Buffalo Man – Joseph A. Amato

A giant baby descends to earth near a trading post on the Minnesota River in 1848. The baby over time becomes a young man the head of a bison, and he innocently bisects the worlds of his time—the retreat of the Dakota and the advancing tide of European-Americans, all the while farting and pooping (as babies do) across the landscape.

It’s an odd but fascinating novel by Minnesota author Joseph A. Amato, and the challenge it presented to me was making maps that respected the relative both the form of the unsurveyed landscape the central character was born into, and the delineated, owned image of landscape the invaders brought with them and used to take that land.

I ended up making a series of maps that, as best I could, imitated hand drawn pen and ink maps, and integrated some actual pen and ink illustrations into many of them. Joseph Nicollet’s map of 1843 was a major visual point of departure for the whole series. [click on images to see larger versions]