"The Map Is Not The Territory" 
- Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski


Tristesse Seeliger is a Vancouver artist working in mixed media using painting and collage. In 2017 Tristesse completed a large-scale mural for the Vancouver Mural Festival and collaborated on a film for Westbank Corporation which is a part of their exhibition, The Fight For Beauty. Tristesse is featured in Wired Magazine UK January 2018 issue, The Internet is Broken. Her work has also been featured in SAD Magazine, Scout Magazine, VancouverIsAwesome and Inside Vancouver as well as art blogs For Example, The Happy Jotter and Design is Kinky. Tristesse has collaborated with Lululemon on window design and her work has shown in different cities in North America. The science of cartography is dismantled and reassembled, using geometry, into new territories creating opportunities to explore the poetry in the data. By juxtaposing the hard edges of the tiles with the organic markings of the maps the work invites a deeper study of the networks that connect us. Logic meets chance allowing us to study, understand, and feel the infinite.

Tiles - More recently Tristesse has begun to work with the shapes as separate paneled color-fields, using the relationship between the shapes to create the illusion of three dimensionalities. These are painted acrylic works that are a celebration of color and form allowing the audience to interact with the work by assembling the pieces in any way they desire.

Tristesse Seeliger has been an art teacher for 19 years with the Vancouver School Board, is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a wife to David Crompton and a mom of two beautiful children.

For more information or to arrange a studio visit, please contact Tristesse at

Artist Statement:
I am collaging historical maps fusing cartography and geometry to create new spaces and places that coax the brain to drift from the analytical to the sensory, and to delight in what is sensual, familiar, and universal. With the use of maps abstracted into pieces, my work becomes rich with metaphor, as both universal and personal meaning about ways of perceiving the known and unknown are explored, and notions of territory are revisited.  The viewer can see the art objects as a collection of tiny map events or as an intact experience, as the work transforms what was into something new.

I stumbled across this idea as I was trying to develop ways to teach both math and art in my classroom. I was using a lesson plan created by the MET Museum of Art in New York to look at patterning and tiling of mathematics, MC Escher’s work, and perspective drawing.  In my painting practice at that time, I was very interested in colour blocks and colour pallets. Serendipitously, my friends at Contexture Design were moving shop and had to get rid of their collection of maps. When I saw these maps with their beautiful colour palettes and textures I immediately thought I needed to tile them. 

Influences and Inspiration: William Morris, Gunta Stölzl, Robert Irwin, David Crompton and Channa Horwitz as well as Dr. Nathalie Sinclair, Canada research Chair in tangible mathematics learning.

Process and Materials: The primary materials used in these collages are historical maps from the Geological Survey of Canada offices dating back to the 1960’s. These maps are beautiful because of their textures, colours and markings but also because of their original uses and specific themes. Each collage piece takes days to create as every piece is sorted based on the colour and texture then collaged one by one onto wood board. The materials used are all archival to maintain the integrity of the colour and shape of the collage. The work is then covered in a polymer varnish to protect the paper from ultraviolet radiation. This helps delay the inevitable fading that occurs in materials that may be fugitive in nature.

Photo by Robert Wilson