New York Artist Makes a Fortune Selling Other People’s Instagram Photos

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While plagiarism is generally abhorred in artistic circles, controversial artist Richard Prince makes millions by brazenly duplicating others’ work. In his last project, ‘New Portraits’, he took screenshots of 37 Instagram photographs (without permission), blew them up, and displayed them at the Frieze Art Fair New York. One of the portraits – posted by a woman called Doe Deere – reportedly sold for a whopping $90,000!

The portrait in question depicts Deere styled in blue hair, identical to the doll she’s holding. “No I did not give permission and yes, the controversial artist Richard Prince put it up anyway,” Deere wrote on Instagram, where she has 328,000 followers. “It’s already sold ($90k I’ve been told) during the VIP preview. No, I’m not gonna go after him. And nope, I have no idea who ended up with it!” She hashtagged the post #modernart and #wannabuyaninstagrampicture.



Artists Carve Replica of “China’s Mona Lisa” into Giant Piece of Fossilized Ebony

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A group of Chinese artists recently immortalized the famous Chinese painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival by replicating it on to a giant piece of fossilized ebony. Over 800 people, 30 structures, 28 ships, a harbour, a town hall, and a market, were painstakingly carved on to the 30-tonne chunk of ebony. It took the artists a whopping 600 days to complete, and the final piece was displayed at the 11th Annual China International Cultural Industries Fair in Shenzhen.

At 27.5 meters long and 1.92 meters tall, the ebony replica is more than double the size of the original scroll. The black fossilised ebony, known as ‘wumu’, gets its unique density and colors from being buried underground for thousands of years. This particular piece of wood  is 5,000 years old: It was discovered in the riverbed of Minjiang River.



Japanese Candy Artisan Creates Realistic Animal-Shaped Lollipops

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Meet Shinri Tezuka, a highly skilled artisan candy maker whose masterpieces make animal crackers look crude. Using a 500-year-old Japanese art-form called ‘amezaiku’, Tezuka creates detailed animal-shaped lollipops that look incredibly lifelike.

Tezuka, 26, owns a small shop in Tokyo’s Asakusa district called ‘Ameshin’ – one of Japan’s only two stores specializing in amezaiku. The self-taught artist works in front of his customers, crafting exquisite pieces of glass-like candy. “There are no schools, I had to learn it myself,” he told Japanese TV show Moshimoshi Nippon. “It’s a small market, so it’s easier to innovate. There is no limit to this craft.” He got into the unique art form right after high school, fascinated by the amazing pieces of candy he could create.



Some Artists Use Pencils, This One Uses Pencil Shavings

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Teacher and part time artist Meghan Maconochie uses colored pencils to create art, but not in the conventional sense. Instead of coloring with the pencils, she sharpens them and layers the shavings to on a white background to create all kinds of cool things, ranging from animals, to food and portraits of pop icons.

Meghan’s love affair with pencil shavings began when she participated in a color competition called ‘Nifty250’ last year. “I was sharpening a pencil when I decided to create the Nifty250 logo using the shavings from the pencil,” she said. She did just that, and her work was declared the winner. Soon, she began making more and more pieces using pencil shavings.



Artist’s Painted Portraits Look More Like High-Definition Photographs

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Italian artist Marco Grassi paints portraits of women that are so perfect, down to the fine hair lines, pores and freckles on the skin that people often mistake them for photographs.

However, Grassi differentiates himself from other hyper-realist painters by giving his artworks a surreal twist. In one painting, for example, his subject’s back is adorned with a tribal motif that seems carved into her back revealing a hollow interior. Other of his ‘surreal hyper-realistic” include a woman with spectacular glowing tattoos that seem to emerge from her skin, or another with a futuristic glass necklace around her neck. Although his human subjects appear photographed, it’s these little impossible details that give them away as paintings.



Chinese Artist Builds Amazing City Model with 50,000 Coins

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A Chinese man made the news last week for building an incredible model of his hometown, using nothing but coins! He spent an entire month painstakingly stacking up ancient and modern coins from 11 different countries to create the model, complete with roads, bridges and skyscrapers. Believe it or not, he didn’t use any glue!

He Peiqi revealed that he used his contacts in the coin trading industry to collect tens of thousands of coins for his masterpiece. Once the coins were ready, he got to work on the floor of his apartment, kneeling for two long hours each day. He carefully stacked the coins to resemble the general layout of Chongqing City.



Artist Creates Fluffy Celebrity Portraits with Dog Hair

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Colombian-American artist and opera singer Mateo Blanco was in the news late last year for creating three celebrity portraits out of the most unusual material – dog hair! Blanco revealed that he was listening to Lennon when inspiration struck, and he decided to honor the three late singers with dog hair purchased from a local groomer.

The portraits – of musicians John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix – were purchased by Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment and unveiled at Ripley’s Odditorium on December 12. The Michael Jackson portrait is still on display in Orlando, while John Lennon is currently at Ripley’s Mexico City, and Jimi Hendrix at Ripley’s Key West Odditorium.



Every White Line in these Ultra-Realistic Animal Portraits is Just a Scratch

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We’ve seen highly talented artists burn paper, roller skate, and even kick a football around to create art. But here’s something new – Illinois artist Allan Ace Adams actually scratches away at paper to create breathtaking animal portraits. It’s called scratchboard art, and it involves using an exacto knife to scrape away a top layer of black ink off the canvas to reveal the white clay underneath.

A scratchboard is actually a hardwood board coated with a thin layer of porcelain clay. Another thick layer of black ink is added on top of the porcelain, which the artist has to scratch off in order to create an image. “I explain to people that I’m scratching in the highlights instead of the ‘darks’ like you would with a graphite drawing,” Adams wrote on his website. “Shades of gray can be achieved by how much ink is removed or by applying an ink wash. The ink wash can be scratched back though to reveal the white once again.”



Artist Turns the Ashes of Loved Ones into Beautiful Jewelry

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California artist Merry Coor is using her skills to help people preserve the memory of their loved ones in the form of breathtaking pieces of jewellery. She uses cremated ashes of the deceased to create stunning beads that are lovingly crafted by hand.

The process begins with Coor mailing an envelope and a tin box to clients who display interest in her work. They use these to send her ashes, along with any photos or stories relating to their loved one. Once she receives the materials, she begins the process of creating the bead, keeping the individual in mind the whole time. Merry said that she tries her best to imbibe each piece with good intentions and respect.



Chinese Artist Paints Large-Scale Mountain Landscape Using Roller Skates

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Tian Haisu is the world’s first roller-skating artist – she cleverly combines her love of art and ice skating to create beautiful paintings. She specializes in traditional Chinese landscapes, but has long-since ditched the calligraphy pen for a pair of skates!

Tian, who started painting at the age of three, says that painting with skates makes her feel ‘one with her art’. Through this medium, she wants to give the traditional form of painting a ‘new lease of life’. To create these unique paintings, Tian uses a modified pair of skates with a pot of black paint attached to the wheels. She puts them on and skates in deliberate patterns over a large canvas.



Artist Dubbed “Real-Life King Midas” Turns Everyday Objects Into Gold

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Jewelry designer Hugh Power is being hailed as a real-life King Midas, after making it his life’s mission to transform the most mundane everyday objects into opulent gold jewelry.

The Beverly Hills-based artist runs ‘House of Solid Gold’, a company that specializes in turning mundane objects like glasses or earbuds into luxurious gold-plated accessories that sell for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Need anything made of gold? Power’s your man. He once made a gold toothpick for rap superstar Snoop Dog, because that’s what you need to scoop out food from between your gold teeth, but his collection of gold accessories includes gold shoelaces ($14,995), gold earbuds (14,995), gold chopsticks ($1,695), gold glasses ($75,000) and even a gold-plated, diamond-encrusted football ($375,000).



Seattle Artist Creates Invisible Street Art That Only Appears When It Rains

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A heavy downpour can spoil the best of plans, but who says you can’t have fun with a bit of rain? Proving the fact is Seattle-based magician and artist Peregrine Church, with his rain-activated street art, called ‘rainworks’. These paintings are invisible to the naked eye when dry, only making an appearance when it rains!

Church said that he’s passionate about making things that make the world a more interesting place. “Rainworks are pieces of street art that only appear when they’re wet,” he explained, “and they’re messages or images designed to make people’s rainy day a little bit better.” He calls it the “ideal Seattle art” because of the constant rains in the city.



German Artist Carves Tiny Sculptures Out of Toothpicks

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51-year-old German artist Ragna Reusch-Klinkenberg is an expert at carving miniscule figures out of toothpicks and pencil tips that are so tiny you need a magnifying glass to actually see them properly! Some of Ragna’s figurines include animals like cats and giraffes, inanimate objects like toothbrushes, and even famous politicians.

Ragna, who holds a degree in graphic design, says her real passion lies in working with wood. She’s been passionate about carving since her childhood. She started carving erasers at school using small forks and later moved on to carving wooden clothespins and selling the miniatures she made at craft markets.

“Once I had forgotten my clothespin blanks, but I found a toothpick in my pocket,” she recalled. So she tried working with it, and fell in love right away.



Controversial Pigs Tattooed with Disney Characters Selling for Up to $70,000 in China

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Given the fact that pigs are mostly raised for slaughter, it seems rather pointless and cruel to spend hours inking them with intricate tattoos. But believe it or not, tattooed pig skins are actually fetching a handsome price in China – up to $70,000 per hide!

These special pigs are inked under anaesthesia, with a variety of designs including Disney characters, Louis Vuitton logos, and even patterns that are popular with Russian prison inmates. Three artists work simultaneously on each pig, and their skin is later massaged and moisturised by carers. Once the pigs reach the end of their lives, their skins are sold to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars. One canvas featuring Disney characters, for example, was sold to Chanel and made into two bags.



Blind Artist Relies on Touch and Textures to Create Stunning Paintings

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Texas-based artist John Bramblitt perceives the world and everything in it through color. Fear, for instance, he says is a “red with a lot of black mixed in. It’s almost like the color of blood and dirt or soil – it’s really deep.” His paintings are stunningly vivid, bursting with color and texture. Ironically, Bramblitt is blind.

The 37-year-old has been suffering epileptic seizures since the age of two. As he grew older , the seizures became more and more frequent. “There would be months I’d have so many seizures I couldn’t count them,” he said. His vision gradually began to deteriorate since age 11 – at first it would become blurry and then eventually clear up. But with time, it cleared up less after each episode, and by 2001 he had become completely blind.

The loss of vision was a terrible blow for Bramblitt, sending him into what he calls the “deepest, darkest hole” of depression. “All of the hopes and dreams that I had for my life; all of the plans for what I would do after I graduated school were gone,” he said.



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