Laura LevieBirmingham, AL, US
I am a Birmingham-based artist who has been painting for more than 30 years. In my watercolor illustrations, I strive to impart the joyful, reflective and transcendent moments in life. I love to tell stories and wish to help tell yours.
Maps By Laura Levie
My favorite walking route is along Altamont Road, which sits atop the crest of Red Mountain and provides some of the best views in Birmingham. The majority of the road runs through Altamont Park, an undeveloped green space that, oddly, houses a WW1 cannon (topic for another time). Just past the cannon the sidewalk begins, passing by diverse, interesting houses - some hanging off the side of the mountain and others perched halfway down. Each one exhibits a different style, vibe and era, and I’ve included some of my favorites in this illustration. Throughout the mile-long walk, I enjoy gazing at the beautiful cityscape vistas of downtown Birmingham.
I illustrated a travel guide of the moon, highlighting popular activities and notable sites. All mostly imagined, of course. Prominent moon legends such as the man in the moon, the moon rabbit and the werewolf make an appearance, along with space visitors Laika and flying monkeys. And robots. I modeled this illustration after atomic space age design from the 1960s and 1970s.
Even though we can’t travel as we wish this summer, we’re able to take a virtual journey in our imaginations. With an assist from streaming services and movies, the land of science fiction is easily accessible and wondrous. I recently watched Dark, the German twisty time travel series, and re-watched the Kubrick masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. Other favorites include The X Files, Stranger Things, Twin Peaks and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This illustration is inspired by all those supernatural, sci-fi shows and legends that disrupt our reality in creepy, bizarre and sometimes comical ways. Sci-fi Galaxy exists to cause disturbances on Earth, transporting us to places we could never imagine otherwise. The lettering and colors celebrate vintage 1950s sci-fi movie posters.
My pets have always provided comfort and joy to me, and that feeling especially rings true at the moment. During this time of uncertainty and sadness, my cat Finn keeps me sane and grounded. Spending time with him – even just watching him nap on the porch – calms me, and I feel like it’s all going to be okay. He’s there for everything my husband and I do, and I cherish his constant companionship each day. This map is a testament to Finn, illustrating his funny, irreverent, charming personality and his steadfast love. In memory of Ben Levie, my father and fellow cat lover.
This place is special to me because I have watched it transform yet still maintain strong ties to its history during my 13 years living here. An historic neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama, Avondale joins the old and the new, with a focus on community. Avondale has grown from a small settlement clustered around a spring to a thriving entertainment district, spurred by the natural beauty and heritage of Avondale Park. Local businesses pay tribute to Miss Fancy, the elephant that lived in the park during its brief stint as a zoo. They also celebrate the former occupants of their buildings (post office, firehouse, saloon), while poised to craft memorable stories of their own. The area fosters a community spirit, from casual eateries, watering holes, shops and live music venues, to church cookouts and outreach programs. Even the ducks contribute to that sense of community, as they swim and hang out together in the park. I love my neighborhood!