PHILADELPHIA– A graphic designer has released “the first of its kind” cryptozoological map of the United States.
Mark Adams, a 37-year-old artist and owner of Hog Island Press, told Cryptozoology News on Sunday that the “cartographically accurate” hand-drawn and hand-printed map, Monsters in America, was created with the intention to share those often overlooked but intriguing pieces of American history.
“I have a strong interest in folklore and storytelling. I feel that in this homogenized age of corporation-steered consumer culture it is more important than ever to embrace the elements that make our town, state and nation special and unique, and hopefully this map serves as a fun collection of some of these stories and traditions,” he said. “Cryptozoology and cartography are fields that have enchanted me since I was very young, and the temptation to create a map that incorporates such a rich fabric of folklore and curious illustration was too strong to deny,” he added.
The data used to recreate the monster map was carefully researched and gathered from books, online information, and a visit to the International Museum of Cryptozoology in Maine.
“I essentially let the body of evidence and collateral data, primarily from the 19th and 20th century, that I uncovered on each cryptid steer its inclusion. I am by no means stating that there are only 32 map-worthy creatures in the USA. I just felt it important to comply to a cap that would feel thorough while still allowing breathing room for an aesthetically-pleasing composition of illustrations.”
For instance, Bigfoot is only visually represented in the state of California. However, he explains, he added Washington and Oregon as the creature’s range in the descriptive text beneath the cryptid’s illustration.
“I just felt it important for visual consistency to only plot each number once, and for me I felt the classic Patterson-Gimlin video, from Bluff Creek, California, was enough justification to place the marker in Humboldt County.”
As to what the Philadelphian printmaker believes regarding the existence of his meticulously crafted creatures, he says “all we need is to keep an open mind and to be respectful of the many different beliefs and traditions that exist within us”.
“It’s important to always challenge what other people tell you are the limits of this incredible planet that we inhabit,” he explains. “That said, it’s with noting that many of these cryptids have likely existed at one point in the Earth’s history – be it the Plesiosaurus of the Jurassic Period or the prehistoric vulture Argentavis magnificens. Do I believe it possible that there could be a wolf-hybrid, like Shunka Warakin, poaching sheep in rural Montana? Or that a predatory large cat species, like Wampus Cat, has survived deep in the mountains of eastern Tennessee? Of course. Recently I spent a day at a zoo, and found myself marveling, and comforted, at how a creature as bizarre and seemingly vulnerable as a giraffe could survive in this world for so long – is it that far out to think that there could be a giant snapping turtle leading a life of leisure in an Indiana lake? I’d like to think there were many.”
But this artist’s affinity for cryptozoology doesn’t end with Monsters in America . He is now creating t-shirts with associated designs from the map, and claims to have a few other product ideas in mind.
“It’s my intention to continue to roll out more designs and products over the next few months,” he says.
Adams, who keeps his followers updated about new designs on his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, says he is “very fortunate to be able to exist and work in community of fantastically talented Philadelphia artists and printmakers who inspire and support one another in a variety of collaborative ways”.
“The chances I get to work with artists like Jason Killinger, Rodger Binyone (NoMan Illustration) and Neil Burke (Monoroid) are hugely important to me, both stylistically and personally,” he said.