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About Dirt Alley Design

Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design with her city map posters





 

I Create the Art I'd Like to Own: Fun, Interactive, Eye-Catching

I create the kind of art that will remind you of childhood. The kind of art that will stop your friends in their tracks when they realize its more than just a map. The kind of art that speaks to a love for cities and travel - exploring the world, reaching for the unknown. 

Maps have long been a compass to guide adventure. But I believe maps don't have to be real to feel true. In 2016, I invented maze maps in which I transform city maps into solvable mazes. My map art is more than just decorative, it's a real puzzle you can get lost in. Can you solve them all?

Designed with Real Street Data

My prints are unique, in fact, I am the sole creator of maze maps! I draw each maze map by hand using the real street data of cities. In keeping with the fun nature of my art, I choose iconic city landmarks for the start and end of each maze - landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Coney Island, or the Santa Monica Pier. All my maze maps are tested with friends and family to make sure they are, well, challenging to solve!

Screenprinted in California with a DIY Ethos

Screenprinting Chicago maze map

I screen print each maze map by hand using a homemade vacuum press, which eliminates the need to use toxic adhesives to hold the paper in place during printing. I use paper made in the USA from French Paper Co and non-toxic, eco-friendly inks from Speedball, Jacquard and Permaset Aqua.

What is Screen Printing?

screenprinting gold mapsScreen printing is the process of printing a design on paper by pushing ink through a mesh frame. The resulting prints have the texture and character of handmade art, the kind of texture that digital prints can't match! 

Of course, not all of my prints come out perfect (after all, perfection is boring!) I turn my misprints into one-of-a-kind business cards.

Giving Back

Home decor should be affordable to all, which is why I keep my prices as low as possible and create my prints in-house. I also donate prints to local causes including providing survivors of the 2017 Sonoma County fire with new home decor. Please contact me if you are a non-profit interested in a donation of map prints! 

A Little Bit About Me

Dirt Alley Design founder Michelle ChandraMichelle Chandra studied programming, data art and cartography at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program where she earned her Master's degree (that's a fancy way of saying she's got the know-how to make cool map art).

For her Master's Thesis, she created an interactive map visualization that let you see sunrises and sunsets around the world on Instagram in real-time! Her graduate work has been featured in many publications including the Daily Mailthe Washington PostEngadgetGizmodo, the Creator’s Project and the Weather Channel. 

Michelle founded Dirt Alley Design just off a dirt alley in San Francisco in December of 2016. After working for several years at a web mapping startup, Michelle decided to pursue her entrepreneurship dreams full time in 2018.

When Michelle isn't busy designing cool map art, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors and rock climbing.

Press

I think my maze maps are pretty cool, but don't take just my word for it! My maze maps have been featured in LaughingSquid, The Creator's Project, Print MagUntapped Cities and UpOutSF.

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