Chaos is a concept that makes some people nervous. However, for the New Zealand-based illustrator Ellie Compton, chaos is a source of beauty, intrigue, energy and life, which she captures in her whimsical, highly detailed cross section artworks.
A self-professed ‘maker of chaos’, Ellie’s own story fits perfectly with her approach. While studying architecture, her thesis project focused on architectural cross sections, which she developed into her own unique form of artwork. She entered her imagery in a drawing competition in New Zealand and was a finalist, then began working for illustration clients alongside her architectural practice.
In 2020, she became a full-time artist and illustrator, producing work for digital and print, merchandise and murals. Clients love the way all the minutiae of their operations come to life in Ellie’s images – it’s amusing, invigorating and even cathartic for them.
Architecture and steam punk are among Ellie’s main inspirations. She’s fascinated by the mechanics of everyday things, from boats and buildings to entire cities.
Using line weights to differentiate scale, depth of field and section cuts, Ellie painstakingly draws the inner workings of places and spaces, merging their stories and characteristics into an overall concept that conveys her client’s message.
Ellie’s unique approach has resulted in an equally unique style. Her whimsical architectural cross sections are full of playfulness, humour and storytelling – chaotic worlds grounded by mechanics, structure and architectural features.
2017 – The Parkin Prize - Finalist