Ria van Dijk – The Woman Who Shoots Herself Shooting

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It’s not unusual to have photographs of yourself taken every year. But in the case of Ria van Dijk it is, because she’s in the exact same pose in each of the pictures – shooting a target. The 92-year-old from Tilburg, Holland has been going to funfair shooting galleries every year since 1936, and has won the prize every single time – a photograph of herself shooting.

Shooting galleries at fairs are set up in such a way that when the target is hit, it triggers the shutter of a camera. The result is a photograph in which the viewer is in the position of the target. The picture is the prize that participants win for their efforts. Even before she participated in the shooting gallery, Ria had plenty of practice at home, as a child. Along with her brother, she used to shoot at a target with air guns in the garden of her home. She says they would do this just for fun. So when she went to the fair at age 16, her friends encouraged her to give the shooting game a try. She won the picture on the first shot, and went on to win another one. Ria went back to the fair a year later to win another picture and that was when it all began.

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Artist Paints Incredible Artworks with His Mouth

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Nothing can stop a person with innate artistic abilities, not even the absence of functioning limbs. 50-year-old Steve Chambers is a perfect example of this. The artist from Norfolk, UK, paints breathtaking sceneries using only his mouth. It’s simply amazing how such accurate strokes can be achieved while holding a paintbrush with one’s teeth.

Chambers, who suffers from arthrogryposis syndrome, has been disabled since birth. His arms lack muscles and the joints in his legs are stiff. While many people in his condition struggle to perform daily tasks, Chambers began painting at a very early age. He says it didn’t take him very long to get the hang it. “To me using a paint brush with my mouth is like you using your hand to pick up a spoon.” He started off by using his mouth to hold a pencil, which according to him wasn’t actually difficult because he didn’t know anything different. However, he did get frustrated as a kid when he couldn’t get the effects he wanted while drawing.

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Brain Tumor Survivor Has Painted Every Sunrise for the Last Seven Years

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People find unique ways of storing and recording memories of the most important days of their lives. Some save cinema ticket stubs from their first date, some like to keep home videos and photo albums of family events. The methods of storing memories – both happy and sad – are endless. But the story of Cody Cox stands out from the rest. He chose to remember the last day his nephew Justin Tyler Berry was alive in a very different manner – by purchasing a painting depicting the last sunrise his nephew had ever seen. This was possible because brain tumor survivor Debbie Wagner has been painting the sunrise every single morning since December, 2005.

56-year-old Wagner is from Bennington, Kansas. In her healthier days, the mother of three loved to read long novels, cook up complicated recipes, take care of her family’s finances and always got nine straight hours of sleep every night. When she was diagnosed with not one, but two tumors in her brain in 2002, her life changed forever. Although the surgery to remove the tumors was successful, she lost the ability to do many of the things she loved. Wagner could no longer multitask, follow recipes or novel plots, balance a checkbook, or even sleep soundly through the night.

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Artist Makes Realistic-Looking Leaves from Human Hair

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Human hair is fast becoming one of the most popular mediums in the art world. We’ve seen everything from dresses made of hair and hair necklaces to insect sculptures made from human air. Now, we’ve discovered the intricate art of Jenine Shereos, who uses the dead protein to create tree leaves.

Leaves may not seem very special when you’re walking all over them, barely even noticing their presence, but if you take the time to pick one up and really look at it, you’ll notice each one has a unique and intricate veiny pattern that’s pretty tough to recreate. It was this delicate and detailed venation that inspired Jenine Shereos to create her awe-inspiring series of human hair leaves. She began by stitching strands of hair into a water-soluble backing material, making a tiny knot every time one strand of hair intersected another. This way, when the backing was dissolved, the leaf was able to hold its original shape. The artist says the whole process was meditative, as she found herself “lost in the detail of the small, organic microcosms that began taking shape.”

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A Cathedral Made from 55,000 LED Lights at Ghent Light Festival

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Created by Cagna Illumiations, the light cathedral made from 55,000 LEDs, for the 2012 Ghent Light Festival is one of the most beautiful light displays you’ll ever see.

Designed as a symbolic entrance to the Ghent Light Festival, the colorful cathedral imagined by Italian company Luminarie De Cagna stole the show at this year’s event. The gigantic colonnade was adorned with around 55,000 colorful LED bulbs that shine so bright you’d think they consume enough electricity to power a small town, but in reality, the entire installation consumes only 20 Kwatt/h. Inspired by Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, the LED cathedral towered 28 meters high.

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The Ghost-Like Smoke Paintings of Rob Tarbell

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Rob Tarbell has a very unique talent. By burning everyday objects under a paper canvas fixed on the ceiling of his studio, he is able to control the rising flow of smoke and create incredible works of art.

The artist first got the idea of using smoke as a medium for his art in 2007, and he quickly realized that in order to make it work, he needed to control the smoke, while letting it do what it does naturally. To him, that sounded a lot like what circus trainers do with wild animals, so this inspired him to use circus performances as the main subjects of his beautiful smoke paintings. Masterfully channeling the flow of smoke, Tarbell creates ghost-like figures, both animal and human performing circus acts, in a series entitled Smoke Rings. “The performing animal images in the Smokes parallel the drawing process,” Rob says on his website. “The trainer must recognize and respect the innate nature of an animal when trying to modify its behavior to achieve a desired outcome: e.g. training a bear to dance or training a horse to walk upright. The same is true in working with smoke. The inherent properties of smoke must be respected, then permitted to – and yet discouraged from – acting naturally.”

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Florentine Artist Fights Pollution by Painting with Smog

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If you’re ever in Florence, Italy, and see a grown man on a ladder wiping the dust off statues and building, don’t worry, it’s just Alessandro Ricci gathering material for his famous smog paintings.

40-year-old Ricci is not your average artist, and I don’t say that just because he used smog as the main medium of his artworks. Unlike other painters seeking fast recognition of their talent, he doesn’t really care about “being this big artist”. Instead he is more concerned about bringing attention to how much smog there really is in his home town and how it’s destroying both its monuments and people. Although he did take a couple of art classes a few years back, he is mainly self-taught, doesn’t work in a studio, donates most of his work, and refuses to play by the rules of the Florentine Art Gallery, which he considers corrupt. Alessandro Ricci believes selling his smog paintings  would not only compromise his principles, but also contradict the very thing he’s trying to do – raise awareness about smog pollution in this great Italian city.

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Artist Paints Portrait of Yao Ming Using a Basketball

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I can think of a few things one can do with a basketball, but painting is definitily not one of them. But I guess that’s exactly what makes Shanghai-based artist’s, Yi Hong, so special.

Yi, who goes by the name of “Red”, and describes herself as an artist who “loves to paint, but not with a paintbrush”, recently posted a video of herself painting a detailed portrait of retired NBA superstar Yao Ming, using nothing but red paint and a basketball. In the time-lapse she dips the ball in paint and carefully bounces it on the canvas, and slowly by surely, the portrait starts to take shape. All the help she got was in the shape of a print of the famous Chinese basketball player, which she checked a few times, for accuracy. The amazing video got 400,000 views in just a few days, and the artist posted about how flattered she is, on her Facebook page. Yi Hong was born and raised on the island of Borneo, and also spent some time in Australia and the Netherlands, but she ultimately settled in Shanghai.

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Billion Euro Home Is Made from Shredded Remains of 1.4 Billion Euros

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Unemployed Irish artist, Frank Buckley, has built an entire apartment from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros he borrowed from the national mint. He says the Billion Euro Home is a monument to the madness the single currency brought to Ireland.

In 2002, when Ireland adopted the euro, a wave of cheap credit flooded the country, fueling a huge property bubble that eventually led to the country’s economic downfall. People were spending billions of euros on buildings, but when the bubble burst in 2007, the country plunged into the deepest recession of the industrialized world, and those buildings quickly lost their value. Frank Buckley was one of the many Irish who was given a 100% mortgage by the bank, to buy a home with an estimated cost of €365,000, despite the fact he had no steady income. Now his house on the far reaches of Dublin’s commuter belt has lost a third of its value, and the artist is stuck with the credit.

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Incredible Fingerprint Paintings by Judith Braun

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New York-based artist, Judith Braun, creates giant symmetrical wall paintings, using only her fingertips as brushes. This would be difficult to do with one hand at a time, but Judith sometimes uses both hands at the same time.

As children, we all got our hands dirty then tried to use our fingers to draw, but I doubt any of our “masterpieces” looked anything like those of Judith Braun. By dipping her hands in charcoal, pastel and chalk, and using them as paintbrushes, Braun is able to create truly unique symmetrical works of art. Using her own special technique, she produces all kinds of abstract images, patterns and shapes.  “Abstraction keeps the images free to be anything, while the symmetry resolves that fluidity into something, like liquid energy crystallizing. This crystal metaphor is further reflected in the carbon medium that, under heat and pressure, becomes a diamond.  I like to think I’m drawing with diamond dust”, Judith Braun says about her art.

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Artist Disappears in the Background of Her Works

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Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes uses a mix of make-up, paint and costumes to make herself disappear in her own paintings. Like the real-life invisible man, Liu Bolin, she  is a master of blending-in the background.

Paredes explains her technique as a way of making herself part of the landscape ïn a quest of belonging”.  “The theme behind all is re-location after displacement and migration and how one has to adjust in order to belong. Tough it is, but it has to be done, without forgetting our origin,” the artist explains. With the help of her assistants, she applies make-up and body paint, and sometimes slips into special suits to make herself a subject of her own artworks. Unlike human chameleons like Liu Bolin, Cecilia Paredes sometimes likes to let her presence get noticed by the viewer, by leaving her hair stand out and letting them see the whites of her eyes, like in the artwork below.

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Creative Agency Creates Detailed Money Portraits

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Artists from Chinese creative agency Senseteam cut apart banknotes from various country and recomposed them as detailed portraits, in a series called Big Business 3.

‘Currency symbolizes the value of a nation and its position in the world,’ the designers say, so their portraits ‘reflect the subtle relationships and influences across money, desire,
society, nations, and human beings.’ They also prove money can also be used for something much more meaningful than shopping and making bank deposits – in this case art and cultural statements. To create their colorful artworks, Senseteam members painstakingly cut banknotes into hundreds of strips and glued them together in the shape of intricate human portraits.

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Is This the World’s Worst Tattoo Artist?

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If you’ve ever wanted to sport one of those sloppy jail tattoos, but didn’t really want to go through the whole jail experience, we’ve got just the guy for you – he goes by “Synyster Ink” and he’s probably the world’s worst tattoo artist.

I’m still not sure if this guy is a genius or someone who’s hands should be tied behind his back so he doesn’t scar anymore gullible people. There are people who actually consider his work to be genuine art, but not too many. The majority of those who’ve seen Synyster Ink’s tattoos on Facebook thinks they’re absolute crap, and recommend he find a job at McDonald’s or Walmart, instead of tattooing. He’s a pretty resilient guy, though, as thousands of negative comments haven’t stopped him from “following his”dream and creating “original” permanent tattoos. There’s not a lot to say about a tattoo artist who apparently can’t even draw a straight line, except that he’s based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and that he found plenty of people naive enough to let him work his magic on their bodies. How this guy didn’t get hit with a lawsuit is beyond me.

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Woven Newspaper Portraits by Gugger Petter

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Most people look at old newspapers as trash, but for artist Gugger Petter it’s a challenging medium for which she has the utmost respect. Using  a special weaving technique, she’s able to take fragile newspapers and turned them into beautiful portraits.

Although she considers the informative purpose of the newspaper important, Petter has been fascinated with this unusual art medium because it presents her with a black/white/and limited color palette, which she has always preferred. In 1986, when she first arrived in California, she laid eyes on a stack of discarded newspapers yellowed by the sun, and found it very intriguing. From that day forth she started thinking about ways she could use this material in her art. She started by rolling newspapers into tubes and creating wall and floor sculptures, but after a couple of years she developed her weaving technique.

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The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments

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This group not only plays music, but builds the instruments from scrap. That’s right, they make their ‘recycled’ instruments out of things like kitchen spatulas and cookie cutters. Their music, nonetheless, is wonderful to listen to.

The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments is from Paraguay, a majority of them so poor that they had to resort to creating their own instruments. However, their love for music was never hindered by their economic condition. The members of the orchestra are students at the “Sonidos De La Tierra,” which is an organization dedicated to running music workshops and schools in the lesser privileged areas of Paraguay. This is where these talented musicians learned the skill of recycled-instrument-music making. Some of them were so passionate about the art that they even quit their jobs as recyclers at a major dump site, in order to pursue their music full time.

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