Self-thought Italian artist Pietro Cataudella is best known for his project called City Live Sketch. The ongoing art series kicked off in the summer of 2014 with him drawing architectural structures in his sketchbook and photographing them in front of the actual landmarks he illustrated. In 2016, Cataudella started to get more creative by merging his sketches and pictures seamlessly using Photoshop. And in 2018, he began creating architectural 3D drawings that seem to jump from his mini sketchpad like a pop-up book. But City Live Sketch isn’t all about architecture and scenery, as Cataudella also incorporates playful sketches of pop culture icons to his photographs once in a while. Click through the slideshow below to see some of his best mixed media art pieces.
#1 Darth Vader
The arched entrance to a highly ornate structure in Westminster, England completes Cataudella’s impressive drawing of Darth Vader’s helmet. While we don’t exactly know the name of the building, the upper portion of its overly elaborate passageway perfectly complements the top part of the Star Wars villain’s headgear.
Though born in Sicily, Italy, Cataudella is now living in Pisa, where this photograph was taken. Featuring a sketch of Popeye squeezing a can of spinach, this mixed media art was put together in a way where the crown of a tree serves as the content of the canned food.
Cataudella transformed this scenic neighborhood in Gaeta, Italy into the popular arcade game Pac-Man. Taken in December 2017, this photograph features a huge Christmas fortune cookie decor that looks like Pac-Man. The resemblance between the two appears to be the inspiration for this Pac-Man-themed artwork, which also includes a sketch of in-game dots and cherries as well as digital illustrations of ghosts Pinky, Inky, and Clyde.
#4 Marge Simpson
The famed Leaning Tower of Pisa completes Marge Simpson’s iconic beehive-like hairstyle in this charming mixed media art. The photograph of Pisa Cathedral’s freestanding bell tower blends flawlessly with the drawing of the Simpsons matriarch, easily making this artwork one of Cataudella’s most unforgettable creations.
#5 Cheshire Cat
This clever artwork uses one of the suspenders of London’s Tower Bridge to stand in as the mouth and teeth of Cheshire Cat from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. With the help of Photoshop, Cataudella was able to position his sketch of the character in the perfect spot of the photograph, capturing his desired final look of the artwork.
#6 Infinity Gauntlet
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is wearing Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet in this quirky mixed media art, which features a highly detailed sketch of the powerful Uru glove that is made more magical by the vivid colors emanating from the six Infinity Stones. While the smooth fusion of the drawing and the photograph makes the artwork magnificent to look at, it still gives off an unsettling vibe because of that infamous snap.
#7 Heart-shaped balloons
This photo of the so-called Lover’s Cave in Syracuse, Italy is made more captivating with the addition of a cute digital sketch of a guy inflating a number of heart-shaped balloons. While the photograph of the scenic view is already breathtaking by itself, the cute drawing adds a story to the picture and makes the tourist spot a beautiful place to fall in love.
#8 Coloring book
The small town of Manarola in Northern Italy becomes a massive coloring book in this mixed media art that features a sketch of a faceless man coloring the historic buildings on top of a cliff. To create an impression that the character has more structures left to paint, Cataudella ingeniously changed the color of the rightmost portion of the town to black and white, adding an extra texture to the artwork in the process.
Titled the Flourising Tower of Pisa, this artwork features a colored sketch of a rose sticking out from a photograph of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The bright colors of the plant’s petals and leaves match the vibrant hue of the sky, making the mixed media art so fascinating to look at. Adding a touch of cuteness to the spectacle is a drawing of a bumblebee happily buzzing around the flower.
Cataudella was probably hungry when he got the idea for this funny artwork featuring a realistic sketch of a baguette that merges seamlessly with a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Though the drawing of the popular French bread is black and white, the way depth is rendered in the illustration gives an impression that the baked goody has a tasty crispy crust.
#11 Paint brush
Featuring a picture of a meadow in Tuscany, Italy that blends seamlessly with a drawing of a giant paint brush, this artwork looks like a screenshot from a fantasy movie, in which the real world has a parallel universe where everything is in sketch form.
#12 Giant clam
This digital art features a sketch of a giant clam that lights up a photo of a dark alley in Bussana Vecchia, Italy. The drawing of the clam with a pearl inside is photoshopped into the image in a way where the upper valve of the mollusk is made complete by a reinforcement arch connecting two structures. Bussana Vecchia is a former ghost town. Abandoned due to an earthquake in 1887, it was renovated by an international community of artists in the early 1960s who added reinforcement arches and columns to buildings that survived the disaster.
#13 Old wooden ship
Featuring a stunning photo of a beach cave in the Italian hamlet of Marzamemi, this digital art takes spectators several centuries back in time with a sketch of an old wooden ship seemingly docked on the seashore. A drawing of a message in a bottle is also incorporated into the artwork, which adds a dreamy vibe to the creation.
#14 Jaguar XE
Commissioned by Jaguar Italia, this paid artwork showcases the car maker’s Jaguar XE model. A fusion of traditional drawing, photography, and graphics editing, this mixed media art presents a flashy red version of the vehicle in a fun and striking way.
Taken at Caffe Concerto Paszkowski in Florence, Italy, this photograph of a glass of Negroni has an animated feel to it, thanks to the cartoonish colored sketch that Cataudella photoshopped into the image. Garnished with orange peel, Negroni is an Italian cocktail that is part gin, part vermouth rosso, and part Campari.
#16 Open field
Cataudella turns a simple photo of an open field into a masterpiece by flawlessly blending it with a sketch of the same scenery that evokes feelings of freedom and infinite possibilities. The white and blue colors of the sky, meanwhile, add a touch of peace and serenity to the artwork.
#17 Ponte Coperto
A stone and brick arch bridge over the Ticino River in Pavia, Italy, Ponte Coperto was a replacement for the 1354 bridge Ponte Vechhio that was heavily damaged in 1945 during World War II. When Ponte Vechhio partially collapsed in 1947, the town of Pavia decided to construct a completely new bridge that they eventually called Ponte Coperto. Like its predecessor, Ponte Coperto also bears a chapel. However, it only features five arches, while Ponte Vechhio had seven.
#18 Trevi Fountain
The largest Baroque fountain in Rome, Italy, Trevi Fountain is the monument that impressed and fascinated Cataudella the most. Finished in 1762 and most recently restored in 2015, the structure has been featured in several notable films, including 2003’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie, in which the title character tossed a coin into it, wishing for a smooth sailing high school life.
#19 Genoa Cathedral
Dedicated to Saint Lawrence, Genoa Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Genoa in Italy. Though it was constructed between the 12th century and the 14th century as a medieval building, the structure’s secondary naves and side covers are of Romanesque style while its main facade is Gothic.
#20 Notre-Dame de Paris
Posted by Cataudella on Instagram a few days before Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire in April 2019, this “3D Live Sketch” of the Catholic cathedral honors the 13th-century structure that is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The church is currently being rebuilt exactly as it appeared before the fire. The reconstruction is expected to be completed by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
#21 Raccolte Frugone
Located inside the 18th-century Grimaldi Fassio Villa, Raccolte Frugone is an art museum that houses collections of paintings, drawings and sculptures by numerous Italian and foreign artists that were active in the period between the second half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century. The artworks were donated by the brothers Luigi and Lazzaro Gio Batta Frugone in 1935 and 1953.
#22 State Historical Museum of Russia
Wedged between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow, the State Historical Museum of Russia was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin, Aleksey Uvarov and several other Slavophiles interested in promoting Russian history and national self-awareness. The building has a Moscow Baroque style and houses relics of prehistoric tribes that lived on the territory of present-day Russia, priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty, and many others.
#23 Pisa Baptistery of St. John
Pisa Baptistery of St. John is the largest baptistery in Italy. Designed by Diotisalvi, the structure has a combination of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The building’s lower section is in the Romanesque style, with rounded arches, while the upper sections are in the Gothic style, with pointed arches.
#24 Florence Cathedral
Structurally completed in 1436, Florence Cathedral was built in the Gothic style based on the original design by Arnolfo di Cambio. The structure now features an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade designed by Emilio De Fabris, as well as the world’s largest brick dome that was engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.
#25 Eiffel Tower
Located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable structures in the world, so it isn’t surprising to know that Cataudella created a “3D Live Sketch” version of the architectural icon. Named after engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower, Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in the capital of France.