Check Out These Breathtaking Urban Landscapes Made Out Of Wood Scraps

The City Series’ skylines aren’t depicting any one city, but still offer a great vision of what an urban landscape can look like.

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, James McNabb was inspired by the Manhattan skyline; it provided a glimpse of the bustling city that lay just a short car (or train) ride away. McNabb, a skilled woodworker, turned that inspiration into art with the City Series, a set of wood sculptures made with a bandsaw and scrap wood that “represent[s] a woodworker’s journey from the suburbs to the city,” according to the artist’s Kickstarter page.


McNabb’s series launched less than a year ago while the artist was getting a master’s degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Today, the series includes a skyline, a city sphere, a table, and a wheel. McNabb admits that the skylines are based on what he has seen in the real world. But, he says, “I’ve tried to purposefully keep it kind of abstract so it’s not really recognizable. I’m not out to make architectural models, per se.”

The City Series represents McNabb’s feelings about the overarching vibe of competitiveness and promise of success in cities. “It’s like my comfort zone to get into a woodshop and make stuff, and it’s always been a challenge for me to find that kind of success I’m after in the city,” he explains. “This is sort of my way of taking control of the situation.”

McNabb’s full-blown City Series pieces aren’t for everyone; only a limited set of art lovers have the space and cash for big city sculptures. So the woodworker launched a Kickstarter to “break off a piece [of the City Series] for people who want to be a part of it.” Pay $10 and you’ll get a single building. Have more money to spare? McNabb has more buildings. The biggest reward–125 buildings–comes with a $475 pledge.

Check out the rest of McNabb’s work here.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.