Manuel Aalbers

Manuel sent us some of his imaginary city maps. He has been drawing them since he was a child and continues to draw them as an adult. He writes, "They often have centers that look like city cores of European cities founded in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, but they are not necessarily European cities. My travels also influence my maps. Among others, I have maps that are clearly influenced by Prague and New York City. Most maps are drawn on A4 paper, although some are drawn on smaller or bigger paper and many sprawl onto several pages of paper. They are not 'perfect' or 'utopian' cities, but imaginary yet seemingly historically grown cities. When I was younger, I would have my parents pick a location. My father would always ask about second hand book stores and would pick a place close to the center; my mum much closer to the periphery. I would sometimes tell my dad he could not afford some of the areas he wished to live in unless he was willing to compromise space, which he usually wasn't as he needed space for his books. I have an idea of most neighborhoods within the city, what kind of buildings are there, who lives there, if they are gentrified, etc. There are a lot of similarities between the maps."

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