Turning stadium layouts into colorful prints

Layouts for stadiums such as Fenway Park and Heinz Field can now be seen as map art. Courtesy of City Prints Map Art

If you've ever bought sports tickets, you've almost certainly seen the images: Overhead shots of arenas, parks and stadiums stripped clean of every detail but the outlines.

But you probably haven't seen them like this.

These are no seating guides.

They're the artistic impressions of a 32-year-old man in Charlotte, N.C., and his wife, Katie, and brother, Tim -- a series that currently features color-coordinated layouts of Major League Baseball and National Football League venues, but soon will include the homes of all sorts of sports outfits, inside the U.S. and very far away.

And they all started when Tony Rodono was back in college, boring himself with a repetitive (but money-making) job and learning to look at maps a different way.

We caught up via email with Rodono -- a graphic designer who along with Katie went to North Carolina-Chapel Hill, lived in Atlanta for 10 years and recently moved back to Charlotte -- and learned how that one college job turned into the works of City Prints Map Art, which started out stylizing city and campus layouts before branching out into sports.

AT&T Park -- San Francisco

Dodger Stadium -- Los Angeles

Yankee Stadium -- New York

First, some background: How did you get into doing prints like these in general?

It depends how far back you want to go. Rewind 11 months: My wife, Katie, and I had our first child and [our] perspectives began to change. She was working as a sales manager for the Four Seasons Hotel and I was working as the art director for a brand development company. We decided to pool our skills and put together a company that we enjoy and would allow us to spend more time together with our daughter, Annabella.

Rewind 11 years: I started a traffic counting company to pay my way through college. I [would] sit at intersections and push buttons for every car that passed. It was mind numbingly boring, but the money was great. Part of the job was providing road sketches to the client. This was the first time I noticed the interesting abstract patterns that maps create.

How did that translate into stadiums?

It's tough to relate to art most of the time. But maps as art [is] universal and personal. Everyone is passionate about some place and places are woven into the story of every individual. The places we've been have stories -- stories that we want to share.

City Prints launched with 30 campus maps, but after several weeks of speaking to customers, we learned that some of the places people are most passionate about revolve around sports, and sports stadiums are packed with stories.

MetLife Stadium -- East Rutherford, N.J. (Jets)

MetLife Stadium -- East Rutherford, N.J. (Giants)

Cowboys Stadium -- Arlington, Texas

Do you have any special memories of ballparks/stadiums from your childhood? Or even more recently?

There are too many memories to recount, but the emotion of the game is what will stick with me the longest.

I remember the excitement of seeing my first Charlotte Hornets game when I was 8. That team went 20-62 during their inaugural season -- to sellout crowds at home! I will always remember walking anxiously to the Dean Dome on chilly nights when my Heels hosted Dook [sic] and laughing with friends on humid summer nights at Turner Field where cold beer seems like the only way to cool off.

Growing up, I had a bunch of family in Cleveland, and there's probably not a better illustration of what sports means to a community than during the devastation felt during the exodus of the Browns, then the elation felt when they got the team back. I sadly don't get back as often any more, but now that I call Charlotte home (again), I hear a Panther roar in my head when I wake up on Sunday mornings.

[With my brother], I'm not sure a bigger sports fan exists. He's a University of South Carolina grad so it's frowned upon to bring up which is the real "Carolina" in our company (USC vs. UNC).

Cleveland Browns Stadium -- Cleveland

Turner Field -- Atlanta

Bank of America Stadium -- Charlotte

So what's next? Are there any plans to branch out beyond stadium layout?

About 10 EPL [English Premier League] and 10 Bundesliga prints will be added on the site this week. We're currently developing a series of college sports stadiums, which should launch next. Hockey will follow, then basketball and soccer stadiums in the States.

I hope to have all this completed within the next few months. Next year? Who knows. Cricket fields anyone?

Beyond the stadium, we're toying with race tracks, golf courses and tennis courts. We'll always continue to add campus maps along with maps of cities around the world. We also have a pop culture series planned with maps from comics, movies, videos games and fiction.

Wrigley Field -- Chicago

Soldier Field -- Chicago

Lambeau Field -- Green Bay