Point of view
Apparently, we’re not quite ready to move on just yet – and my last post on the Early Days At O’Hare brought in at least one response that’s worth a share.
(By the way, I’ve fixed the image links in that piece now, so you can actually read the magazine article.)
Phil Thompson is an artist and self-confessed travel geek living in Chicago.
His pen and ink drawings generally portray the Windy City’s architecture and history, however the particular illustration he brought to my attention is his rendition of a much more contemporary KORD.
Phil tends to focus on Chicago’s iconic buildings and location, but at a very human level. That ranges from beautiful studies of local home and downtown styles to profiles of Chicago ‘L’ train rolling stock and the city’s distinctive sports stadiums. Then – be still my heart – there are also illustrated maps and views of the city in its lakefront setting.
If I could draw aircraft like that, I wouldn’t be sat here pecking away at my iPad’s soft keyboard!
The mightiest landmark
Recently, Phil turned his attention to that other mighty Chicago landmark – O’Hare. It was inevitable really. Although it towers sideways rather than upwards, the airport is a giant feature of the city’s human and economic pulse.
Let’s not forget that it sprawls over 7,627 acres and sees (under normal circumstances*) nearly a million aircraft movements a year. 919,704 for calendar year 2019 – or 2,520 per day. It also serviced a population of 83 million passengers during 2018, dwarfing the rest of the city in that regard.
Bringing O’Hare down to size
For all that, Phil Thompson has managed to bring the airport back to earth, as it were. He has illustrated it from an oblique bird’s eye view, using his favoured pen and ink. It’s a style that brings to mind those amazing elevated city views from pre-aviation history (feats of artistic imagination that have always amazed me).
His goal, in winding back the stylistic clock that way, was to make O’Hare look more like a little moated town in an illustrated edition of Don Quixote, rather than the American mid-West’s most enormous transit machine.
The juxtaposition of a 21st Century transportation hub with the organic style of illuminated cartography brings the airport back into Phil’s trademark human realm.
I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do.
Say ‘Hi’ to Phil Thompson
Phil Thompson lives in the Ravenswood neighbourhood of Chicago with his wife Katie and dog Vincent. They profess a laudable dislike of big box stores and shopping malls, which I’m fully on board with.
The name Cape Horn is an homage to the sailors who braved that arduous southern ocean passage before the Panama Canal was opened. I hope creating illustrations isn’t quite that hard!
Anyway, you can see, read and also buy more at capehorn-illustration.com
* I say ‘under normal circumstances’ but, as I write this, things are far from normal. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic we are all living under some level of lockdown. I don’t no wish to add to all the clamour – but I most sincerely wish you good health and good fortune until things return to normal.