Bruce Granquist is an illustrator, cartographer and author. Other than his artistic works, he is also known for his previous publication, ‘Inventing Art, the Paintings of Batuan Bali’. His new book, Mapping Bali, provides a unique perspective on Bali’s geography, architecture, culture and society through the keen eyes of an artist.
Mapping Bali is the record of Bruce’s visual relationship to the island, which has been his home for over 30 years. Across 190 pages are deeply-felt illustrations done by the artist-author himself, with detailed hand-drawn maps, diagrams and sketches. It is a vibrant visual library of 350 images.
Bruce’s masterful sketch work and detailed cartography landed him a mapping project in which he was to produce 12 area maps for a guidebook to Bali. This allowed him to travel around the island as he familiarised himself with the topography. He was amazed by the geological forces that shaped the island, how the famous rice fields flowed out from the rough-cut mountains that run from east to west.
Through these journeys, Bruce began to recognise and appreciate more than just the landscape he was researching.
“I couldn’t have decided on a more time-consuming method to do this project,” shares the author. “But there was an unexpected pleasure that made it all worthwhile. As I combed through the island road-by-road, I started to see interesting things, almost hidden away in the shadows. There were architectural surprises, different types of temples; completely different patterns that rice fields could make; basically interesting things I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
Bruce saw life in the environment and the surroundings he was recording, and his research brought him closer to the Balinese people, too. “In these long days of mapmaking, I had a habit of stopping at a warung for coffee. I quickly realised that the proprietors and hangers-on were a rich source of local folklore,” Bruce reminisces.
What began as a simple mapping project has become a remarkable and unique gallery of Bali. Everything in this book is hand-drawn, evolving from Bruce’s own field notes and sketches. The images thus represent the author’s very personal capturing of the island as he recorded what he saw as wonders, or simply intriguing, whether that was a geological process, a village layout, a temple statute or a dancer’s hand position.
Complementing the incredibly rich visuals, the accompanying text in Mapping Bali provides readers with deep insight, helping them to understand the island ‘spatially’, both physically and philosophically; and culturally.
‘Mapping Bali: Island, Culture, People’ by Bruce Granquist, published by Talisman, is available internationally. In Indonesia, you can purchase from Periplus Bookstores, or directly from the author at email@example.com.