Whether you're from a city or a small coastal town, the location of your home has a major impact on your life. Artist Ed Fairburn highlights the relationship between people and places through his ongoing series of drawings made on vintage maps. He uses his masterful skills to merge human portraits with the existing layout of towns and cities, seamlessly expressing the way in which our environment shapes who we are.
Each of these unique illustrations is hand-drawn on maps from Fairburn's own collection, and sometimes on maps that he finds specifically for a project. Then, Fairburn uses a pen to slowly sketch a face onto the piece of cartography, navigating the pre-existing marks to unite the portrait in a natural way. Through hatches and cross-hatching, he creates faces that look as though they were always meant to be there—as though their resemblance was printed underneath the mapping of the particular location.
Fairburn uses a range of different maps in his art. Many of them depict well-known towns and cities in Europe. However, he has also expanded his series to include trench maps as well as topographical ones and even cartography of space. In each of these cases, the individual is expressed in such a way that is natural to the original map—including the style and level of detail involved.
Artist Ed Fairburn creates incredible drawings on maps.
This ongoing series explores the relationship between people and places.
Fairburn renders detailed portraits on top of cartography, seamlessly merging two different subjects.
He uses maps of towns and cities as well as topographical ones—changing his style to suit the subject.
Watch these videos to see Fairburn's creative process:
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