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Illustrated Maps by Ed Fairburn

Published Sep 16, 2022

British artist Ed Fairburn creates amazing hand-drawn portraits using old road maps and charts as his canvases.

“I manipulate paper maps to construct other forms, usually portraiture. I call this process topopointillism; a direct combination of topography and pointillism.

Using traditional materials such as ink, paint and pencil, I make gradual changes to the contours, roads and other patterns found in cartography. These changes allow me to tease out the human form, resulting in a comfortable coexistence of figure and landscape. I aim to preserve the functionality of each map by feeding the composition instead of fighting it – I often spend hours studying the terrain before I begin any physical processes. I’m interested in the degree of subtlety behind each synchronisation, and the way in which a completed map behaves more like a portrait when viewed from further away – it’s almost paradoxical that a portrait should lose detail when examined closely.”

More art on the grid Visit his website

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