Alice Tye’s latest Street View-inspired paintings take us on a virtual road trip through America

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

To ease the sting of travel restrictions, illustrator Alice Tye has launched a new series taking us on a virtual road trip through America.

Starting in Miami and travelling through the southern states before ending in Palm Desert, California, ‘Street View Road Trip’ explores a variety of American landscapes. “It feels like a very fitting project for 2020, the year of lockdown and quarantine, but funnily enough I started it way back in January,” she tells us. “It’s become a strange coincidence that travelling via street view feels as close to a holiday abroad as many of us will get this year. It’s a fun bit of escapism after being cooped up in a London flat all year.”

Using only Google Street View for reference, the paintings make use of the distorted perspective created by the revolving camera to create scenes that are both vivid and detailed yet eerily still. The streets are empty; a parked car sits outside a motel, a single-car follows in the distance. The paintings capture the iconic American tropes – the vehicles, the motels, the wide roads, yet the scenes do not feel idealised or bombastic. They are merely single moments captured in a (virtual) trip.

“I have wanted to travel across the American South since I returned from a previous USA road trip in 2015. But at the start of the year, it wasn’t feasible financially or schedule-wise to make such an extended holiday, so I began thinking of ways to incorporate the idea into a project,” she continues. “I decided to explore the route I would’ve travelled via Google Street View (a technique I used in a previous project in 2013).

“The landscapes and small towns were so beautiful that I took screenshots of hundreds of locations and angles. I then edited this huge amount of images down to a more curated selection and started to plot them on a map to check the route roughly made sense.”

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye

From the series, Street View Road Trip, 2020 © Alice Tye