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Elle Decor Italia


di Elledecor.it editorial staff

The daily diary of Elledecor.it kept by the editorial staff. To discover previews, protagonists and trends in the world of design and interiors. 

04 November 2016

Neal Peterson’s modern mandalas in a series of six miniaturized cities

With his Urban Mandalas project the American artist and graphic designer offers a brand-new portrayal of 6 different capital cities

Neal Peterson

A sophisticated work of digital graphics, Neal Peterson’s Urban Mandalas are collages made up of hundreds of photos which were taken within the actual urban areas they represent. In this photo: Mexico City


Neal Peterson’s modern mandalas are deeply rooted in a centuries-old tradition, a real and beloved art form that has been transmitting for centuries different geometrical representations of the universe. In the Eastern tradition they are a symbol of the initiatory journey into life’s mystery. Drawing inspiration from this concept, the American artist has created the Urban Mandalas project: through a painstaking photomontage work which involved the most cutting edge digital techniques, Peterson has put together six big collages dedicated to 6 different capital cities worldwide.


Instead of interweaving threads on a loom or applying differently colored drawing powders to a pattern on the floor, each one of these compositions employs hundreds of miniaturized photos, taken within the urban areas they represent. Neal Peterson has roamed the streets of the six capital cities recording the evolution of their architectures along with their natural elements and a myriad of other details that usually escape our perception.


Thanks to his training as graphic designer Peterson has composed six different, colorful mandalas using pixels instead of sand grains to visually convey the uniqueness of each location. The result is a series of stunning reproductions of each single urban microcosm including, to this day, Chicago, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Pyongyang, Reykjavik and Vancouver.

Just as with traditional sand mandalas, the contemplation of these fascinating, kaleidoscopic patterns enhances concentration and inspires further meditation. An experience Neal Peterson has offered his fellow-citizens in Minneapolis, where the Mandala especially dedicated to this city has become an urban-sized installation with the financial support of the Minnesota State Arts Board in July 2016. Peterson’s artwork, printed in a 5 m diameter version, has been set on the ground next to the City Center, where visitors had the opportunity to enjoy it in all of its infinite details.


by Laura Pastorino / 4 November 2016


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