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Artist Turns City Satellite Maps Into Abstract Pattern Paintings

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Beijing

Shanghai-based artist Lu Xinjian’s City DNA series depicts the world’s major metropolises—including Beijing, London, and Paris—as maze-like abstract paintings. By studying satellite maps of each location on Google Earth, the artist then extracts and simplifies visual information by sketching the city layout as a myriad of geometric shapes and graphic lines, which represent, what in architecture is termed “city DNA.”

Reminiscent of Keith Haring’s New York-inspired artwork, Xinjian’s large scale, acrylic-on-canvas paintings are rendered using stencils made on Adobe Illustrator and a cutting plotter. Although Xinjian’s work is abstract, the different shapes and lines are recognizable to those familiar with the given city, each line, corner, and shape serving as specific areas and landmarks. Roundabouts can be spotted as circles next to intersecting lines, and lakes and rivers are visible as curvilinear shapes. Each piece features a simple color palette based on the colors of each city’s national flag.

You can find more of Xinjian’s impressive work on his website.

Shanghai-based artist Lu Xinjian’s City DNA series depicts the world’s major metropolises as maze-like abstract paintings.

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

London

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Paris

The artist extracts and simplifies visual information from satellite maps, sketching the city layout as a myriad of geometric shapes and graphic lines.

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Moscow

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Stockholm

Each large scale, acrylic-on-canvas painting is rendered using stencils made on Adobe Illustrator and a cutting plotter.

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

“The triumph of New York”

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Munich

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Hong Kong

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

Shanghai

Abstract Paintings City DNA by Lu Xinjian

“Port of LA”

Lu Xinjian: Website | Facebook
h/t: [Kottke]

All images via Lu Xinjian.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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