sure to be many who appreciate this hand-crafted vision of New York.

That being said, Aozaki doesn’t aim to put together a perfect map, it’s more of an interpretation of the city through the eyes of the people live there, all of which is captured via hand drawn directions.


Nobutaka Aozaki


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