The Photo-Like Charcoal and Graphite Drawings of Robert Longo

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New York-based artist Robert Longo creates detailed charcoal drawings that look amazingly photo-like. If you thought your sketches were pretty good, wait till you see what this guy can do.

You know when you look at a photo and you say to yourself “this looks too good to be true”? Most of the time Photoshop is to blame, but Robert Longo decided to create his own black and white photographs, the hard way. Instead of a few mouse clicks, he uses charcoal, graphite and paper, spending hours-on-end to create incredibly realistic works of art. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out Longo is an exceptional artist, but he has captured the attention of the art world, and his works have been exhibited in galleries around the world.

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Jason de Graaf’s Works Look Like High-Resolution Photographs, But They’re Not

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Canadian artist Jason de Graaf creates hyperrealistic paintings that look more like carefully composed still-life photographs. We’ve featured many artist who can easily fool you into thinking their paintings are photos, but Jason de Graaf really is in a class of his own.

Just so you can understand how incredibly real de Graaf’s paintings look, you should know they’ve inspired the term “Magic Realism” as a description. The talented artist born in Montreal says: “My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, the illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface, filtered so that it expresses my unique vision. Though my paintings may appear photoreal my goal is not to reproduce or document faithfully what I see one hundred percent, but also to create the illusion of depth and sense of presence not found in photographs.”

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The Delicate Paper-Cutting Art of Hina Aoyama

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You’ve probably seen intricate paper-cut art before, but Hina Aoyama takes it to a whole new level by achieving an incredible level of detailed using only scissors.

Unlike other artists who use fine tools like an X-acto knife to create elaborate pieces of paper-cut art, Japanese-born Hina Aoyama only uses a pair of scissors and lots of patience. The Paris-based artist takes anywhere from a few hours to several months to complete her lace-like fragile masterpieces, as she needs to keep a steady hand and arm herself with patience throughout the whole creative process. Looking at her works, I can’t help but wonder if Hina has some kind of magical powers that help her cut out such delicate marvels, but the videos she made of her carving tiny paper details prove she’s just a very talented artist.

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Artist Makes Portraits of Famous People from Thousands of Words

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Ralph Ueltzhoefer probably took the saying “a picture is worth a thousands words” because he actually builds detailed images from thousands of written words.

The Mannheim-based German artist takes photos of celebrities from the Internet and recreates their portraits with words randomly-selected from Internet biographies, fragments of words and phrases, and Wikipedia articles that have come to define these famous people. Ueltzhoefer sets the white text line by line on the dark background, thus making a statement about how media defines our every day lives in a Web-centered world. His Textportraits are a symbiosis between text and photo, biography and portrait, a readable version of two different components.

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Velodrawings – Art Made with Bicycle Skid Marks

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Berlin-based Christian Grillitsch is a bicycle-drawing artist who creates beautiful and engaging artworks by skidding his bicycle wheel across the canvas.

Riding a bicycle is fun and healthy, but Austrian artist Christian Grillitsch has found a way to use this hobby to create some pretty unique works of art. Called “Velodrawings” his creations are skid marks left on white canvases. Sounds easy enough, and although we all like to wear out our tires like this, I doubt most of us can create the same stuff Grillitsch does. All he needs is white canvases, double sided tape to stick it to the floor, a bike, and the talent to skid at the right time without falling flat on his face.

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Ukrainian Painter Turns Communist Apartment Building Into an Inhabitable Art Gallery

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Communist-era apartment buildings from the former Soviet Union are some of the ugliest edifices in the world, but Ukrainian painter Valery Haroun managed to turn one of them into a marvelous art gallery.

The apartment building in Odessa, Ukraine looks pretty ordinary from afar, but as you draw near the entrance, you realize there’s something special about it. The building’s door has been painted to look like that of a palace, the bland concrete pillars look like old temple columns and there’s a mural of naked Aphrodite looking right at you. Pretty unusual, but we’ve all seen graffiti artworks on apartment buildings, right? But it’s actually the interior of this place that’s truly stunning. Each of its nine floors is covered with colorful artworks, from reproductions of Claude Monet and Victor Vasnetsov, to postcard illustrations and cartoons like Winnie the Pooh and Madagascar.

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Cartoonist Turns Ordinary Styrofoam Cups into Original Artworks

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Malaysian-born artist Cheeming Boey uses a simple sharpie pen to turn simple Styrofoam cups into unique works of art that sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Styrofoam cups don’t usually attract a lot of attention, unless they’re mentioned in discussions about environment pollution. They’re cheap and disposable, so  no one really cares about them. Neither did Cheeming Boey, until six years ago, when he discovered they could be used as an original canvas for his sharpie doodles. He was in little coffee shop, in Irvine, California, when he got the urge to draw, but found himself without a piece of paper. So he just grabbed a Styrofoam cup from the trash can and unleashed his artistic talent. The result surprised Boey himself, and the artist immediately realized he was up to something.

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The Beautiful Cut Canvas Portraits of Kuin Heuff

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At first glance, Dutch artist Kuin Heuff‘s portraits seem to be made up of a dizzying number of converging lines, but in reality, the creative process couldn’t be more different.

The Rotterdam-based artist, whose work focuses on the intricacies of the human face, starts off by creating acrylic paintings of the faces she wants to render. But while other artists would leave it at that, she takes her art to a whole new level by taking a sharp knife and cutting away maze-like patterns to create negative space. The process becomes even more impressive when you realize how important deciding when and where to cut, considering every stroke of the knife is irreversible. Yet Kuin Heuff pulls it off with relative ease, showing incredible skill and an eye for what’s important in her art.

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Stunning Portraits Made with a Single Sewing Thread Wrapped through Nails

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Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita creates mind-boggling portraits by wrapping a single UNBROKEN black thread around galvanized nails, on a clear white board.

In the four years since I started Oddity Central, I’ve had the opportunity of discovering many great artists. Most of their works are nothing short of impressive, but there are a few whose artistic genius is simply breathtaking. Kumi Yamashita is definitely one of those few. The Japanese artist living in New York City uses all kinds of common objects to create arresting images, in her quest of exploring art beyond the confines of traditional media. Perhaps her most impressive technique is creating portraits by using a single thread weaved around a series of nails, on a white background. We’ve seen portraits created with thread and nails before, but nothing quite like what Yamashita can do.

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Hundreds of Paintings Come Together to Form Stunning Mural Mosaics

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Invented by Lewis Lavoie, Mural Mosaic is an artistic concept which brings together hundreds of artworks painted by various artists into one exceptional image.

Lewis Lavoie created his first mural mosaic in 1997, for a retaining wall next to an art gallery in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. For this, the artist painted hundreds of individual paintings that were ultimately assembled to make up the face of Michelangelo’s David. It was a monumental achievement that helped Lavoie gain international attention for his unique style. But that was only the beginning of the mural mosaic movement, as seven years later Lewis takes his ingenious concept to the next level, by inviting 70 different artists to create the first community mural mosaic. During a live 24-hour painting marathon, each artist makes his contribution to the “Heritage Fiddler” mosaic.

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17-Year-Old Makes Her Own Prom Dress Out of Old Homework

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Just in case you needed more proof that you don’t actually need designer labels to attract attention, here’s the story of Kara Koskowich, who created her prom dress out of old homework.

After graduation, most students never want to look at homework again, but 17-year-old Kara Koskowich actually decided to look good IN it, by making a unique prom dress out of her old math homework. “For me, it’s not a big, spend your money, you have to look this nice, you have to fit into this mould of grad,” the Canadian girl told CBC, so she decided on a more creative and far less expensive alternative to the classic prom dress. So instead of going window shopping, Kara started thinking about what would make a really interesting dress for prom. And although she had made up her mind since March, and even started working on the dress back then, she only barely managed to finish it in time for the big night. ”I did most of it the last week because I’m that kind of person. I procrastinate,” Kara said.

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Artist Paints Herself Dressed in Bizarre Dead Animal Dresses

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In her 2007 self-portrait series, Booty, Julie Heffernan painted herself dressed in creepy dresses made from dead animal carcasses.

David Cohen, art critic of The New York Sun, describes Julie Heffernan’s paintings as “a hybrid of genres and styles, mixing allegory, portraiture, history painting, and still life, while in title they are all presented as self portraits.” The American painter uses self-portraits and a mix of history, art and high fashion to offer the viewer a wealth of visual entertainment. But her 2007 series, called Booty, is by far the most intriguing. In this colorful collection of portraits, the artist presents herself draped in pompous dresses made of dead animal carcasses, flowers and fruits. Like Heffernan’s other art series, these bizarre-yet-beautiful paintings are a constant dilemma between the gorgeous and the grotesque, attraction and repulsion.

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Dutch Artist Turns Dead Cat into Remote-Controlled Helicopter

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Like many other animal lovers, Dutch artist Bart Jansen found it hard to part with his pet cat, Orville, after he was hit by a car. So he decided to turn the dead feline into a unique piece of artwork called the Orvillecopter.

Jansen named his beloved pet after the famous aviator Orville Wright, so I guess it makes perfect sense that he decided to turn the cat into a remote-controlled helicopter. After having the Orville stuffed by a taxidermist, the artist teamed up with radio-controlled helicopter expert Arjen Beltman to make the cat fly for the first time. Beltman designed a custom mechanism and attached it to the stuffed cat to create a truly bizarre flying machine called the Orvillecopter. Bart Jansen unveiled his unique creation on Saturday, at  the Kunstrai art festival in Amsterdam, and described it as half cat, half machine.

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Talented Composer Makes Beautiful Music with Instruments Provided by Mother Nature

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Meet Diego Stocco, the guy who can make music from anything, even raw nature. In celebration of Earth Day, he staged an innovative musical experiment in which he used all kinds of unusual but completely natural instruments.

Who knew tree bark or orange peel could sound so groovy, if orchestrated by the right person? In his new performance, “Music from Nature”, Diego Stocco uses professional microphones and a customized stethoscope to best capture the sounds of nature as made by several uncommon musical instruments, including trees, leaves, almonds and bees. The result is too cool to describe, you just have to listen for yourself.

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Artist Creates Creepy Self-Portraits Out of His Own Frozen Blood

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Back in 1991, Marc Quinn started one of the most bizarre art projects in history – making detailed self-portraits from his own frozen blood. He has been making a new one every five year or so, since then. Yes, they’re creepy, but think of it this way – it must be reassuring for Mark to know that if he ever needs a transfusion, he’s got a few gallons of blood he can use.

Marc Quinn created his “Self ” series as a means of recording the changes of his face throughout the years, such as countenance and ageing, and if you look closely at the four blood portraits he has made so far, you’ll notice his face has indeed matured over time. Of course, he could have used a more common material for his artworks, but the message wouldn’t have been as powerful as using his own blood. According to Scientific American magazine, “by crafting these heads out of his own blood, Quinn reconnects us to the the fact that in the fullness of time, no artist’s attempt at immortality through self-portraiture will prevail. And of course the series will presumably end in the course of the artist’s life, so the artwork’s time-dimension has a death of sorts as well.”

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