Insane Puzzle Collages by Gerhard Mayer

Gerhard Mayer, a talented artist from Nürnberg, Germany, uses thousands of puzzle pieces to create incredibly beautiful collages.

If you’ve ever tried to complete a common jigsaw puzzle you know how hard and time consuming it could be. Now imagine you have to assemble dozens of puzzles into a gigantic one that actually looks like a scenery taken out of a fantasy novel. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong, and Gerhard Mayer’s intricate works prove it can be done, provided you have loads of talent, patience and time on your hands.

Up to 18 meters in size, sometimes covering entire gallery walls, Mayer’s gigantic mosaics are made of thousands of colorful pieces carefully pieced together to create breath-taking images. The artist uses a special technique that includes creating multiple layers of puzzle pieces over already completed sections to create an entire new landscape, and putting together multiple puzzles in an imperceptible way. Gerhard Mayer places all the pieces by hand and uses no other type of coloring other than that of the puzzles.

The artist says he tries to create children’s worlds to heal the world of adults.

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Hungarian Collector Shows Off World’s Smallest Library

Jozsef Tari has been collecting miniature books since 1972, and is now the proud owner of over 4,500 literary works, including the world’s smallest book (2.9 x 3.2 mm).

A printer by trade, Tari has always been fascinated by the written word, and in 1972 he began collecting miniature books. Most of the items in his collection are in Hungarian, but he also has quite a few from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Japan. Ironically, he only has a few books from the countries neighboring Hungary. As far as topics are concerned, Jozsef Tari is interested in everything from religion to sports, literature and even cooking, but he only collects books that are 76 mm in size, or smaller. His collection features books that are over 100 years old, but his most prized miniature is the world’s smallest book – it measures only 2.9 x 3.2 millimeters and fits into a nutshell.

Apart from the 4,500 books in his collection, Tari also has 15 kinds of miniature newspapers, including the smallest in the world, which measures only 19 x 26 mm.

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The Crunchy Cereal Art of Ryan Alexiev

American artist Ryan Alexiev uses different kinds of cereal to create colorful mosaics,from portraits like that of Barrack Obama to recreation of popular artworks.

Cereal is America’s number one breakfast choice and the third most popular product in supermarkets, so it makes sense why Alexiev chose it as a medium to examine the ideology of American consumerism, through his art. He hand places thousands of crunchy cereal bits to create detailed mosaics that literally look  good enough to eat.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Alaska by two Bulgarian immigrants, Ryan Alexiev has worked with a lot of materials over the years, but he is mostly known for his cereal mosaics and landscapes like the Wizard of O’s and The Land Of A Million Cereals.

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Artist Creates Sculptures from His Own Chewed Nicotine Gum

Slovak artist David Havetta has created a collection of unique sculptures from thousands of nicotine gum pieces he chewed himself, while trying to give up smoking.

The 65-year-old artist says he started smoking as a young boy, but decided to quit about 25 years ago, so he searched for alternatives to keep him busy and away from cigarettes. At one point he discovered nicotine gum, but had no idea it will eventually become the main medium of his unique art. During work, David started sticking the chewed up pieces of gum on a pen holder he had in his office until he formed one big lump. When he pressed his finger on it he noticed it was good, malleable material, so he decided to try and sculpt it, out of boredom.

Havetta’s first chewing gum artwork was the head of a woman, and he liked working with the material so much that he spent the next few months creating a body for it, as well. It took a lot of time and a total of 500 pieces of nicotine gum, but for the artist it was all worth it. Just so you realize how long it takes to make one of his nicotine gum sculptures, you should know David has only created a few dozens of them in the last twenty years. They include a horse, flowers and even an old table clock modeled after The Toilet of Venus by Diego Velasquez. They are all made of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces of gum.

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Students Recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night with 8,000 Bottle Caps

Two students from the University of Virginia have created a pixelated replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” using around 8,000 colorful bottle caps.

I don’t know how they got their hands on so many bottle caps, but I’m sure Ross Thomas and Elizabeth Farrell made quite an impression on their teachers and colleagues when they unveiled this recycled version of Starry Night. Around 8,000 bottle caps were used to complete the 7′ by 9′ masterpiece, but although the number itself is pretty impressive, what I find most amazing is how they used the colors and logos of the caps in just the right places to create a beautiful artwork.

I don’t know what it is about Van Gogh’s masterpiece that bottle cap artists love so much, but I think it just might be the most bottle cap reproduced artwork in history. Take a look at some other versions of Starry Night, at the bottom.

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Juan Osborne’s Pictures Really Are Worth a Thousand Words

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of Spanish amateur artist Juan Osborne that is literally how things stand. Using several hundred thousand words he manages to recreate famous images and icons that have put their mark on the world.

Osborne searches for the most popular words associated with his subjects, then uses his netbook and a custom software to piece them together and recreate the image. “Words are powerful, they go straight into the human mind and really add something to my pictures that you can’t get from a regular picture taken with a camera. Mine have stories behind them that can be read, which is pretty unique,” the artist says about his works.

People usually think he’s kidding when he tells them he only uses a netbook uses a software he created himself to make the images, but to Juan it seems only natural. He feels free without the need to use commercially available software and if he needs something extra he can just create another application. While adding over 200,000 words to a single image is pretty time-consuming, the young artist says he has been doing it for so long that his skills have improved to the point where he can complete an artwork in just a few days time.

The biggest work Juan Osborne has completed so far contained 500,000 words, but he plans to beat that record and reach the 1 million mark. The only problem he faces is finding a place to print an image that big.

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Jane Perkins Proves One Man’s Junk Is Indeed Another’s Treasure

British artist Jane Perkins creates beautiful works of art using everyday objects like marbles, toys or buttons picked up from recycling centers, second-hand shops and junkyards.

Jane Perkins worked as a nurse for 17 years, in a London hospital, before she decided to explore her artistic talents and got a degree in textiles in 2006. For her graduation thesis the artist chose a topic that would later be associated with her name  – “Recycled Materials in Art and Design”. She began her successful career by creating stylish brooches mad with discarded jewelry, coins, sea shells and other found junk, but soon moved on to other more complex and impressive works.

Taking inspiration from Ecuadorian artists who take broken pieces of jewelry and implement them in original hair designs, and from the found objects themselves, Perkins creates colorful masterpieces exhibited all around the world. She loves to make art with an element of fun and unexpected and says she will use anything colorful that she can get her hands on. Luckily, Jane doesn’t have to scour second-hand shops and recycling centers as much as she used to, as people in her neighborhood learned about her art and began leaving bags of unwanted stuff on her doorstep.

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Retired Farmer Spends 30 Years Building Scale Model of Herod’s Temple

Alec Garrard, an 80-year-old retired farmer from Norfolk, England, has spent the last thirty years working on a 1:100 scale model of Herod’s Biblical Temple.

Mr. Garrard has liked creating models all his life, but as he was getting older, he began thinking about a single big project that would see him through to the end of his life. Having always been interested in architecture and religion, the retired farmer thought to combine his two passions and create a unique scale model of Herod’s Temple. He had seen one or two other models of the structure during Biblical exhibitions, but he didn’t find them accurate enough, and he knew he could do better.

The expert model-maker started working on the project when he was in his 40’s. He first spent more than three years just researching the Biblical temple and then began constructing the model, exclusively by hand. The retired farmer cut the plywood frames of the temple walls, baked all the clay bricks in the oven and then stuck them together, and even sculpted and painted 4,000 half-an-inch figurines and dressed them in costumes. It looks absolutely amazing, but Alec Garrard says “I have been working on it for decades, but it will never be finished as I’m always finding something new to add”.

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Cancer Survivor Makes Drug Jewelry to Pay off Medical Debt

Susan Braig, a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena, California, began making jewelry from medication as a form of therapy, but now sells her creations to pay her medical bills.

Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy in 2004. She remembers she bought her first round of medicine our of her own pocket; it cost her $500 and looking at the little pills she got for that much money, it made her wonder if they were little gems. But the idea of actually using medication as jewelry came to Susan Braig in 2007, when she participated in a medical-themed art exhibition organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation. She decided to create a mock Tiffany & Co. jewelry advertisement for the exhibition, using different kinds of pills as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, but she eventually ended up making a princess’ tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer pills, as well as several other pieces. They were a hit, and many show-goers told Susan she should open her own jewelry line.

Now, seven years after starting her treatment, Susan Braig is cancer-free and running her own jewelry line, called designer Drug Jewelry. Friends and fellow cancer survivors donate their own old and leftover medicine, and she uses them to create colorful accessories priced between $15 and $150. She sells them at craft shows, where she wears a white medical robe, and is considering distributing them to hospital gift shops. The pills used for the over 500 pieces she designed so far are coated with a sealant and glued to the costume jewelry, to make them “non-abusable” as she says. The jewels come in an ordinary pill bottle, wrapped in a ribbon and placed in small bags made from surgical face masks.

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Designer Makes Impressive Gown from Discarded Children’s Books

Boston-based fashion designer Ryan Novelline has created an amazing fairytale dress using only pages from children’s Golden Books.

If you had any doubts regarding human creativity being endless, this unique creation will definitely make you a believer. Now I’m not very big on fashion, but I know impressive when I see it, and Ryan Novelline’s gown made entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

The skirt is made entirely of illustrations from the book sewn together with metallic gold thread, while the bodice is made from the books foil spines. Both have tape backing for reinforcement. The total surface area of the skirt is 22,000 square inches.

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The Mind Blowing Paper Collages of Nathalie Boutté

Nathalie Boutté is a talented French artist who uses thousands of simple strips of paper to create impressive collages.

Born in 1967, Nathalie lives and works in Montreuill, near Paris, where she experiments with all kinds of types of paper, to obtain the results she desires. She has always been passionate about paper, and has worked with everything from tissues to old novel pages and lately, translucent tracing paper. After the sheets of paper have been cut into long strips, they are layered in a way similar to tiles on a roof, revealing only their tips, which act like pixels in a giant collage. Although most of her artworks are pretty big, the dedicated artist says she isn’t scared of working with large formats, on the contrary, the bigger the collage, the more impressive it is. And I have to say, Nathalie Boutté’s pieces are pretty impressive.

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Cube Works Makes Twisted Artworks from Dozens of Rubik’s Cubes

Solving a Rubik’s Cube is pretty tricky, but using dozens of them to create portraits of famous figures and recreate artistic masterpieces sounds even harder.

Toronto-based Cube Works Studio is a collaboration of graphic architects and “cubers” who use the popular Rubik’s Cube to create an art form that is retro yet avant-garde. Throughout the years, the studio has produced dozens of Rubik’s Cube artworks so impressive and detailed that people often wonder if they’re not taking the cubes apart and use the colored squares individually to create mosaics. But that’s not the case, as many photos and videos taking during the creative process prove.

Apart from their intricate celebrity portraits and artistic recreations, the guys at Cube Works have also set a few world records, including a monumental recreation of the Sistine Chapel’s centerpiece made of over 12,000 Rubik’s Cubes and a 4,050 Rubik’s Cube replica of The Last Supper. This may not be the original purpose Erno Rubik had in mind for his toy, but I’m sure he’d be happy to see it used as an art medium.


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Licorice Mosaic Portraits by Jason Mecier

Jason Mecier is a famous mosaic artist who uses all kinds of materials, from sweets to pills and recyclable junk, to create incredibly detailed portraits of celebrities and pop icons.

Looking at the masterpieces Jason Mecier creates, you’d find it hard to believe he has no formal art training, but he is indeed a self-taught artist with incredible talent. His greatest inspiration is his grandmother who nurtured his artistic inclination ever since he was just a child. The artworks she created mesmerized him as a boy, and Jason remembers she was the one who encouraged him to create art using materials readily available to him. You can say he followed her advice to the letter, as he is now known as one of the world’s most gifted junk artists.

The first time I heard about Jason Mecier and his unique artworks, was when he created a series of pill portraits of celebrities who had drug problems throughout their careers. This was back in January of 2010, and since then Jason has completed his portfolio with all kinds of other beautiful creations made of various materials. Some of them are part of his RedVines portrait series, made of delicious licorice.


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Meet Dalton Stevens – The Button King

Dalton Stevens, from Bishopville, South Carolina, has earned the title of Button King after he spent 15 years stitching and gluing thousands of buttons on all sorts of objects.

The Button King’s story began one night in 1983, when his insomnia prevented him from falling asleep. Back then, television went off at two in the morning, so he had to find something to pass the time. Searching through his old things, he found an old denim jumpsuit and started sewing buttons on it. Two years and ten months later, Dalton was still a chronic insomniac, but his jumpsuit was covered with 16,333 buttons and weighed 16 pounds. Remarkably as that sounds, it was only the beginning of his incredible experience with buttons.

Even after completing his button tracksuit, Stevens kept attaching thousands of buttons on various stuff. He glued 3,005 buttons on his guitar and 517 buttons on his shoes. His banjo, piano and his 1983 Chevette soon followed, and before long, his unique occupation grabbed the attention of the media. He was featured on a local television show, from there on CNN, and pretty soon the entire world knew the story of the incredible Button King. He was invited on popular television shows like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Geraldo, Regis & Kathy Lee, where he would wear a button-covered outfit and play his banjo.

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Artist Makes Celebrity Portraits from Thousands of Circles

Using an original technique he calls Digital Circlism, artist Ben Heine creates detailed portraits of celebrities like Eminem, Bob Marley or Elvis Presley.

A Belgian artist born in the Ivory Coast, Heine is most famous for his Pencil vs Camera series, which was covered by many of the major online media outlets, but his Digital Circlism portraits are equally, if not more impressive. Using a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4, he applies thousands of circles on a black background, until he creates a colorful, realistic portrait. You might think he uses some kind of automated process to apply every circle, but that’s actually the most remarkable thing about Ben Heine – he adds every one of the circles individually. Each circle has a different color, a different tone and a different size, which makes creating a single one of these artworks very time consuming. His latest work, a portrait of hip-hop icon Eminem, is made exclusively with flat circles on a black background, and took nine days of intensive labour to complete.

A new technique, developed by Ben Heine himself, Digital Circlism could certainly develop into an important artistic movement.


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