Nature of Design: Amazing Art Seen From Above

Whether you’re looking down from an airplane or virtually soaring in the air using programs like Google Earth, the landscape looks different altogether from a vertical viewpoint. Sometimes eerie faces or figures can be seen in natural formations, and sometimes artists create works from trees, rocks, sand or water specifically hoping to be seen from above. Other artists even take images snapped from the sky and turn it into clever collages.

Area 51 Face

(image via:

Maybe it’s John Travolta in Battlefield Earth. Maybe it’s just sand. But one thing’s for sure: the fact that this eerily detailed, alien-looking face was found in Area 51 is a mighty strange coincidence. Slanted brows, eyes, nose, a goateed chin and a startlingly large forehead are clear as day in this curious Google Earth find.

Google Earth Alphabet

(image via: BoingBoing)

Graphic designer Rhett Dashwood spent six months exploring landscapes using Google Earth in search of shapes that form letters and punctuation. The result is a full alphabet entirely composed of Google Earth images. A software engineer named Jesse Vig followed suit and created an interactive website called that allows users to create custom Google Earth messages.

Man-Shaped Lake, Brazil

(image via: Google Maps)

Located just outside Bauru, Brazil, this artificial man-shaped lake (-21.805149,-49.089977) is definitely an eye-catcher when viewed from above using Google Earth.

Vitruvian Man, Germany

(image via: silvery)

Not all crop art seeks to convince people of an alien presence. This living landscape art found in Munchen, Germany imitates one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous works, ‘The Vitruvian Man’. Such large-scale crop art is typically created using pre-planned planting patterns.

Dinosaur Lake, Croatia

(image via: metacafe)

In Zagreb, Croatia (45.78231, 16.024332) there’s a seemingly man-made lake that resembles nothing so much as a gigantic, long-necked dinosaur – tall and all.

Yin-Yang, China

(image via: Google Maps)

Near the Great Wall of China, just outside the city of Changping, there’s a large crop circle shaped like a yin-yang symbol. Well, perhaps not a “crop circle” exactly – it’s more like crop art. In fact, China is one of only two countries where crop circles of the sort that are attributed to extraterrestrials have never been reported.

Nazca Lines Monkey

(image via: famous wonders)

Why did the Nazca people of Peru go through so much trouble 2,000 years ago to create gigantic landscape art that could only be seen from the sky – long before planes were invented? Perhaps we’ll never know, but they’re certainly fascinating. The monkey shown above is just one of hundreds of designs, which also include a hummingbird, trees, hands, spiders and fish.

Dragon Head, Canada

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Amid the sunny valley landscape of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada is this dragon head that looks like it came straight out of a sci-fi movie – complete with nostrils, an eye and a mouth.

Badlands Guardian, Canada

(image via: Google Maps)

The dragon head isn’t the only striking image found in the terrain of Alberta. This bust of a man, wearing what looks like a feather headdress, is known to locals as ‘The Badlands Guardian’. Although it looks like it’s made up of mountains, it’s actually a valley caused by erosion of soft, clay-rich soil by wind and water.

Obama Sand Art, Spain

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Spanish artist Jorge Rodrigues Gerada created this 2.5 acre sand portrait of President Obama in 2008. Called ‘Expectations’, the work alluded to the global optimism that followed Obama’s historic election.

‘The Sun as a Face’, Denmark

(image via: Google Sightseeing)

Over a century ago, Danish author Hans Christian Anderson doodled a strange image onto a piece of paper and called it ‘The Sun as a Face’. Little did he know that many years later, his drawing would be turned into an odd man-made forest. The city of Odense, Denmark then went on to plaster the design all over the place in honor of the bicentenary of the author’s birth.

Imaginary Google Earth Landscape

(image via: DrGlass)

Where other artists have created landscape art for Google Earth, Deviant Art user DrGlass actually created an imaginary landscape using visually captivating Google Earth elements. The result looks like an alien city packed with farms, parking lots and interlaced highways to nowhere.

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