Skywalking – Russia’s Thrilling but Dangerous Photo Craze

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Skywalking is the latest photography craze among Russian teens. The idea is to be able to find a really high building, climb to the very top and stand at its very edge, imagining you’re on the top of the world. Then, you take photographs from up there to post on the internet. The teens participating in this form of skywalking do so without any sort of safety equipment. Needless to say, they enjoy it very much.

19-year-old Marat Dupri is one such teenager who engages in skywalking. He risks his life quite casually, scaling sky-high buildings and capturing photographs of the world below. It was about 18 months ago that he purchased a camera and started to take pictures from his own roof. But soon, he was aiming for bigger and better ones. Accompanied by a friend, he scaled a 33-storey building to the very top going right to the very edge of the 120 m high structure. According to him, “It was such a thrill; we couldn’t wait to do it again.” And they didn’t. One of the shots shows the group of teenagers scaling one of Russia’s seven Soviet skyscrapers, using a ladder. In another one, his friend is perched at the side of a monument to Peter I, 215 m in the air. There are even photos from atop the Moscow tower, one of the highest buildings in Europe. Dupri and his friends say they’ve taken a lot of photos by sneaking past guards and getting access to structures illegally. He thinks the risks are definitely worth it to take such amazing pictures. “When I am on the roof I have a feeling that the whole world is at my feet. All my problems and troubles are left somewhere down. The height exilarates me. I am enjoying with my home town views. It gives me energy and fills with enthusiasm to make new and great shots,” he says.

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Head Injury Turns College Dropout into Math Genius with a Beautiful Mind

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Sometimes it takes a good, hard knock in the head to start seeing things right. In the case of Jason Padgett, he started to see more than just right. He began to see complex mathematical formulae everywhere he looked, after a head injury. For now, the 41-year-old works behind the counter of a futon store in Tacoma, Washington, but surely not for long. His genius is bound to lead him elsewhere in life.

Interestingly, for his level of intelligence Jason has no college degree, let alone a PhD. He doesn’t even have a background in math; just 10 years ago he was a very different person. Interested only in working out and partying, Jason had no idea his life was about to change forever as he walked out of a karaoke club in Tacoma. A group of muggers attacked and brutally assaulted him, kicking him several times in the head. “All I saw was a bright flash of light and the next thing I knew I was on my knees on the ground and I thought, ‘I’m going to get killed,’” he says. But he didn’t. Instead, he got the best gift he could ever hope for.

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Japanese Artist Invents New Way of Peeling Tangerines

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Yoshihiro Okada has become a popular country in his native country of Japan, after he developed an ingenious way of peeling tangerines, six years ago. It might sound like an arid subject, but the Japanese author has already published two books on peeling tangerines, and even launched a DVD version.

If you’ve been throwing away orange and tangerine peels all this time, then you’ve been missing out on a very fun way to make figurines for your little ones. Using a lot of imagination and a sharp blade, Yoshihiro Okada has been creating detailed figurines out of citrus fruits. It all started six years ago, when he noticed the peel he had removed from a tangerine looked a little like a scorpion. Most everyone else would have probably smiled and moved on with their lives, but not Yoshihiro. He spent the next two weeks buying loads of tangerines and practicing his peeling technique until he got his scorpion just right.

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Guy Makes Life-Size Mummy Out of McDonald’s Food

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Ben Campbell, a dude who refers to himself as “some kind of artist from west Texas”, sent us these photos of a life-size mummy he created out of about $200 worth of McDonald’s food.

You’re probably thinking Ben needs a better hobby, but you have to remember he’s not just some guy with nothing better to do, he’s some kind of artist, so he has a pretty good explanation for creating his unique McDonald’s food mummy. Apparently, for the last couple of months, Campbell has been working on an art show to highlight the connection between ancient Egypt and modern society, and his meat mummy is the centerpiece. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it and Ben himself explains that “ancient Egypt was obsessed with achieving immortality through customs that included mummification and the construction of pyramids. Modern society is likewise obsessed with achieving a from of immortality through our own customs that include pursuing celebrity status and constructing corporations.” And since McDonald’s is one of the world’s biggest corporations… See the connection?

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Delicious Street Art – Sugar Icing Murals by Shelley Miller

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Montreal-based artist Shelley Miler uses sugar and edible blue paint to create incredibly detailed murals on the side of buildings. Her works are influenced by the cultures of the places in which she’s creating, and although they look as durable as ordinary murals, they simply wash away at first rain.

Looking at Shelley Miller’s artworks for the first time, you’d think they were carved in stone, but in reality the talented artist just applies cake icing using a common pastry bag and paints them with edible blue paint. Trained at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Concordia University, Miller has experienced with a variety of art mediums, ranging from sand to marble, but always found herself returning to sugar. She also spent some time decorating cakes during her university days, but quickly moved on to bigger and better things, and now she is internationally-known for her unique street art sugar murals.

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Fascinating Portraits Made Out of Thousands of Tiny Photographs

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Inspired by the fact that every person has multiple facets that combined form his or her personality, Swiss artist Anna Halm Schudel creates original portraits by piecing together thousands of small photographs.

The mosaic portraits of Anna Halm Schudel assemble in a similar way to puzzles. After choosing the subject of her artwork, the artist goes online and looks for photos of the past or present celebrity and starts reworking the digital images in a very complex process. She usually works with just a section of each image, making sure the formats and tones match the general line of the portrait she envisioned. Each of the small photos used as mosaic pieces measures just one square centimeter and only become visible when the viewer approaches to take a closer look at the work of art. At first glance, people see another portrait of Barack Obama, Scarlet Johannsson or Marilyn Monroe, but soon, the big surprise behind the giant pixilation is revealed.

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6 Talented Artists Who Paint with Coffee

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We’ve done several stories of artists painting with mediums like wine and coffee. Coffee paintings in particular, convey the rich brown tones associated with the beverage, which leads to the creation of  unique, very beautiful images. So brew yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and join us as we take you through the works of some world-famous coffee painters.

Coffee Art

Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur, together call themselves the Coffee Artists. For over a decade, they have been painting with coffee and have managed to develop a unique technique of layering coffee on the canvas . Their works include paintings of ordinary, everyday objects, portrayed in the rich hues of the coffee bean. Interestingly, a lot of their paintings have coffee cups, pots and beans in them. The two definitely seem to have a thing for the dark beverage.

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The Incredible Wire Mesh Portraits of Seung Mo Park

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Korean artist Seung Mo Park creates cuts up layers of wire mesh by hand, to create some of the most beautiful large-scale portraits you’ve ever seen. These true sculptural masterpieces are part of Park’s latest series, called Maya.

In the past, we’ve featured several extraordinary artists who work with layers to create their art, and Seung Mo Park is right up there with the best of them. Although he uses a projection of the image he’s trying to replicate, as reference, the precision with which he cuts each little piece of wire mesh is nothing short of impressive. Just so you understand the kind of skill required to pull off something like this, it’s important that you know each of his portraits is made up of several layers of wire mesh set a few centimeters apart, each sculpted by hand. The understanding of depth perception and the patience necessary to complete just one of these amazing works of art is simply awe-inspiring.

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Impressive Portrait Made with 750 Pairs of Socks

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Hong Yi, aka “Red”, has already achieved Internet fame for her amazing works, a portrait of Yao Ming created with a basketball, and one of singer Jay Chou made by spilling coffee, but she keeps producing mind-blowing masterpieces. Her latest project is a detailed portrait made with 750 pairs of socks.

The beautiful Shanghai-based artist decided to pay tribute to Chinese film director Yimou Zhang by creating a large-scale monochromatic portrait of him with socks. She first got the idea for her unique work of art while strolling on a tiny alleyway in Shanghai. It was filled with clotheslines made of bamboo sticks with various clothing items hanging above her, and she remembers being surprised to find such a traditional side of life in a modern, bustling city like Shanghai. The unusual art medium is also a connection to Yimou Zhang who uses bamboo sticks in his period films, as well as in the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony he directed.

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The Chalk Masterpieces of Rustam Valeev

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Rustam Valeev is a 20-year-old street artist from the city of Sterlitamak, Russia. Using simple pieces of white chalk, he is able to create incredibly detailed portraits right on the pavement of his home city.

Doodling with chalk was one of my favorite pastimes, as a kid. I remember I spent hours trying to draw simple things like people, butterflies, or animals, but my works never looked as good as what Rustam Valeev creates. In fact, the only other person I know who can create such realistic artworks is Paul Cadden, who renders photo-realistic masterpieces with graphite and chalk. But while Paul draws on paper, Rustam practices his skills on rough pavement. Although his street art hasn’t been featured by any important Western media outlets, his beautiful portraits have gone viral on some of the most popular sites in Russia.

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Tuvan Throat Singing – A Unique Mongolian Tradition

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As with any other piece of music, it is quite impossible to describe through words what exactly Tuvan throat singing is. I could try to explain to you the physics of how it is done, but then you could always get that information from Wikipedia. I could try to explain what it sounds like, but then you could just listen to it on YouTube. Oh, and while you are on YouTube, please don’t go by Sheldon Cooper’s version of it from The Big Bang Theory. It is funny, but it is in no way the real thing.

Tuvan music is at best described as a variant of overtone singing. Its beauty lies in its traditional, rustic melody and it exudes an old-world charm. That’s not surprising, given the fact that this form of music dates very far back in history. A music that came into being purely out of culture and geographic location, the ancient Tuvans used to look for specific spots to practice it. Given the open landscape of Tuva, sounds are carried a great distance. Singers often travel far into the countryside, in search of the right river or mountainside for the environment that throat singing requires. Sounds like a beautiful way to blend music and nature.

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The Mind-Blowingly Realistic Wine Paintings of Thomas Arvid

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If you’ve been hanging around Oddity Central for a while, you probably know I have a thing for hyperrealism. I find it amazing how some artists can simply guide a paintbrush to create photograph-like artworks that almost always fool the naked eye.

Case in point, Thomas Arvid, a self-taught painter who creates wine-related paintings that look like professional high-resolution photos. In the past, we’ve featured amazing works by talented artists the likes of Alyssa Monks or Denis Peterson, but Arvid’s creations really are unlike any I’ve ever seen. His incredibly realistic compositions of wine completely redefine still life and put the Marietta-based artist at the forefront of the hyperrealist art movement. Thomas’ mastery of light, depth and reflection, as well as his ability to capture a traditional subject like wine in a completely new style have brought him international acclaim.

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Artist Turns Confiscated Scissors into Creepy Spider Sculptures

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Every year, the Transportation Security Administration confiscates countless objects deemed dangerous from passengers boarding flights at airport terminals across the US. Apart from guns, knives or aerosol, a lot of scissors end up in their recycling bin. Enter Christopher Locke, an artist who figured out he could actually use scissors to create creepy sculptures of spiders.

It’s a known fact that spiders don’t have many human fans. Most people just think they look creepy and would simply squish them given the opportunity, even if they don’t pose a real threat. But, that’s not really a viable option when talking about the scissors spiders of Christopher Locke. You’d have a hard time stomping on one of them without having your foot pierced by sharp metal, so you just kind of have to accept them. Reminiscent of a classic Tim Burton movie, these metal sculptures are created from disassembled scissors, bent into shape and welded together in the creepy shape of spiders.

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Mind-Blowing Charcoal Mural Is a Finger-Painting Masterpiece

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Fingers are definitely not the weirdest thing we’ve seen artists paint with (just check out this tongue painter and the girl who paints with gravity) but I had no idea someone could use their fingertips to create such detailed work.

We first featured Judith Braun’s finger paintings a few months ago, but while her artworks were beautiful then, she hadn’t created anything as impressive as this latest charcoal mural. I mean, looking at the photos below, can you believe she painted exclusively with her fingertips? The 12-foot by 48-foot masterpiece was created using Braun’s signature technique, which basically involves her covering her fingertips with ground charcoal and guiding them across the canvas. Entitled Diamond Dust, this magnificent piece is Judith Braun’s largest site-specific project to date.

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Chinese Artist Lives on a Scale to Lose Weight in Public

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Chinese artist Wang Jun is going to be spending a whole month at the Yitel and Yi Hotel in Beijing. Not in any of the luxury rooms, but as a display piece in an art project called “Keep Fit Deal – 15”.  He’s going to be spending the whole time on an electronic weighing scale, not even leaving to eat, drink or use the restroom. A live video stream will be tracking his every move, broadcasting it online. Wondering why in the world he would do such a thing? Well, I found it kind of confusing myself, but it appears that he’s trying to accomplish several things at once. The most important, of course, being weight loss.

Wang Jun says he’s 15 jin (that’s about 7.5kg) overweight and he’d like to lose it all in the public eye. So people can always see on the scale how much he’s lost (or gained). Well, the lack of movement alone will make it hard for him to lose weight, but maybe he’s also planning to do some exercise right on the scale. Apart from shedding the extra pounds, he is also interested in using his body as a media outlet. He wants to experience the physical and psychological limits of connecting with a public space. Jun calls his experiment ‘artistic’. Now, that just makes me laugh, how people can call sitting put for a whole month, art. But according to Jun, his project is of an ascetic nature, intended to highlight the social realities of greed and pleasure-seeking, while criticizing the craze in society for the ‘so called-popular’ things.

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