Martin Pin Jiang studied as a graphic designer in Newcastle upon Tyne in the mid 1980’s and always had a fascination and obsessive interest in record sleeve / cassette inlay art and design.
The artist also had a similar obsession with collecting maps, folded street maps, leaflets and railway network diagrams (e.g. Merseyrail, the London Underground) from an early age. Martin would draw and doodle aimlessly making up road and rail networks that didn’t exist, as well as meticulously reproducing street maps of UK cities from the atlases he had in his collection.
Martin is a keen music fan, being an aspiring drummer from childhood, so the art of record covers was always close to his heart and he would compile his own mix tapes and CDs and design and print out his own versions of sleeves.
At the end of the 1990’s, he started drawing again by hand his diagrammatic railway network maps, with the aim of translating them into a musical context. Thus was born the whole concept of customised rail network maps, based on albums by different bands.
Fast forward 20+ years to the present, and some of these earlier embryonic versions have since been upgraded and redesigned to a much higher standard and comprise some of the examples that are being exhibited at Mersey Arts Zone.
Why Music Metro Maps? Martin always regarded listening to an album as a bit like a trip you are embarking on. It might sound trite of course but that was precisely what it was, the excitement as a youngster, of putting on a LP record or indeed cassette tape which you’d just bought from WH Smiths, Woolworths, HMV or wherever else, and just listening to the tracks sequentially one after the other.
It was just like embarking on a sonic train journey and it struck him at the time that very few others would equate the two in such a way: one ‘station’ after another before the final number which is the terminus. Martin made that connection and never lost sight of it since”!
Mersey Arts Zone is open Wednesday to Sunday 10-5pm