Maps are wonderful things, guiding people from one place to the next, and educating others about new and unfamiliar places. Now a talented architect has taken the ancient craft of map-making and turned it into exquisite works of art.

By day, Joseph Tarella co-owns and operates Sawicki Tarella, one of the longest practicing architectural and design firms in the United States, from a studio in New York City’s leafy West Village.

But when work is put to one side, he picks up a set of fine art pens and paintbrushes and lovingly designshand-drawn custom maps of some of the country’s most beautiful and fragile coastlines.

These eye-catching collectible maps – which make the ideal wall art for any ocean home, beach house or private yacht – include the picturesque New England islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, the shorelines of New York, New Jersey and Delaware, and the tiny bridge- connected islands of the Florida Keys.

More than a piece of art, each map represents an ever-changing coastline, shaped by the relentless natural forces of the world’s oceans and weather patterns, and preserves it for future generations.

Tarella started creating the maps in 2000, initially as a hobby. “I’ve always liked maps and traveling, and when I built a house on Long Beach Island, I couldn’t find any maps of the area that I liked, so I created my own,” he explains. “When my friends and neighbors saw the maps, they loved them and wanted their own versions, and this labor-of-love endeavor started from there.”

While the majority of his work focuses on limited edition prints, Tarella will happily create a custom design for map-loving clients.The hobby quickly grew into a small business and Coastal Art Maps was born. Tarella has since sold 800 prints of his original maps and thousands more of his entire collection.

His coastal art maps are drawn by hand and painted using the time-honored tools of pen-and-ink and watercolor washes, using special UV-protected inks to prevent fading by the sunlight, especially in oceanfront homes.

“The tactile quality that I can achieve by using ink and watercolor on vellum allows for a kind of expression not easily achieved using more contemporary mechanical methods,” adds Tarella, who has recently added a map of the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia to his ever-growing portfolio.

“They’re a wonderful and informative keepsake for anyone familiar with the water-centric paradise on America’s East Coast,” he adds.

For more information on Coastal Art Maps, visit