David Nuttall

Hand-drawn Plausible Fictitious Maps,
by David Nuttall, Artimaps.

Maps to me are snapshots of time. They are a small piece of the history of a place represented in a way that clearly shows the current stage of growth and yet hinting at the past and future. I think of my fictional maps in the same way, as they are drawn from my imagination, but in the “present day”, so a snapshot in time of my fictional places.

hand drawn map on wood

I have always loved maps and have been drawing fictional maps since I was five. They have evolved into very detailed and realistic work. I am lucky to still have some of my earliest maps, from age of 8 onward. I was trained by the British Government as a Cartographic Draughtsman and have worked with professionally with maps, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) ever since. I perform consulting work with 911 mapping, helping municipalities ensure their emergency service maps are as up to date and legible as possible. Throughout my career I have continued to create my fictitious maps, but did not consider my maps as art for many years.

image of handdrawn map
map drawn on body

The Human Terrain maps in the exhibition are just one series of hand-drawn maps that I create. I create realistic places after researching several aspects about real locations, such as the terrain, culture, architecture, history, highway layouts, public transport, building size and density and language. All of this is then set aside and I draw the maps on-the-fly without specific planning or sketches. These maps are on paper (including photographs of terrain-like texture), board, wood, canvas and skin. I create in layers, starting with rivers and terrain and then adding the man-made aspects. The Human Terrain maps evolved from other maps I draw on birch wood, using the grain of the wood as the contours, as these looked somewhat like skin tone. I use Prismacolor pens and colored pencils on paper, board and wood and acrylic pens on canvas, for murals and on skin. I use the natural shape of the body as the terrain and incorporate aspects of the customers life into the art, trying to ensure the features look natural where they are placed, for example making sure rail lines do not have too steep a slope. The work is temporary but I take hundreds of photographs to capture different views and poses.

map drawn on body
hand drawn map
hand drawn map

Originally from Aberfan in South Wales, David has lived in Addlestone, Windsor and Datchet in southern England. Since 1996, David has lived in Huntsville Alabama where he has a working studio in Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment.

David’s Website: https://www.artimaps.com/

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Exhibition: Maps Everywhere/NJCU