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Top world cities 2023 - an artist’s perspective

Top world cities 2023 - an artist’s perspective

World landmarks illustration by South Island Art
Using Resonance Consultancy’s annual report of the world’s best cities 2023 (the top 100 cities to live, work and invest in), this post explores how 10 out of the top 25 locations have influenced my art.

1 London
View of London skyline from Southbank
South-London-Art-Prints-Gallery-Wall
South London Art

Gallery wall of North London prints above grey sofa
North London Art


Abstract London In Colour original painting

My home city is a daily source of inspiration, both central and local locations. It's the ever-changing skyline; the contrasting architecture from the Norman Tower of London to today’s modern skyscrapers and stadiums; the buzz of new places to eat and drink; the sheer amount of museums and galleries; the parks and green spaces. My London art is both representational and abstract - the majority of my collections are London-themed or influenced in some way.

More London inspiration:
Richmond Park in winter with the words My Top five London parks
An artist’s favourite London parks

Set of 3 London museum art prints on pale blue wall
Art prints inspired by... favourite London museums

city of London park
City tree trail - great London walks

2 Paris
Looking down on city of Paris with Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower Paris art print in stylish bedroom
Eiffel Tower, Paris art print

Although many years since I last visited, the city’s mark on my art remains. From a sense of romance and history to art everywhere; the elegance of the crisp, manicured formal gardens and beautiful parks to the architecture - all have definitely fed into my geometric style and use of colour.

3 New York
New York Skyscrapers from Central Park
Chrysler-New-York-Art-Print-above-teal-armchair
Chrysler Building

Central-Park-New-York-Art-Print-above-bed
Central Park, New York

Empire State Art Print beside grey bed
Empire State Building

The backdrop to so many films and tv series, there is inspiration everywhere! The first time I went was part of my uni course and after we had to produce a graphic design piece inspired by our visit. I chose to do a magazine spread on seeing the city from the perspective of film and tv locations - I did a TV & Movie tour with one of my best friends whilst out there and it was SO much fun. It was exhilarating walking around, feeling like you were in the land of giants from the scale of the skyscrapers and seeing places in real life that you’d only dreamt about. My illustration of the iconic Chrysler building remains one of my bestsellers.

6 Barcelona
View of Barcelona from Park Guell
A city I’ve visited more than any other through chance and opportunity, each visit has brought with it a different experience. Antoni Gaudí’s architecture and colour palettes are probably the strongest influences the city has had on me. Sagrada Familia is without a doubt the most incredible Church I’ve stepped inside, with a meaning behind every single bit of detail. Mesmerising shapes and thoughtful detailing combined with a joyful use of colour - all elements I want my pieces to have.

Coming soon: The places I loved in 4 days in Barcelona - an artist’s perspective

7 Rome
View of Rome with Colosseum
Atmospheric with that overwhelming sense of ancient history all around you; mouth-watering food in unexpected places. We visited in Autumn and the gorgeous light and hues inspire my colour palettes - especially the golden yellows and forest greens we came across.

See the colours we found in my 5 Must-see places in Rome

8 Madrid
Retiro Park Madrid
Beautiful buildings everywhere you look - I couldn’t stop photographing them! The shapes and details we stumbled upon along with the autumnal colours of Retiro park and the botanical gardens were stunning. Not to mention The Prado - full of old masterpieces that have inspired modern-day books and films.

Coming soon: My Highlights of Madrid in 2 days

9 Singapore
Marina-Bay-Sands-Singapore-at-night
I sometimes feel homesick for this island nation, which was home for a large part of my childhood. Incredible people; amazing food everywhere - (a hawker stall has a Michelin star); the tropical climate and beautiful gardens; skyscrapers contrasted against neighbourhoods full of colour. This city’s influence on me goes way beyond art.

Discover the highlights and colours of Singapore

13 Chicago
Skyline of Chicago Skyscrapers from Millennium Park
Chicago Art Print in living room
Chicago, The Windy City Art Print

The biggest source of inspiration that I found in Chicago was the shapes and textures of its eclectic yet harmonious architecture. I would definitely recommend going on an architectural tour if you visit - there is so much to discover. The Chicago Art Institute is also amongst my favourite museums - whilst too much to see in one day, the 20th Century art collection is breathtaking, with many of the artists that have inspired me, especially the Impressionists.

Must-see Chicago

14 San Francisco
View of San Francisco skyline from Alamo Square
San Francisco Landmarks art print above cabinet
The hills and views; the neighbourhoods; the food - we barely scratched the surface in our short time in the city. The colours all around the city, especially what I think of as ice-cream hues, have been making an appearance throughout my art since we went!

San Francisco in 4 days

24 Toronto
CN Tower and Toronto skyline in background seen from Toronto Islands beach
Toronto art print above wooden chest
Toronto Art Print

Sprawling, welcoming and vibrant - I pretty much fell in love with the city at first sight. Our trip was not long after I started South Island Art, and I think the biggest influence on my art has been the connections between man-made and nature, something I have been exploring more and more.

More Toronto inspiration
Toronto skyline across Lake Ontario
How to spend 5 days in Toronto, Canada

Birds flying over Toronto islands
A Toronto day trip: The Toronto Islands

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara
Niagara Falls - a day trip from Toronto
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