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.