Amateur Artist Turns Apartment Building into Urban Art Gallery

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Dmitry Bochkarev, an amateur artist, from Moscow, Russia, has turned an ugly communist-era apartment building into a colorful art gallery, by covering the walls, staircases and doors with various painted artworks.

While most graffiti artists sneak around to find places where they can exercise their artistic talents, amateur artist Dmitry Bochkarev asked people’s permission before he began painting on their walls and doors. It all began 17 years ago, after Dmitry experienced clinical death. He had a vivid dream that helped him discover his talent for painting, and from then on he started painting the inside of his apartment building, in Moscow’s  Biryulyovo district. Until then, the place was just a grey reminder of the Soviet era, and a victim of littering and ugly graffiti. But once colorful cartoon scenes and nature-inspired landscapes started appearing on the walls, it all stopped. Not even vandals have had the heart to ruin Bochkarev’s artworks, and neighbors say it’s the best thing that ever happened to their community. Residents started smiling to each other again, and they became so proud of their art-covered building that they even organize viewing tours for friends and family.


Jeweler Creates Mechanical Creepy Crawlers from Watch Parts and Light Bulbs

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JM Gershenson-Gates is a Chicago-based jeweler who creates unique accessories from discarded watch parts, in a bid “to show the beauty of the mechanical world, a place generally hidden from the public behind metal and glass.”

On his website, Jason Gershenson-Gates says he has always been fascinated with mechanical things. The son of a “gearhead”, and the grandson of a railroad man, he used to always take apart his toys to see how they worked, but never seemed to be able to put them back together again. Nowadays, he takes apart old watches collected from all over the world and rearranges their parts into fantastic designs. Although his Mechanical Mind jewelry series is nothing short of awe-inspiring, in both size and design, it’s his latest series of mechanical insects that caught my eye. The idea of making miniature arthropods and insects out of watch parts and dead automotive light bulbs apparently came to him recently, after a jewelry show this past summer. He was experimenting with watch part anatomy when he decided to create fragile spider and insect legs. One thing led to another, and now Jason has an entire menagerie of incredibly detailed mechanical creepy crawlers.


Overcrowded Japanese Subway Inspires Original Photo Series

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Tokyo Compression is an ongoing photo series by German-born artist Michael Wolf that shows daily commuters with their faces pressed against the steamy windows of Japan’s overcrowded subway trains.

Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world. Tokyo, its capital city, and the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of over 35 million, living in an area just 8,000 square kilometers in size. As you can imagine, the cost of living in such a densely populated metropolis can be considered astronomical, and that forces a lot of people into neighboring areas, where housing is more affordable. The result of this phenomenon is a large number of commuters traveling into Tokyo for work and back home, on a daily basis. Although Japan’s capital is famous for its advanced transportation infrastructure, not even its punctual subway trains can handle the large number of people using them during rush hours. In order to fit them all in, the subway even has “passenger arrangement staff”, commonly known as “people pushers”, main goal is to cram as many people as possible into the subway tram. The white glove-wearing personal actually pushes people into the train, so the doors can shut. Seeing commuters’ faces pressed against the windows like sardines inspired Hong Kong- based photograph Michael Wold to create his Tokyo Compression photo series.


The Mind-Blowing Sand Paintings of Ilana Yahav

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Ilana Yahav is a world-famous Israeli sand animation artist who uses only her hands to create wonderful stories out of simple grains of sand. Her incredible videos have been watched by millions of people around the world.

Ever since she was a child, Ilana knew her destiny was tied to the art world, and she experimented with painting, sculpting other types of plastic art. But growing up on the shores of the Mediterranean, she was fascinated by sand. As a young girl, she would always visit the beach on her way to school, and draw a personal story on the sand. “I would draw quickly, trying to finish it all before the wave would come and wipe everything out,” the Israeli artist remembers. “I was totally spellbound. I would stand and watch until the drawing disappeared, realizing that everything is transient and temporary…” The ability to create a unique story using such a simple and natural medium as an exciting concept, so she decided to turn it into an art form.


Famous Paintings Recreated with a Clothes Iron Make One Cool Advertisement

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DDB Moscow, a creative ad studio from Russia, recently created a campaign for Dutch electronics maker Philips, in which it used the company’s new clothes iron and steamer to recreate a series of famous paintings. Didn’t think it was possible to paint with an iron? Think again!

The latest commercial for the Philips Azur GC4870 iron and the Philips ProTouch Steamer shows an artist making a series of folds with his hands and then using the new iron to fix them into place. As the video goes into fast forward, the simple piece of white cloth turns into a canvas for an original recreation of Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Then, once the masterpiece is complete, the artist uses the powerful steamer to clear all the folds and prepare the canvas for other famous Dutch masterpieces by artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt van Rijn. The whole commercial is just over a minute long, but I can only imagine how much time was really needed to painstakingly create every fold by hand, to make such detailed replicas. No wonder this Russian Philips ad was one of the most applauded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the most important competition in the world of advertising.


Artist Recreates LOTR Bag End with 2,600 Balloons

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If you think balloon animals are cool, this inflated replica of the Baggins family residence, from the Lord of the Rings, will probably blow you away. Famous balloon artist Jeremy Telford recently spent 40 hours recreating Bag End from 2,600 balloons.

We’ve featured some pretty cool balloon-made stuff here on Oddity Central, from balloon costumes, to life-size dinosaurs and even giant spiders, so this latest creation by Jeremy Telford is in good company. The talented artist from Pleasant Grove, Utah spent a whole weekend twisting balloons and tying them together, ultimately transforming his living room into a unique replica of Bag End, the famous Bagging residence, featured in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Sure it’s not as accurate as the one depicted in Peter Jackson’s movies, but I’d like to see anyone do a better job, using only balloons. Paying great attention to details, Telford created the actual Hobbiton smial, as well as interior accessories like the small candle chandelier, a cozy fireplace and all the furniture described by Tolkien in his books. In a comment left on The One Ring community website, Jeremy said: “I planned it out a little bit. I googled 18th English furniture styles to give me a platform to jump from. I read the Hobbit again (not a chore!) to gleen what I could of the description of Bag End. Then I did some initial sketches before starting the big build.”


Conrad Engelhardt’s Stained Wine Cork Paintings

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London-based artist F. Conrad Engelhrdt has set up an ingenious recycling scheme by collecting discarded wine corks from various restaurants around the English capital and using them to create unique paintings.

This isn’t the first time wine and corks have been used as art mediums. In the past we’ve featured artists who paint with wine, and other who turn simple corks into miniature masterpieces. F. Conrad Engelhardt uses both of them to create his wonderful paintings. He has partnered with a series of restaurants in Shoreditch, London, to collect their discarded wine corks and recycle them into beautiful pictures. Looking at his works, you’d be tempted to think Engelhardt uses paints to achieve certain color tones, but in reality he uses only the different shades of the corks and the wine stains on them. The secret lies in choosing the perfect corks and arranging them in the best possible way.


The Delicate Gourd Carving Art of Marilyn Sunderland

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Born and raised in Columbia, Missouri, Marilyn Sunderland is an artist in the finest sense of the word. She can take a common gourd and turn it into a spectacular work of art by carving all kinds of images onto its shell and enhancing them with her painting.

Seeing how this Halloween a lot of websites are focusing on pumpkin art, like that of sculpting master Ray Villafane, I thought I’d show you something a bit different. Meet Marilyn Sunderland, a wonderful artist who’s become known for her intricate gourd carvings. Drawings inspiration from the beautiful landscapes in the Utah valley surrounded my mountains, where she’s been living for the last 30 years, this incredible artist etches incredibly detailed shapes into the shell of gourds creating awe-inspiring masterpieces. “Art has always been a part of my life. I have painted portraits, landscapes, and various other subjects with oils, acrylics, and pen/ink mediums. I also do wood carving and glass engravings,” Marilyn says on her site. She only took up gourd sculpting a few years ago, after buying an ultra-speed carving/etching tool, because she thought it was a versatile material. Turns out it was the right decision.


The Awe-Inspiring Matchstick Architecture of Patrick Acton

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Patrick Acton is known as the world’s best matchstick artist for a reason. His extensive collection features scale wooden models of iconic film locations like Lord of the Rings’ Minas Tirith and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Wizardry, made from hundreds of thousands of matchsticks.

Acton was one of the first artist I wrote about, when I started Oddity Central, almost five years ago. He was working on one of his masterpieces, a detailed model of the famous fortress city Minas Tirith, as seen in the Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King, from 420,000 matchsticks. Since then, he’s built lots of other astonishing matchstick sculptures and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. The 59-year-old American artist, who works as a career counselor in Gladbrook, Iowa, started his career as a matchstick modeler back in 1977, when he pieced together a small-scale replica of a local church from 500 matches. He did it all with only Ohio Blue Tip matches purchased at the grocery store, a bottle of school glue, a utility knife, and a piece of sandpaper. He had always enjoyed working with wood and tinkering with things around his parent’s home, and after graduating from college, matchstick modelling became an enjoyable hobby. Although he has achieved worldwide notoriety for his mind-blowing creations, Patrick Acton continued to work as a counselor and dedicated only a few hours a night working on his fragile models. He recently accepted Ripley’s offer to build models for their Odditoriums, full time.


This Photo Is Actually a Pencil Perfect Drawing

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At just 22 years old, Italian artist Diego Fazo has developed the skill to create photo-realistic drawings using a simple charcoal pencil. His latest creation, pictured below, has drawn hundreds of positive comments on his Deviant Art profile.

Don’t tell me you can tell the image below is a drawing and not a high-definition photograph, because I don’t buy it. In fact people were so skeptical this incredible piece of art was drawn by hand that young Diego Fazo had to put up some photos of the work in progress just to lay doubts to rest. And looking at his-mind-blowing masterpiece, can you really blame people for  questioning it’s hand-drawn?

Like other talented artists who started their careers on Deviant Art, Diego is a self-taught pencil master whose technique matured with the passing of the years. He started out as a tattoo artist, and developed a passion for creating photo-realistic drawings. Inspired by the works of Japanese artists from the Edo period, like Katsushika Hokusai, he managed to capture people’s imaginations with his precise lines and oriental drawing techniques.


Cheesy Presidential Portraits Made from Cheetos

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Cheetos commissioned artist Jason Baalman to create portraits of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney out of their puffy orange snacks. Unveiled on October 3, the edible artworks measured 3 feet by 4 feet and numbered over 2,000 individual Cheetos.

Jason Baalman, who’s known for his portraits of celebrities created in alternative materials (ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.), is no stranger to Cheetos. In the past he has used the popular snack to make detailed portraits of pop icons like Conan O’Brien, CeeLo Green and Rachel Ray. This time, the PepsiCo-owned company asked him to do two portraits of the presidential candidates, based on two recent Facebook profile photos. Not one to say no to a challenge, Baalman started work on the the two “big cheeses” in his Colorado Springs, Colo., studio. Painstakingly sorting over 2,000 Cheetos for each portrait, and gluing them in just the right position on a black canvas, the young artist spent around 100 hours on the project. Just like his previous cheesy portraits, the ones of Obama and Romney look good enough to eat.


Beautiful “Paintings” Hide a Mind-Blowing Secret

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You’ve probably seen hundreds of nature-inspired paintings like the ones created by Russian artist Alexander Yurkov. But, although you can’t tell at first glance, his works are truly unique. In fact, they’re not even real paintings…

It’s a real shame awe-inspiring artworks like the ones created by Alexander Yurkov remain unknown to most of the western world, while other less impressive works get loads of attention on art and design sites and in famous galleries. This Russian master spent decades perfecting a technique he developed himself that involves creating painting-like mosaics exclusively out of dried leaves, grass and flowers. That’s right, there isn’t a single stroke of paint or pencil in the masterpieces below, only cleverly selected and positioned tree leaves, pieces of dried grass and withered flowers. How he manages to get the color tones and shades so perfect that it makes people stick their nose to the artworks trying to spot the actual leaves and making sure there’s no oil paint involved, is beyond me, but it’s this mystery that makes Yurkov’s art so intriguing.


Human Motorcycles Made from Body-Painted Yoga Gurus

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To promote the upcoming Progressive International Motorcycle Show, advertising and branding studio i.d.e.a. created a series of human motorcycles from the contorted bodies of yoga experts and circus performers.

We’ve seen impressive body-painting and displays of yoga skills before, but these human motorcycles are in a category of their own. “We sought to combine the art of the motorcycle with true art, thereby elevating the ads to something people would want to look at, enjoy, and share,” i.d.e.a. said about their unique project, and they’ve certainly achieved their goal. Photos and posters of their creations have gone viral on the Internet, and for good reason – they are simply spectacular. They employed the talents of professional body painted Trina Mery to turn a team of yoga experts, circus performers and flexible dancers into a speed bike, cruiser, and dirt bike to be ridden by the Progressive International Motorcycle Show’s host, Erin Bates. They did such a good job that in some photos you can’t even tell she’s just riding a bunch of people, not a real motorcycle.


Awesome Starry Night Mural Made from over 1,000 Doorknobs

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David Goldberg, the owner of a hardware store in Bethesda, Maryland, decided to repurpose his extensive collection of doorknobs and other door accessories by using them to recreate Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

It’s crazy how many people choose this specific artwork to unleash their artistic talents. So far, we’ve featured all kinds of Starry Night recreations, from a quilled version, to one made with spices and food colorings, and even an edible replica made from delicious bacon. This time we have another original version created from over 1,250 collected doorknobs. As a hardware store owner, David Goldberg put together an impressive collection of American and imported doorknobs and other door accessories, and instead of throwing them away, selling them for scrap or melting them he, decided to recycle them in a very artistic fashion and create a unique advertisement for his business at the same time. It took him four months, but he managed to build an amazing large-scale mural depicting Van Gogh’ famous Starry Night. Now people passing by his store in Bethesda, stop and stare at the glistening work of art, in awe of his original repurposing idea.


Illustrator Creates Incredibly Detailed Drawings Inside Matchbooks

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Jason D’Aquino is an expert miniaturist who unleashes his talent on all kinds of recycled objects, from ledgers, leaflets, vintage calendars to small pieces of paper and even tiny matchbooks. And to make sure everyone understands just how skilled he is, the man doesn’t do some simple doodles, he recreates the Mona Lisa, vintage movie portraits and even portraits of icons like Marilyn Monroe.

Drawing the kind of stuff Jason D’Aquino does is hard enough on a large canvas, but he manages to do it on the inside of matchbooks. Using high-magnification goggles, like those used by jewelers, the artist sketches incredible artworks only a few inches in size, sometimes even under an inch. The self-declared miniaturist seems to love small surfaces and has always enjoyed the challenge of seeing how small he can draw. As a child, he was always fascinated with his mother’s artworks, and says he had a pencil in his hand since before he could walk. Although he remained faithful to the graphite pencil, his art got smaller and smaller as he grew older. At first it was just a matter of convenience, but soon shrinking his art became a challenge. At the rate he’s going, he probably going to need a microscope pretty soon.


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