The Art of Maps

Whilst some map related works by Simon Patterson or Grayson Perry are well known, there’s a host of other artists and designers inspired by the world of cartography that remain unknown. Here are some of our favourite hidden treasures:


Stephen Walter

Stephen Walter's insanely brilliant 'The Island - London Series' is a work of staggering genius.

The map imagines London as an island of its own with commuter towns and outside territories imagined as smaller islands navigating the London shore. The map is rich in London street life with landmarks and information collected together as words and symbols.

The signs are often pointers to a bizarre and detailed history of London life. You can spend hours popping these lines into a search engine and exploring an esoteric history of England's capital. The original is on show at The British Library if you want to span an adventure of your own!




Claire Brewster

Claire Brewster makes delicate paper cuts from out dated city maps. She contrasts the stark urbanism of the city with the beauty of her delicate paper creations.

Using city maps of London, New York and San Francisco she reveals the vibrant potential of the over looked - creating figures, sculptures and shapes representative of a secretive truth behind the city.

Her site has some seriously beautiful work. Vastly affordable for anyone looking to brighten up their home


Instant Hutong

The brilliant Urban Carpets of Instant Hutong represents different Hutong districts of Beijing as individual city maps. The series features 8 in total and is made with the same design techniques as the propaganda slogans produced by the communist party during the Seventies.

The whole project is the brainchild of Marcella Campa and Setafno Avesani who moved to China in 2005. They want to explore the fast urbanisation of China and focus on how its industrilisation changes how the city is perceived, seen and mapped.

The 8 final carpets were hung in the Hutong areas in downtown Beijing. They ask local city dwellers to interact with the map and chart their position in the wider context of the city.


Jenni Sparks - For Ever Made

This hand-drawn map flows through London's boroughs bringing attention to some of the best kept secrets of London's cultural sector which are sat alongside some of its better known classics! It makes this map a truly unique feast for the eyes!

So why not grab a drink at Franks' bar, which is sat on top of a multistory car-park in Peckham, go see a film at The Prince Charlies cinema in Leicester Square or grab a beigel from Brick Lane. This map has it all!



Karen O'Leary

NC based artist Karen O'Leary re-imagines the map as an exchange of negative and positive spaces. Completely hand cut, Karen imagines some of the world's famous cities in London, New York and Paris.

The negative spacing demarcates the land and the vast strips of white paper represent the streets and roads.

They are completely accurate and are testiment to Karen's architectural background. She says "These maps reveal the density and delicacy of a modern city with a single element and infinite subtleties."