BB Crush: Very Small Array

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In case you can’t read the small type, the text above says, “Blocks along which a Hot Bird sign was at some point visible, 9.20.09-9.22.09.” This is Brooklyn life through the eyes of infographic genius, Very Small Array.

Artist and Bed-Stuy resident Dorothy Gambrell is also the pen behind the comic, Cat and Girl. Very Small Array started in 2002 as, “a repository for bad ideas that didn’t fit into cartoons,” she told BB. Since she’s been fueling our web-based procrastination lately we asked her a few of our burning questions about her unique way of visually organizing information.

How would you describe Very Small Array?
Maps and charts and half-truths made visual. Anyone can follow through on a good idea. I follow through on the bad ones.

Most of your posts are infographics. Which comes easier, and which is more satisfying–the cartoons on Cat and Girl or the infographics?
Anything that starts well-conceived and ends well-executed is satisfying, regardless of form. Anything satisfying seems easy in retrospect.

The Park Slope bumper sticker infographic seemed really labor intensive. How did you go about collecting the data and how long did it take you?
The Park Slope map took about four months of three hour walks once or twice a week. Over to Park Slope, down one side of the street, back up the other side of the street. Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to scribble notes on a folded piece of paper balanced on a paperback dictionary. No one ever asked me what I was doing.

Where did you get the idea?
Maps and charts from legitimate enterprises are getting better and better. The New York Times once had a chart of how people spent their time over a 24-hour period. Many people–a statistically significant number of people–averaged out or separated by age or gender.

I can’t compete with that. I don’t have access to that kind of data. But I do have the ability to walk down every street in Park Slope, first one side, and then the other. So that is what I do.

Your donation derby, wherein readers can donate $5 or more via PayPal and you draw them a comic, is the most original “tip jar” we’ve seen. How much do people donate a month typically?
Donation Derby adds up to about two hundred dollars a month. It’s not a living and it’s not rent, but it’s some groceries and some beer.

Sent by Annaliese and Nicole. Images courtesy of very small array.

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