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Tuvan Throat Singing – A Unique Mongolian Tradition

As with any other piece of music, it is quite impossible to describe through words what exactly Tuvan throat singing is. I could try to explain to you the physics of how it is done, but then you could always get that information from Wikipedia. I could try to explain what it sounds like, but then you could just listen to it on YouTube. Oh, and while you are on YouTube, please don’t go by Sheldon Cooper’s version of it from The Big Bang Theory. It is funny, but it is in no way the real thing.

Tuvan music is at best described as a variant of overtone singing. Its beauty lies in its traditional, rustic melody and it exudes an old-world charm. That’s not surprising, given the fact that this form of music dates very far back in history. A music that came into being purely out of culture and geographic location, the ancient Tuvans used to look for specific spots to practice it. Given the open landscape of Tuva, sounds are carried a great distance. Singers often travel far into the countryside, in search of the right river or mountainside for the environment that throat singing requires. Sounds like a beautiful way to blend music and nature.

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The Mind-Blowingly Realistic Wine Paintings of Thomas Arvid

If you’ve been hanging around Oddity Central for a while, you probably know I have a thing for hyperrealism. I find it amazing how some artists can simply guide a paintbrush to create photograph-like artworks that almost always fool the naked eye.

Case in point, Thomas Arvid, a self-taught painter who creates wine-related paintings that look like professional high-resolution photos. In the past, we’ve featured amazing works by talented artists the likes of Alyssa Monks or Denis Peterson, but Arvid’s creations really are unlike any I’ve ever seen. His incredibly realistic compositions of wine completely redefine still life and put the Marietta-based artist at the forefront of the hyperrealist art movement. Thomas’ mastery of light, depth and reflection, as well as his ability to capture a traditional subject like wine in a completely new style have brought him international acclaim.

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Artist Turns Confiscated Scissors into Creepy Spider Sculptures

Every year, the Transportation Security Administration confiscates countless objects deemed dangerous from passengers boarding flights at airport terminals across the US. Apart from guns, knives or aerosol, a lot of scissors end up in their recycling bin. Enter Christopher Locke, an artist who figured out he could actually use scissors to create creepy sculptures of spiders.

It’s a known fact that spiders don’t have many human fans. Most people just think they look creepy and would simply squish them given the opportunity, even if they don’t pose a real threat. But, that’s not really a viable option when talking about the scissors spiders of Christopher Locke. You’d have a hard time stomping on one of them without having your foot pierced by sharp metal, so you just kind of have to accept them. Reminiscent of a classic Tim Burton movie, these metal sculptures are created from disassembled scissors, bent into shape and welded together in the creepy shape of spiders.

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Mind-Blowing Charcoal Mural Is a Finger-Painting Masterpiece

Fingers are definitely not the weirdest thing we’ve seen artists paint with (just check out this tongue painter and the girl who paints with gravity) but I had no idea someone could use their fingertips to create such detailed work.

We first featured Judith Braun’s finger paintings a few months ago, but while her artworks were beautiful then, she hadn’t created anything as impressive as this latest charcoal mural. I mean, looking at the photos below, can you believe she painted exclusively with her fingertips? The 12-foot by 48-foot masterpiece was created using Braun’s signature technique, which basically involves her covering her fingertips with ground charcoal and guiding them across the canvas. Entitled Diamond Dust, this magnificent piece is Judith Braun’s largest site-specific project to date.

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Chinese Artist Lives on a Scale to Lose Weight in Public

Chinese artist Wang Jun is going to be spending a whole month at the Yitel and Yi Hotel in Beijing. Not in any of the luxury rooms, but as a display piece in an art project called “Keep Fit Deal – 15”.  He’s going to be spending the whole time on an electronic weighing scale, not even leaving to eat, drink or use the restroom. A live video stream will be tracking his every move, broadcasting it online. Wondering why in the world he would do such a thing? Well, I found it kind of confusing myself, but it appears that he’s trying to accomplish several things at once. The most important, of course, being weight loss.

Wang Jun says he’s 15 jin (that’s about 7.5kg) overweight and he’d like to lose it all in the public eye. So people can always see on the scale how much he’s lost (or gained). Well, the lack of movement alone will make it hard for him to lose weight, but maybe he’s also planning to do some exercise right on the scale. Apart from shedding the extra pounds, he is also interested in using his body as a media outlet. He wants to experience the physical and psychological limits of connecting with a public space. Jun calls his experiment ‘artistic’. Now, that just makes me laugh, how people can call sitting put for a whole month, art. But according to Jun, his project is of an ascetic nature, intended to highlight the social realities of greed and pleasure-seeking, while criticizing the craze in society for the ‘so called-popular’ things.

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The Gun Powder Drawings of Cai Guo Qiang

Also known as China’s most explosive artist, Cai Guo Qiang uses gun powder to create some truly unique works of art. His technique of igniting gun powder on a paper canvas is considered a new medium of contemporary artistic expression.

Fire and explosion seems to be a very popular art theme these days. We’ve recently covered the works of Radya Timofey, a 23-year-old artist who paints with Molotov cocktails, and Rob Tarbell, who guides the smoke of open flames to create detailed artworks, so Cai Guo Qiang fits right in. The famous Chinese artist started using gun powder as an art medium in 1989, when he used fuse lines to create explosions that lasted between 1 and 15 seconds, for public audiences. But his works has evolved a great deal since then, and he now uses modern technology to create much more detailed works, and even aerial explosions supervised by experienced pyrotechnicians.

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Serene Seascape Mural Made of 500,000 Fishhooks

Cuban artist Yoan Capote uses all kinds of unusual materials to create beautiful art installations. For one of his latest project, Isla, he used around 500,000 fishhooks to build a photo-like seascape mural.

Throughout the years we’ve featured a lot of talented artists with the power of turning everyday objects into stunning masterpieces, and today we’re proud to add Yoan Capote to our ever-growing list. The Cuban artist is famous for the way he manages to take common household objects and create beautiful artworks, but I think his latest creation is also his most impressive one. Named Isla, the 26-foot-wide mural was assembled out of half a million intertwined fishhooks, nails and oil. Looking at it from a distance, you’d think it’s just a photo of the calm open sea, but as you draw near, the secret behind the realistic seascape is revealed. Even with the help of 30 assistants, Yoan Capote took since months to complete his fascinating fishhook mural.

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5 Talented Artists Who Paint with Wine

If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing for OC, it’s that the truly talented are able to create breathtaking art out of literally anything, even ordinary stuff like packing tape or sprinkles. So when I read about wine art, I decided to look up the artists who work with the drinkable medium. After doing a little snooping around, we discovered these five amazing artists, who create the most beautiful wine paintings.

Christina LoCascio

What would a person with a Fine Arts degree and a career in the wine industry do? Why, paint with wine, of course! And that’s exactly what Christina LoCascio has been doing since 2002. She is credited with the development of a new technique using wine as her palette, making use of different grape varieties. Several paintings in Christina’s portfolio reflect a wine narrative – there are vineyards, grapes and wine bottle portraits. She also uses subjects to portray the emotional experience of enjoying a glass of wine. Her art has a very classy, elegant feel to it.

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Beautiful Leila Khaled Portrait Made of 3,500 Lipsticks

Last year, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali paid homage to Leila Khaled, a woman revolutionary who became famous as “the poster girl of Palestinian militancy” after hijacking a plane, in 1969. He created a unique portrait made of 3,500 lipsticks for an art exhibition at Birzeit University.

We’ve featured many awesome pixelated portraits on Oddity Central, like the one made of plastic bottle caps, by Marry Ellen Croteau, or that of Shannon Larratt, made of 10,000 metal nails, but this is the first one we’ve senn made of thousands of lipsticks. Using the famous photo of Leila Khaled holding an AK-47 and wearing a kaffiyeh, taken by Eddie Addams as reference, Amer Shomali created a sort of canvas out of lipstick holders and then arranged 3,500 lipsticks of 14 different colors to best recreate the Palestinian icon’s visage. Called “Icon”, Shomali’s artwork was featured in a an art exhibition organized at Birzeit  University.

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Urine Iron Man Wins Art Competition

The title is a little misleading, so to make things clear, we’re talking about the face of Iron Man made of real urine, in a toilet bowl. This unusual artwork was actually considered better than 600 other entries in a popular art competition.

You don’t often get the chance to associate Iron Man with urine, but this is one of those rare occasions, and we only have a geeky Taiwanese guy to thank for it. But how does one get the crazy idea to paint a portrait of one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes with urine. Well, this particular art school graduate was taking care of business one day, in the bathroom, when he noticed blood in his urine. Now, most everyone else would have panicked and ran straight to the doctor, but not this fellow. Looking at the colors in his pee, he immediately thought of the colors of Iron Man’s suit, and felt inspired to create a portrait of the popular crime-fighter using his very own urine. Read More »

Artist Uses Lovers as Living Paintbrushes

Alexander Esguerra,  a New York-based artist, has invented the perfect recipe for love and art to go hand in hand. The couples who participate in his sessions not only get to make love, they also get to take a great souvenir home – a piece of art born from their sensual ‘act’.

Esguerra invites couples to cover themselves in non-toxic, water based paint and then ‘do as they please’ on a canvas on the floor. At the end of the love-making session, what results is a wonderful painting for the world to admire. It’s just like making babies I guess, equally messy, but without any diapers to be changed later. The concept has caught on pretty well, and is turning out to be quite popular. So much, that he’s actually converted it to a business called ‘Love and Paint’. The art packages are provided at luxury hotels, starting at $2,500. There have been fifty couple participants so far.

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Plot – A Stunning Cityscape Made of Carved Potatoes

Artist Peter Root spent three weeks carving 80 kilograms of potatoes into office buildings, homes and various other structures, using only a knife and a bicycle repair kit. His unique potato city model is called Plot.

Although Plot was created in Istanbul, 33-year-old Peter Root says his creation wasn’t modeled on the Turkish city, but rather influenced my various aspects of the historical city. The artist, who eats potatoes at least once a week, says he chose the popular vegetables because they are available in abundance and are “amazing to work with”. They can be carved, sliced, chopped, drawn into, balanced and dried, Root said. Lucky for him, the artist didn’t have to peel all 80 kg of potatoes, as he decided to leave some of the skin intact, to encourage the growing of shoots.

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Mind-Boggling Hand-Painted Portraits Made of Hundreds of Smaller Portraits

Korean artist Kim Dong Yoo creates amazing portraits of various icons like Audrey Hepburn or Michael Jackson, made up of hundreds of smaller painted portraits that either support or contradict the main subject of the artwork.

Over the years, we’ve featured some truly interesting celebrity portraits on Oddity Central, like Jason Mecier’s pill portraits, or Jason Kronenwald’s chewing gum creations, but we’ve never seen anything like Kim Dong Yoo’s works. This incredibly talented artist painstakingly paints hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of miniature portraits by hand, using them as smaller piece of a much bigger, unbelievably detailed portrait. His portraits look a lot like the stamp paintings of Peter R. Mason, only instead of using recycled stamps to recreate the faces of many historical and Hollywood icons, the Korean painter actually paints every one of the little images that make up the big portraits.

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Innovative Artist Creates Beautiful Dust Paintings

Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust from her art-subjects’s homes and uses it to paint the background of their portraits. She started her series of “dusty” artworks, called Dust Paintings, several years ago, but she’s only just now getting the online exposure she so rightfully deserves.

Dust paintings…Now here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Well, actually, just a month ago we posted a story about Alessandro Ricci, an Italian artist who paints with dust collected from historical buildings in Florence. But while his dust creations are more like environmental statements against the pollution in his home city, Allison Cortson’s paintings are much more elaborate, and have a completely different purpose. Through her dust paintings, the artist tries to emphasize the fact that “matter is mostly empty space” and  it’s only through interactivity with living beings that they provide any value. That’s why, in all of her Dust Paintings artworks the human subjects are painted in color, while the background is recreated with dust.

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Aggravure III – A Unique Mural Made with 450,000 Staples

In all the years I’d stapled posters on my wall, I never gave it a second thought, let alone consider it an art form. But an artist has painstakingly created a series of beautiful murals made from nothing but staples tacked onto a wall. The pictures you’re looking at are the works of French artist Baptiste Debombourg, and a part of  a collection named Aggravure. His last artwork, Aggravure III, took him 340 hours to complete and consists of over half a million staples.

The collection itself is inspired by engravers of the Renaissance period, Jan Harmensz, Cherubino Alberti and Hendrick Goltzius. It’s amazing what an artist can do with a boring, everyday, office supply like the staple. But hey, if people can make art out of packing tape, maybe staple-art is not so surprising after all.

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