Today, major artists are often commissioned to reinterpret the many enclaves, precincts and paths that make up our cities with designer map art. Stephen Walter is a well-known artist in the UK inspired by maps. Stephen creates intricate map worlds with his prints, interconnecting and overlaying streets, symbols and signs with stunning detail. His work has been featured at the Saatchi Gallery, The Courtauld Institute and the Royal Academy.
Another example of map art at Rise Art is Gull Fiskar by Kristjana S Williams. This modern map painting is an explosion of colour, messily but creatively mapped out in an illustrative print using Williams’s signature, quirky style.
We also have We the people of the commonwealth by Justine Smith which you can purchase online. The map painting cleverly maps out identity politics in the UK using collages and prints of banknotes. Justine looks at the socio-political implications of currency and money in her work, playing on ironic ideas of power by showing both the predominance of wealth and money while simultaneously reducing it to just paper.
Places I have been: Istanbul by Secil Erel is an example of city map art. Secil, a contemporary London-based female artist, uses map paintings to tell stories of the artist’s experience living and studying in Istanbul, a melting pot of culture, colours and communities.
Previous famous cartographers who have created iconic map art include Marcel Marien and Larry Rivers. Marcel Marien, a Surrealist come-Situationist painter, poet and printmaker, used maps to tell stories inspired by his time spent fighting in WW2. Peace During Wartime (1940) is a lithograph print of Europe overlaying a classical, pastoral setting. Larry Rivers reconfigured maps in an abstract style, such as with his screenprint and collage Map with Fraser (1966). He used reconstructed map paintings to explore the fragmentary, transformative nature of big cities.