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Chicago’s worst intersections turned into minimalist map art

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“The Crotch” is now wall art

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While most of us can say we lack a fondness for Chicago’s intersections, that isn’t the case for Seattle-based artist Peter Gorman.

When Gorman took a year-long, 11,000-mile bike ride around the United States in 2014 he was inspired by the different, and sometimes frustrating, intersections he encountered on his trip. While making a map of the weird intersections in Seattle, he realized they each had a unique look.

Chicago was one of the most requested cities and he’s finally come out with print detailing 20 of the most interesting intersections. He’s created intersection maps for other cities including Portland, LA, San Francisco and Seattle.

Gorman began his BarelyMaps Etsy shop on a whim and ended up getting a lot of great feedback. The designs he’s now created for Chicago make some of the grueling streets into personable characters—some look like bursts of popcorn, maybe snowflakes or crystalline forms. There are a couple that even look like they’re ready to break dance.

A portion of the intersection map

“Chicago was one of the most memorable grids I bike through on my trip. I still remember biking these long straight lines to get from Oak Park to downtown. Even with a grid system, there are still these diagonals that make jumbled up intersections,” said Gorman.

To create the map he started researching the city’s most notorious intersections—one being Wicker Park’s Milwaukee, Damen and North intersection. He did find it interesting that Chicago has worked to redesign some of the traffic-clogged points, noting that no other city he’s drawn a map for has done that.