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25+ Works of Art Inspired by the Grit and Glamour of Cities Around the World

City Art

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Artists regularly find inspiration from their surroundings. While nature is often the focus, the urban environment also provides a never-ending fodder for creativity. This is both formally, from its outward appearance, and conceptually, as the hustle and bustle of everyday life is distilled into a single image. City art manifests itself in different ways, from photography to sculpture to even home decor items.

Architecture, with its skyscraper silhouettes and exquisite facades, is the primarily subject in city art—and particularly design. One unexpected way is through products. Skyline Chess incorporates the iconic buildings of major metropolises like London and New York in the place of conventional game pieces. Likewise, the jewelry of Ola Shekhtman takes a city’s most charming characteristics and translates them into Cityscape rings. With them, you can hold the memories of metropolises around the world close to you—even if you aren’t physically there.

Of course, a literal translation of a place isn’t the only way to honor it. Using elements like symbols, colors, a variety of mixed media, artists capture the essence of a city, or cities in general. Artist and craftsman James McNabb communicates the over development (and crowding) that can happen when so many people densely populate one place. His circular woodworking sculptures are an abstract exploration into this feeling as we can get lost into the never-ending arrangement of elongated shapes pointing towards a bright center beacon.

City art offers more to viewers than simply eye-pleasing portraits of a metropolis. See how creatives interpret places around the world.



Graphic Design & Illustration


Product Design

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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