Seeing Skylines

Last summer, I planned a somewhat spur-of-the-moment trip to Western Europe. My trip began in Madrid, and crossed Spain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands before looping back around to end in the Basque–officially belonging to Spain and France (depending where in the region you are), but nonetheless an aggressive defender of its independence from either country. This trip had a brisk but enjoyable pace: I visited 10 cities in just under 30 days. I liked most of them but didn’t love all of them, and I felt varying levels of homesickness wherever we went. While it was a fantastic vacation, it had its low points: I discovered the steepest hill I’ve ever seen (and walked up it with my luggage) in Barcelona, found Nice’s touristy atmosphere grating, survived on french fries in Brussels and Bruges (which lacked much vegetarian food), and caught a cold in Paris. But something happened when I came home: no matter how little I enjoyed a city while there, I found myself recalling it quite fondly–and wanting to go back. Dreary November weather has me longing for a small taste of summer, and between Saturday’s post on San Francisco and working on my mini-calendar, I thought now would be a good time for me to share some of my favorite art celebrating cities both international and domestic (I also included a few of my favorite photos from my trip).

All of these pieces can be found on Etsy, and I highly recommend checking out the artists. While I primarily chose to feature cities that have some meaning to me, all of these artists illustrate plenty of places around the world in their work–if you liked this post, hurry over to Etsy and browse their stuff to find your hometown or vacation spot!

Internationally Inspired

1. Custom Map of Your Vacation by The Hive Studio
2. Paris, Latin Quarter Stitched Canvas Print by Laura Amiss
3. Brussels Poster – Belgium Art Print – City Skyline Series by BirdAve Shoppe
4. European Postcards Subscription by Stephanie Levy

5. Madrid City Map Art Print by Jenna Sue Map Shop
6. Modern Spain Map Print by JHill Design from the Places I’ve Never Been series
7. Map Pillow – Vintage Barcelona Map by saltlabs
8. Amsterdam Bloemgracht A-4 Cityscape Print by Laura Amiss
9. Big Ben City Skyline Illustration – London England Art Print by BirdAve Shoppe

Domestically Inspired

1.  Austin, Texas Travel Poster by JHill Design from the Places I’ve Never Been series
2. Patterned USA Map by JHill Design
3. New York Retro City Stitched Canvas Print by Laura Amiss
4. Missouri State Series Letterpress by 1canoe2 Letterpress
5. San Jose City Map Art Print by  Jenna Sue Map Shop

Travel is a funny thing: both in learning about others’ travels and remembering our own, we encounter an edited version of cities. We highlight the most exotic, beautiful, thrilling aspects of a place, forget about the mundane elements, and make low points comical or at least softened. Nice was crowded but had beautiful light and extraordinary ice cream–I can see why painters were drawn to the place. Barcelona was full of steep hills–so steep that the slopes leading to Parc Guell had escalators built into the mountainsides, have you ever heard of something so ridiculous? As important as it often is to remember that many things are multifaceted, filled with good and bad, and mundane and exceptional, I wonder if we would all still have the will to keep travelling if the cities we love didn’t have to undergo the editing processes of storytellers and artists.

2 Responses to “Seeing Skylines”
  1. designgush says:

    Love the work from Laura Amiss. Very charming indeed.

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