Limited edition prints of the Bristol Map are now available to buy
BRISTOL – HAND DRAWN MAP – 900 x 900 - Limited edition prints available to buy
Fuller’s work is scaled from an existing map
Recent interview with Clifton Life Magazine:
First of all, tell us in a Twitter limit of 140 words who you are and what you do!
I’m an artist who specialises in hand drawn maps, although my work certainly isn’t restricted by geography. I find it tricky understanding where ones creativity belongs and accepting that people often like to place you in a certain discipline. Some may argue I’m a fine artist, although never formally trained, others an ‘outsider’ with a naïve practice and often I’m referred to as an Illustrator. The maps are a constant documentation but right now I’m really excited by film. As a producer looking to direct a short film. All communication is art for me. If there is a story, a gigantic slab of culture and brilliant characters. Then it’s time to get busy in the studio.
Why the name ‘Fuller’?
Fuller was my first family name.
How and why did you come to specialise in maps?
I’ve always enjoyed exploring since early childhood and was promptly put in the naughty boys club, the Boy Scouts, at an early age. All the dib dib dob got me hooked on maps and understanding how people relate to and depend on their environments. At 20 years old I’d go off back packing, nothing to serious, North Africa and Europe, always searching for new inspiration. This wanderlust grew with age and I’ve been very privileged through my work and saving hard to visit many countries around the world.
A map to me is a life line. In the serious sense we use them to navigate, find, search, rescue and form ownership. However, we also use them for similar reasons whilst seeking pleasure. On all occasions maps have the power to engage, provoke emotions and document stories.
It was this sense of documenting a time and place using common themes and emotions that made me want to start drawing my first map – London. I was very tired of my career in the media at the time and wanted to disappear off archetypal ladder. Get lost, if you like. I decided to start mapping the capital, this was in 2005. It’s still not finished!
Whilst drawing I’m celebrating something, I can’t quite put my finger on it but it feels good, so I carry on. My subject is inclusive which means where ever I decide to hang my hat, the experience can be drawn to share.
You say that ‘It is not always the physical state but the emotions and trends that we all share with our habitats that excite me’ – can you explain a bit more about this?
By this I mean many of us know where the aquarium is in Bristol. So many of us may agree the food is over priced and it’s not a great attraction (I’ll be in trouble for writing this!) If one hears this again and again from different people, a common theme begins. There is an emotional connection to the place. For this very reason, in regards to the Aquarium, you’ll see a pirates flag flying from the roof to symbolise this infamous trend.
A moment I enjoy very much is when I travel to Bristol and enter the city on the M32. There is a moment when the city scape appears. The topography is wonderful, the shapes of the streets hugging the miniature hills tells you – I’m home, this is Bristol. Throughout the map I’ve used lines and shapes that bring the physical form of the city to life. It’s the connection you may make on this personal level that continues to inspire me.
You say that the maps have levels of symbolism – can you explain this, too?
It’s actually very simple. As an example you’ll see recycle signs in buidlings to symbolise our many charity shops. The art galleries, shops and studios can often be found with a palette and brush. More esoteric symbolism can be found within the map. The chocolate path down by Spike Island that hugs the River is symbolised using hundreds of tiny squares.
When and why did you decide to map Bristol?
As soon as I arrived in 2010. I was taking a walk in Ashton Court one afternoon and the view blew me away. That was that. It’s has so much depth and variation geographically – and then the people, it wasn’t long before I became aware of it’s diversity and friendly vibe. A no brainer shall we say?
How did you go about it?
There is a little science and planning to begin with. I used traditional maps to decide on the scale and area. Then it’s a case of immersing myself in the city. Meeting people, visiting places and my favorite part – Exploring. These simple methods of research are combined with visits to the central library, using archives, dusty books, web resources and compiling notes from conversations. Without sounding to airy fairy – inspiration is all around us when mapping. Collectively all this research prepares my understanding of those important reoccurring themes and experiences which I like to document.
Tell us about some interesting and/or surprising discoveries you made about Bristol on your travels.
I really like the fact that the Pereguine (spelling?) Falcon nests in Avon Gauge and it’s the fasted hunting predator on the planet – the Concorde originated from Filton. That was the fastest passenger plane. An odd little factoid but the adjoining theme of flight makes me smile.
I was shocked to learn that Winston Churchill gave a media interview outside The Wills Memorial Building very close to an unexploded bomb during the second world war! He was unaware at the time but it’s these types of little curiosities Bristol has so many of.
How would you describe Bristol to someone who has never been there?
That’s a tricky question! – It’s a friendly city with a devotion to life and balance across all its ways. A place to settle, to work, to prosper and relax. I’ve never lived somewhere with such spoken attitude, whether it’s good or bad, it feels genuine which is something that naturally commands respect. I trust it.
I often describe the city as a clock face, so have others. They’re many parts close together that all have very distinct environments. It’s tight proximity gives us the opportunity to hop from one community to another, this may have emerged from the many villages that originally created todays city of Bristol.
How long did it take to create the map?
I’ve spent 550 + hours drawing the map and countless hours researching.
How big is it, and what media did you use?
It is 900 mm x 900 mm (90cm x 90cm)
I always draw using black inks on to archival quality mount board. These are the same materials that are used for conversation framing. I enjoy the understanding that my ink maybe preserved for hundreds of years using the right techniques.
Any areas that you especially enjoyed mapping?
One of my favourite areas was Leigh Woods. I got into a real rhythm drawing the trees and creating this texture. They’re very dramatic along the Gauge and it was my intention to make this apparent on the map. Like many places in Bristol Leigh Woods offers tranquility within reach so I spent a lot of time getting lost in its network of paths.
…and any that were a bit challenging?
My biggest challenge was fitting the detail and subjects onto the space. Maybe one day if time allows my maps will document more but I often get frustrated by the size of the works. So much is missing, through my lack of experience and size of the map. If I settle in Bristol I promise a second attempt!
What will you be mapping next?
It’s still a big decision on my mind. But I’m being drawn to Rio, Mumbai or San Francisco. First I’ll uncover my map of London and see whats what (smile)!
The final balloon
The central and largest balloon was left empty so the people of Bristol could make their mark on the map. I wanted to gather inspiration by asking for ideas. Marie Cooke from Brislington, and another chap who’s details I’ve mislaid, both reminded me of the medical research being carried out by Bristol University – The Children of the 90s.
‘We are delighted and honoured to be associated with Fuller’s art work. The Children of the 90s balloon has been an iconic symbol in Bristol for over 20 years, so it’s great to see it so firmly “on the map”! - Lynn Molloy, executive director, Children of the 90s
Since the early 90s over 14,000 individuals have been taking part in ground breaking research. It is a very unique project and has been used around the world for many medical advances. I’ve used the outline style from the their logo, which happens to be a balloon, and have included hundreds of points which represent all those that have taken part in the trials. It’s a simple celebration of innovation and the dedication by all those involved in the project. It fitted perfectly with my vision. The balloon is very subtle, in keeping with the overall style and like many other curiosities on the map it contains a story which people share.