Joe Black’s Amazing Badge Mosaics

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We’ve featured some pretty awesome mosaics here on Oddity Central, from Oksana Mas’ wooden egg mosaics, to the sweet jelly bean mosaics of Peter and Roger Rocha. But there are plenty of other incredibly talented artists out there who use the most unusual materials to create their art. Joe Black is one of them.

Using thousands of handmade badges depicting various images and icons, from the Vietnam War to Elvis Presley, Black manages to piece together amazingly detailed portraits. And if having the patience to create such wonderful mosaics wan’t impressive enough, nearly every one of the badges used is made by Joe Black himself, and relates to the artwork in some way. For example, the portrait of Superman is made up of corporate and fast food logos to depict the notion of goodness defeated by our ever-growing need to consume. A mixed media artist by definition, Black also makes use of oil paints, acrylics and other mediums to complete his modern masterpieces.

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Amazing Packaging Tape Portraits by Max Zorn

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Ever been frustrated by sticky packing tape getting all over the place? I’ve been there. So when I learned about this artist who uses brown packing tape to create detailed works of art, I was seriously impressed.

Artist Max Zorn creates street art consisting mainly of portraits. His only tools are rolls of packing tape and a scalpel, but the results are astounding. The translucent portraits are hung over street lamps for the final effect, with multiple shades created through layers of tape strips. What is really impressive is that Zorn essentially works with just a single colored tape, creating several shades as he goes along. The sepia-toned art pieces have an incredible detailing, and are a delight to look at.

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Creative Artist Makes Artworks with GPS Maps

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For Michael Wallace, the streets are his drawing board and maps, his canvas. For a paintbrush? He uses his bicycle! GPX Riding is what he calls his art. Confused? So was I, at first.

When I got a hang of what he’s been doing, I was simply amazed. He explains his artwork on his website in simple terms, “GPX Riding is my general term for using a GPS device to track and record my location while riding my bicycle. In short, I use GPS technology to record where I go in a planned effort to create massive images.” Massive images indeed, his gallery of artwork displays pictures of guns, hammers, snails, monsters, scorpions and more. Pretty basic stuff if you were drawing on paper, but very complex if you are tracing it out with your bike.

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Artist Folds Realistic Insects from a Single Sheet of Paper

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As real as these insects might look, they are actually made from a single sheet of paper, expertly folded by origami master, Brian Chan.

I’ve been staring at Brian Chan’s creations for a while, and I still find it mind-boggling how someone can produce such realistic work by folding a simple piece of paper. But 31-year-old Chan manages to do just that, creating realistic-looking insects that almost fool the naked eye. A craft instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brian works on his impressive paper artworks in his spare time. Talking about his beginnings in the world of origami, he says “I started by copying work of other authors about 20 years ago but after a while I was good enough to start coming up with my own pieces.” His parents encouraged him by buying him all kinds of origami books, which proved great sources for independent learning.

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Incredible Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

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Can’t find any use for those thick books lying around your house? Carve landscapes out of them! At least, that’s what Guy Laramee has been doing for some time now.

An interdisciplinary artist who has been practicing for 30 years now, Laramee has done several things in his lifetime, from stage writing to contemporary music, painting painting and literature. But the work he became most famous for is book sculpture. Rocky mountain ranges, bodies of water, islands and hidden caves, you name it,  he can bring it to life out of a book, in 3D. For instance, from a set of English and Chinese hardcover encyclopedias, he has created two series of stunning landscapes, named The Great Wall and Biblios.

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Artist Faces Jail Time over Disturbing Taxidermy

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Enrique Gomez De Molina is an artist from Miami who creates bizarre sculptures, with the stuffed parts of dead animals. While taxidermy itself isn’t something new, what De Molina does is he mixes up parts from different animals to create a new one, a new species all together. The result is what some might call art, and others may find plain disturbing.

For instance, one of the strange beings created by De Molina is a combination of a squirrel and a crab. The head of a squirrel and the body of the crab. Another one has the heads of two swans placed on the body of a goat. The art is all fine, but the artist himself is facing the possibility of landing in jail for no less than 5 years. He may also have to cough up $250,000 in fines. The reason – he illegally imported the body parts of endangered species, a crime that he has pleaded guilty to. He was arrested in November.

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Evgen Bavcar, the Blind Photographer

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It’s amazing sometimes, the amount of skill and versatility displayed by the visually challenged. Especially when they’re able to do certain things better than those with perfect vision. Photography, for instance.

If you’re wondering how it could ever be possible that a blind man take photographs, Evgen Bavcar has gone and done just that. In fact, he is a noted photographer, with his works being published and exhibited around the world. Bavcar, who was born in a small Slovenian town near Venice in 1946, met with two consecutive accidents that completely robbed him of his sight. This, before he even reached the age of twelve. Around four years after this incident, he happened to have access to a camera for the very first time. The first snap he ever took, was of a girl he loved. It was then that Bavcar realized that “I secretly discovered I could possess something that I could not see…”

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Artist Uses iPad to Create Detailed Celebrity Portraits

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Long-gone are the days when painting was strictly done with specialized tools, like brushes, on canvases. Nowadays artists use anything from remote-controlled toy cars to Molotov cocktails to express their talents. So it should come to know surprise Kyle Lambert uses just one finger and the Apple iPad to create detailed celebrity portraits.

Kyle Lambert is a young English artist who specializes in portraits rendered using an iPad tablet and an $8 app, called Brushes. He only uses one finger as the brush, but judging by the detailed outcome, you’d think he has a whole set of professional tools and paints. Lambert starts out by sketching the basic facial proportions, drawing simple lines where the mouth, nose and eyes should be, making sure he gets the shape of the sitter’s head just right. It looks like the kind of sketch even I could do, but he says it’s the most important part of making a portrait, because it serves as the framework for the entire piece.

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Italian Sculptor Creates Miniature Colosseum from 10,000 Corks

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61-year-old Ciro Califano, from Italy’s Nocera Inferiore, is one of the world’s most incredible artists, with the power to turn corks into beautiful works of art.

A former postal worker, who lived most his life traveling between Milan, Naples and Nocera, Ciro Califano has always had artistic ambitions. Even as a child, growing up in the Italian countryside, he always dreamed of exercising his talents and leaving his mark on the art world. And ten years ago, after his sons opened a local restaurant called “Cantina del Vescovo”(Bishop’s Cellar), he finally decided to exploit his gift as a sculptor. The fast accumulation of wine bottle corks was just the right pretext, and before he knew it, Ciro was creating cork miniature replicas of ancient wonders like the Roman aqueduct in Nimes, France, the Saracen Tower, the Church of Monte Albino, and many others.

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Awesome Joan of Arc Armor Made of Bicycle Tubes and Paper Mache

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Did you ever find yourself wondering what Joan of Arc would have worn if she lived in modern times and rode a bicycle instead of a steed? Well, Grace Duval obviously did and she came up with an awe-inspiring upper-body armor made entirely of paper mache and bicycle inner tubes. Judging by how cool and detailed this thing looks, it’s clear the artist put a lot of work into this project, but the end result is simply incredible. I’ve see a lot of things made from tires, from crisis shoes to intricate sculptures, but this rubbery armor has to be the coolest thing yet. My hat’s off to Grace!

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Bold Designer Creates Fashionable Dress from Ford Focus Car Parts

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A true designer can make a dress out of literally anything, even car parts! As a part of the month-long event celebrating 100 years of Ford in Britain, the company commissioned two young British designers to create a dress and jewelry fashioned from Ford components.

The unique ‘car dress’ was designed by Judy Clark, who is a nominee for Scottish designer of the year and has also worked with Alexander McQueen. She accepted the challenge to make the dress using Ford car parts within 1 week. The materials she worked with included various parts from a Ford Focus, along with Chiffon, Silk, Tweed, Lace, Leather and Spray paint. On her blog, Clark describes the entire designing and dress-making process from beginning to end. The parts first arrived at her place in big boxes. The components sent to her included keys, dashboard functions, rear lights, car seat covers, radio players, window buttons and more.

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The Beautiful Steampunk Cell Phones of Ivan Mavrovic

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Croatian artist Ivan Mavrovic turns modern technology into steampunk gadgets that still retain their functionality.

In a world where everyone seems interested only in getting their hands on the latest futuristic designs when it comes to gadgets, some, like Ivan Mavrovic, prefer to look back in history, to the time of the Victorian era, when brass, copper and wood were the main ingredients that made things cool. But interlacing modern tech with steampunk design isn’t easy, especially if you want to maintain functionality, but Croatian steampunk enthusiast Ivan Mavrovic does a fantastic job. Not only do his retro-cell phones look incredibly cool, but they also work as well as normal modern-day phones. They may not be as feature-full as today’s smartphones, but his sturdy converted Nokia phones work perfectly and make gorgeous accessories.

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Talented Artist Recreates van Gogh Paintings with Spices and Food Coloring

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Cincinnati-based photographer, Kelly McCollam recreates classic paintings, particularly Vincent van Gogh’s, using salts, spices and food coloring.

You could say Kelly McCollam is literally spicing things up in the art world, with her original interpretations of van Gogh’s masterpieces. While most people use pinches of seasoning to make their cooking tolerable, the skilled photographer uses handfuls to create artworks. Her favorite materials include salt, food coloring and various spices, from cloves and onion chips to mustard and lemon powder. After carefully spreading the spices on a board and arranging them to best replicate van Gogh’s works, she photographs them and simply wipes them off. It’s kind of painful, considering the effort and patience that must go into something like this, but Kelly is a photographer, and that’s what she’s really all about. The grainy and flaky textures of the artworks really improves the quality and effectiveness of her photos, which become masterpieces in their own right.

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Artist Makes Awesome Transformers Costumes from Household Goods

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We’ve posted some pretty cool Transformers statues and costumes here, on Oddity Central, but the Brooklyn RobotWorks costumes created by artist/cosplayer Peter Kokis are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

When we look around the house, in our kitchens and bathrooms, most of us see a lot junk we don’t use very often, but Peter Kokis sees the perfect materials to build his über-awesome exoskeletons and thus bring our favorite Autobots to life. Looking at his creations for the first time, your jaw suddenly hits the floor as you stare in awe, but as Peter anticipates, looking a little closer you’ll eventually say “hey, I have those at home”. It’s hard to believe, but he’s somehow able to turn a common dog bowl into the perfect cannon muzzle and pooper-scoopers into realistic shins.

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Extinct Bird Sculptures Made from Leftover Bones

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Christy Rupp, an artist based in Chelsea, has created skeletons of extinct birds with the help of chicken bones that she collected over a period of time. Rupp describes herself as an ecological artist. She’s put up the sculptures for display at a museum called the “Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans.” Her goal is to draw attention to the number of species we humans have driven to extinction.

“In our lifetime, more things have gone extinct than in all of the time before us,” she said. Rupp is a vegetarian, and collecting chicken bones wasn’t easy for her. She started by rummaging through garbage cans at parties and barbecues. She would literally wait for people to throw out food, and sometimes get kids to help her too. Sometimes, she would wait for her friends to finish their meal, asking for the carcass as soon as they were done. She even went as far as putting an ad in a local circulation, asking people to save bones for her.

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