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Illustrated Cornwall – Issy Stephens

We are delighted to share an illustrated tryptic by Issy Stephens, inspired by living in Cornwall.

Issy is a queer artist and researcher whose work centres mostly around identity and equality. She has just graduated from Falmouth University, is now progressing to do an MSc in Contemporary Identities at Bristol University. We were thrilled to commission these wonderful illustrations earlier this year – read on to find out why Issy created these pieces, and their thoughts behind them.

The piece I was commissioned to do by Cornwall 365 was inspired by three different parts of Cornish living. I wanted to celebrate the diversity Cornwall has to offer as a place and found myself drawn to looking at ‘Creative Cornwall,’ ‘Rural Cornwall’ and ‘Sustainable and Independent Cornwall,’ creating an illustrated tryptic that showed these facets in their glory.

Having recently graduated from university and left Cornwall, I can tell you I miss it dearly and this commission helped me to solidify just how much of my heart it takes up. I hope you find something new to explore, a memory from a place you’ve been, or even your own business here!


An illustration of creative building in Cornwall

Creative Cornwall by Issy Stephens

This piece is titled ‘Creative Cornwall.’ In the illustration I focused on the different facilities and activities Cornwall had to offer for the creative industry and hobbyists.

The piece includes illustrations of places including as The Tate St. Ives, The Poly in Falmouth, the Barbara Hepworth Museum, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Falmouth University, the Minack Theatre, Newlyn Art Gallery and Exchange, Fish Factory Arts Penryn, as well as examples of live music, pottery making and gorgeous high streets to wander down.”


Rural Cornwall by Issy Stephens

This piece is titled ‘Rural Cornwall,’ For this piece I wanted to concentrate on the beautiful countryside and landmarks it has to offer, centring around the coast. Some places I included in this piece are The Eden Project, the famous Poldark tin mine, Godrevy Lighthouse and Saint Michael’s Mount. I also wanted to include the wealth of watersports and activities Cornwall has to offer, including kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding and sailing.


Sustainable and Independent Cornwall by Issy Stephens

This piece is titled ‘Sustainable and Inependent Cornwall,’ and focuses on the businesses and people who have formed a lovely community. Places and businesses included in this piece are Rubicund – a radical bookshop and vegan coffee shop, Sunshine Cafe and Yoga, glamping and camping sites that can be found up and down Cornwall, locally sourced and sold veg shops and boxes, TOATS Mylk produced by Rushmere Farm, local markets selling second hand clothes and incredible plants. I also wanted to show the food and drink options available such as pasties, Sasparella vegan donuts, local fishmongers, rattler cider and great coffee.

Find out more about Issy on their website, and follow @lightsleeperstudio on Instagram

This image series was commissioned by Cornwall 365, thanks to funding from Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund, and Cornwall Council Creative Cornwall Calling.

Imogen Weatherly

Imogen can usually be found in a village community cinema, exploring Cornwall’s great outdoors, at foodie events, or watching live theatre. When she’s not getting stuck into all the lovely cultural stuff in Cornwall, you can find her on the beach.