About Dirt Alley Design
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 my maze maps are more than just a map, or my spirograph prints are no ordinary spirograph. The kind of art that speaks to a love for math and science, cities and travel - exploring the world, curious about 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?
In October of 2019, I released my second print collection - Endless Forms Most Beautiful. My spirograph art prints are created programmatically, but the designs are reminiscent of the forms created by toy spirographs you might have played with as a child (or as an adult!) The radial symmetric designs are the result of an algorithm that places circles rotating around a central point based on the frequency and amplitude of waveforms. Out of pure mathematics and code, delicate and finely detailed forms arise reminiscent of origami, mandalas, flowers, and other *beautiful things*!
Designed with 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!
My spirograph art prints are derived from the frequency and amplitude of a combination of mathematical waveforms such as sine and cosine. From the abstraction of math arises eye catching and highly detailed geometric designs.
Made in California with a DIY Ethos
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.
Each spirograph print is drawn to order using a robotic drawing machine - the Axidraw by Evil Mad Scientist Labs. I use a variety of archival pens for each print including gelly roll and micron pens by Sakura, and coptic multiliner pens.
What is Screen Printing?
Screen 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.
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
Michelle 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 Mail, the Washington Post, Engadget, Gizmodo, 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.
I think my art prints are pretty cool, but don't take just my word for it! My maze maps have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Print Mag and Vice, to name a few!