cityscapes

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Photography

Take an Eerie Walk Through the Empty Streets of Amsterdam, San Francisco, and New York City

March 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

With one-third of the world’s population currently under some level of quarantine, the streets of major cities like Amsterdam, New York City, and San Francisco are an unusual and unsettling sight. Film director and cinematographer Jean Counet, who shot “Meanwhile in Amsterdam,” shows the capital city almost entirely deserted. Public transit is empty and a four-minute walk reveals less than a dozen passersby.

Counet tells Colossal that “Meanwhile in Amsterdam” came together like any other film, except that “this time there was no director, and no plan,” he says. “We walked through the old city centre of Amsterdam between 8:30 (and) 13:30 which is normally teemed by walking people and bicycles. What we witnessed felt like a dream. Sometimes beautiful and mesmerizing, sometimes scary and worrying.”

In a similarly bizarre look at San Francisco, stop lights cycle from green to red with no cars passing through and businesses are boarded up. One with a psychedelic facade even has signs that read “We will survive” and “We will get by,” a hopeful gesture derived from the city’s musical legends that directly contrasts the nailed plywood covering the windows.

To see how the global pandemic is affecting public life in New York City and Rotterdam, check out the videos below. (via Kottke)

 

 



Photography

Towering Skyscrapers Reflect New York City’s Density in Navid Baraty’s Photographs

March 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Navid Baraty, shared with permission

Utilizing the reflections on soaring buildings, Seattle-based photographer Navid Baraty (previously) frames New York City in sections of just a few blocks. Although the traffic-packed streets and countless windows on high-rises can be seen from the ground, Baraty’s aerial shots in his ongoing Hidden City II series provide a distinct look at the area’s density and compactedness. “Most of our perceptions of cities involve us walking the busy streets and staring up at the towering skyscrapers above,” he writes. “With my series, I wanted to offer an altered and at times almost surreal perspective on the familiar streets that us city-dwellers drive and walk on each day.”

Baraty tells Colossal that his cityscapes often remind him of scenes from Interstellar or Inception. They “capture reflections of these hidden realities that exist high above the streets below. I couldn’t believe the first time I saw how much of a city can be seen reflected along the sides of skyscrapers from on high. It really felt as though I’d discovered some sort of hidden dimension,” he said. To keep up with Baraty’s perspective-altering photographs, head to Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Art

Sheets of White Paper Layered into Dense Cityscapes and Forests by Ayumi Shibata

February 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Museum Mile Book.” All images © Ayumi Shibata, shared with permission

Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata (previously) constructs intricate paper cities and natural landscapes that both fit in the palm of her hand and are expansive enough to pass through on foot. Using dozens of layers of paper for a single project, Shibata carves miniature houses, clouds, and tree-filled forests that eventually are illuminated in glass vessels, stored safely in a book, or erected in large-scale installations.

The artist tells Colossal that she doesn’t use pencil outlines, in part because the white paper isn’t durable enough to be erased if there’s an error. Instead, she envisions the three-dimensional shapes she wants to create and begins cutting. “White paper expresses the yang, light, (and) the process to cut expresses the yin, shadow. When the sun shines upon an object, a shadow is born,” she writes. “Front and back, yin and yang, two side(s) of the same coin.”

Shibata also relies on the Japanese word “kami”—which translates to paper but also to god, divinity, and spirit—as she considers the relationship between humans and nature that turns up in her work. “The world of paper that unfolds within the glass expresses the micro world, which is our human world, the Earth, the universe, and other universes and dimensions. The life-sized forest installation expresses the macro world, which is outside of our universe and the unknown worlds.” Each time someone walks into a room with one of her more expansive pieces, she thinks it’s possible “we could meet, communicate and coexist with Kami, which exists but we can’t see.”

To check out more of Shibata’s structural projects, head to her Instagram.

“Museum Mile Book”

“In the Jar Corridors of Time”

“Forest of Kami”

“Forest of Kami”

“In the Jar Bush”

‘Volcano Book”

Right: “In the Jar Drop of Bush”

“Voyager Book”

 

 



Art Photography

London’s Imperfect Geometry Revealed in Aerial Photography by Bernhard Lang

October 19, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Munich-based photographer Bernhard Lang (previously) recently shared aerial views of famous squares and landmarks throughout London, England. By presenting the metropolis from the sky, Lang offers a more dynamic look at the capital city’s unique geometric patterns and iconic architecture.

Lang produced the Aerial Views: London series from inside a helicopter during a trip to the United Kingdom in July 2019. Locations including Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square were chosen because they are “stored in our visual memory,” Lang tells Colossal. For the photographer, the unusual perspective of familiar sites reveals the atmosphere and charisma of the city in ways that can’t be seen from the ground. The flyover views of the city make it appear more like a detailed model of itself, complete with cars, double-deckers, boats, and tiny people frozen in places like figurines.

Fine art prints of Lang’s photographs are available by request via his website. To see more of the award-winning photographer’s work, follow him on Instagram.

 

 



Design

A Comprehensive and Colorful Map of London Outlines the City’s Great Buildings and Icons

November 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Designer Rafael Esquer of Alfalfa New York (previously) has added a new city print to his collection, this time focusing on the iconic buildings, neighborhoods, and residents of London. The colorful poster highlights the city’s classic landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye and the Buckingham Palace, and includes the many bridges that cross over the River Thames. Esquer’s London poster is available for purchase in his online store. The designer is also participating in Colossal’s upcoming exhibition Chain Reaction: Posters About Bikes at the Chicago Design Museum and in the Colossal Shop starting November 16, 2018.

 

 



Art

Multiple Perspectives Form Elaborately Detailed Cityscapes by Nathan Walsh

August 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"Pier 17" (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 50 inches

“Pier 17” (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 50 inches, all images via Nathan Walsh

British artist Nathan Walsh (previously) creates oil painted cityscapes by combining reference images from a range of perspectives and angles. His latest work Catching Fire was created from a combination of photographs taken during three visits to New York City over a two year period. The painting more accurately captures the feeling of Times Square rather an exact representation, presenting multiple horizon points to make the viewer feel as if they are at the center of the neon-washed environment.

In addition to taking numerous photographs of his chosen location, Walsh also spends time sketching his surroundings in a series of thumbnail drawings. “Of late I’ve found the sketchbook to be of increasing importance even for notes on color or whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time,” he tells Colossal. “This immediate personal response to the environment plays an important role when I’m back in my studio in the United Kingdom and reliant on the photographs taken.”

Once he’s decided on the subject and scale of the painting, he draws in elements in a fairly loose and intuitive way. “Freehand drawing is fundamental to all of my work, allowing me to take full ownership of photographic material,” he explains. “Rejecting the mechanical transfer of imagery forces me to construct each object from scratch and allows for a fluid and inventive approach.”

By selecting segments from a variety of photographs of each scene, Walsh is able to construct his own reality of a space within an urban environment. This includes shifting key elements of his paintings into what he describes as different perspective “zones,” which he explains allows his works to more closely relate to how we experience a city while we are walking through it.

Over the last three years, Walsh’s paintings have begun to focus more heavily on the weather conditions present in a particular location, homing in on the reflective sidewalks produced during a rainstorm or the geometric bands of light that infiltrate an urban space during a bright, cloudless day. You can view of a selection of Walsh’s New York City paintings in his upcoming solo exhibition at Bernarducci Gallery in Manhattan, which opens September 6 and runs through September 29, 2018. More of Walsh’s cityscapes can be seen on his Instagram and Twitter.

"Catching Fire" (2017), oil on canvas, 53 x 108 inches

“Catching Fire” (2017), oil on canvas, 53 x 108 inches

Drawing for "Catching Fire" (2017), oil on canvas, 53 x 108 inches

Drawing for “Catching Fire” (2017), oil on canvas, 53 x 108 inches

"Lake Street' (2017), oil on linen, 34 x 52 inches

“Lake Street’ (2017), oil on linen, 34 x 52 inches

"ZBAR" (2016), oil on canvas, 51 x 115 inches

“ZBAR” (2016), oil on canvas, 51 x 115 inches

"Ed Koch" (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

“Ed Koch” (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

Detail of "Ed Koch" (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

Detail of “Ed Koch” (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

Detail drawing of "Ed Koch" (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

Detail drawing of “Ed Koch” (2018), oil on canvas, 85 x 56 inches

"Peninsula" (2017), oil on canvas, 69 x 133 inches

“Peninsula” (2017), oil on canvas, 69 x 133 inches

 

 



Art

Out-of-Focus Paintings by Philip Barlow Capture the Twinkling Lights of Cityscapes at Night

August 8, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

“Electric III,” oil on linen, 47 x 78 inches, all images via Philip Barlow

Cape Town-based artist Philip Barlow paints abstracted depictions of the cityscapes at night, blurring the focus of street lamps and headlights the way our eyes or a photographer’s lens might when adjusting to a city’s bright, multi-colored lights. In this way, Barlow paints from perception rather than reality, showcasing the beautiful ways we process our daily surroundings. In the foreground, the paintings feature overlapping orbs of white, red, and blue light, which obscure blurred buildings, cars, and signs that occupy the dimly painted background.

“The figures in the landscape serve as carriers and reflectors of the light that falls upon them,” explains Barlow. “Bathed in the luminosity, it is my hope that they would become more beautiful. To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality.”

You can view more of the South African artist’s blurred depictions of cities, beaches, and portraits, on his website. (via My Modern Met)

"Electric Wet," oil on canvas, 39 x 59 inches

“Electric Wet,” oil on canvas, 39 x 59 inches

"Glass II," oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

“Glass II,” oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches 

"Glass," oil on canvas, 70 x 47 inches, and "Jingumae II," oil on canvas, 47 x 31 inches

“Glass,” oil on canvas, 70 x 47 inches, and “Jingumae II,” oil on canvas, 47 x 31 inches

"Leaving Shibuya," oil on canvas, 47 x 98 inches

“Leaving Shibuya,” oil on canvas, 47 x 98 inches

"Ultramarine," oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

“Ultramarine,” oil on canvas, 47 x 70 inches

"One Way," oil on canvas, 47 x 47 inches

“One Way,” oil on canvas, 47 x 47 inches