Peter Gorman’s inspiration for the illustration grew from sincere confusion while biking around. The image is circulating widely online, and he is fielding many requests for it from paying fans.
Peter Gorman’s Greenwood apartment is the homebase for a print operation that has urbanists all over the internet joking that Seattle’s intersections are wacky as heck.
Gorman, 30, posted an art piece to his online Etsy shop Monday, depicting 20 of the city’s complicated street crossings with minimalistic graphics. They range from Queen Anne’s seven-way stop to the busy meeting of Denny Way, Stewart Street and Yale Avenue near South Lake Union.
The design has generated a heavy response and parodies online, considering its universal appeal. Anyone who has traveled the city’s streets knows some intersections can require special navigation skills.
Now, Gorman is fielding hundreds of requests for the print from paying fans.
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“So Seattle was designed by a fan of the Blair Witch Project,” one Reddit post said. “The intersections of Seattle look like Chinese lettering,” someone tweeted. Gorman said he heard one person compare the icons to yoga poses.
The Etsy shop, called BarelyMaps, hosts a series of Gorman’s original designs, inspired by geographical layouts he saw during a one-year, 11,000-mile bicycle trip across the country. The shop is a side hobby.
An image of small horizontal stripes in a column, with nine highlights to represent Portland’s many bridges, is among the pieces, for example.
Within hours of posting the intersection illustration Monday morning, 10 requests to purchase the print rolled in, for either $20 to $33 each depending on the size, while the image went viral on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
Using a printer and heavy-duty paper, Gorman prepared the 10 prints at his apartment with handwritten notes Monday night and shipped them at Safeco Plaza’s Post Office Tuesday morning.
During the 15-minute stop for shipping — a trip before work as a data specialist at downtown’s YWCA — Gorman’s iPhone buzzed. And buzzed again.
Six more requests for the print.
Since then, he’s answered a steady stream of notifications from customers, totaling 245 as of Thursday morning. More copies of the design sold in 24 hours, Gorman said, than all other BarelyMaps prints combined.
Gorman’s inspiration for the image grew from…