“Paper maps are essential to portrait artist Ed Fairburn, who uses them as the canvas for his detailed work. His thoughtful integration of human portrait and topography make it appear as though the two have always belonged together” (Rocky Mountain PBS)
My work is a direct combination of cartography and portraiture. Using traditional materials such as ink and pencil, I intervene with a range of original maps, making gradual changes to contours, roads and other patterns. 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 each map before I begin any physical processes. I’m interested in the subtlety of each synchronisation, and the way in which each 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.
Available to fulfil a range of commissioned work for both private and commercial use – contact for enquiries.
Video credit: Rocky Mountain PBS