#Ed Fairburn

Urban Landscapes Merge with Intricately Rendered Figures in Ed Fairburn’s Portraits on Vintage Maps

December 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Plymouth.” All images © Ed Fairburn, shared with permission

Along the contours of roads, property boundaries, and shorelines, English artist Ed Fairburn draws inspiration for his detailed cross-hatched portraits. As an avid map collector, he is fascinated by the urban landscape and cartographic design. “The more maps I collect, the more I want to create,” he tells Colossal, sharing that transportation routes like roads and bridges can be likened to the veins or arteries of the body.

Fairburn’s intricate drawings directly respond to the layout of the original map. “I allow the composition of each map to inform the composition of each portrait,” he explains. An interest in the body as metaphorical landscape and vice versa also informs how he approaches each piece. “In a wider sense, I hope that my work pushes viewers to think about those similarities, and perhaps offers a reminder that we’re shaped by the landscape around us, which we in turn are also shaping.”

You can find more of Fairburn’s work on his website, and follow updates on Instagram, where he often shares videos of his process.


“River Thames; Staines to Richmond”


“Aberdeen Harbour”

“Paris II”


Detail of “Plymouth”

Detail of “River Thames; Staines to Richmond” 

#Ed Fairburn


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