I based this view of Portland’s Ira Keller Fountain on a 360º panorama by photographer Tom Lechner, which he had printed on a paper model of a rhombic triacontahedron, a thirty-sided geometric solid approximating a sphere. Originally known as the Forecourt Fountain, it was designed by the architect Lawrence Halprin and dedicated in 1970, You can view a large image of the painting here.
I’ve put up a number of posts about spherical perspective- a painting or drawing on a spherical surface like a bowling ball or world globe depicting an entire 360º visual field as seen from a single point in space (here’s a link to the most recent). Spherical pieces are very impressive, but they have a number of drawbacks. You can’t hang one on a wall, and only half of the image can be seen at a time. However, a spherical image can be mapped and plotted and then mathematically transformed to become a flat picture exactly the way a globe flattens into a world map, as I have done here.
For this picture I used the perspective equivalent of an Azimuthal Projection, in which distances and directions to all places are true from the central point of projection, and the point directly opposite expands into a circle defining the outer border of the map. A map like this can include the entire world, but because distortion of areas and shapes increases dramatically the further away one gets from the center point, mapmakers usually stop halfway and split the earth into two hemispheres. Double hemisphere maps like this example first appeared in the late 1500s, and became the dominant form of world map in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I included latitude and longitude lines in my painting to emphasize the resemblance.
The rhomboid pattern on Tom’s model was a big help in transferring the image to the double hemispheres of my painting, as can be seen in these preliminary drawings.
I also did a version of the image in skewed cylindrical perspective just for fun.
After I finished the painting, Tom Lechner returned the favor by converting the image back into an equirectangular panorama which you can view immersively (that is, as if you were in the middle of the scene and able to turn your head to look in any direction) here.
My umbrella term for an image which applies cartographic distortion to perspective is metaperspective, which I picked partly because the esoteric “meta” prefix seems to be in vogue right now (as in trendy buzzwords like metadata and metamedia), but mostly because it evokes the memory of Meta Jardine, a lovely girl I knew in high school who was the first person I ever seriously tried to draw from life with no cartoony intent.
Another example of metaperspective is this drawing of a scene in Irving Park rendered in Sinusoidal Projection, which I blogged about last year.