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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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Chinese Transformers Fan Builds His Own Army of Robots

All geeks love Transformers, but Yang Junlin of Huizhou, China, took his passion for the franchise to a whole other level when he opened the “Legend of Iron” factory and began producing his own robots.

Remebre that uber-cool Megatron Tank we featured a few weeks back? That was one of Yang Junlin’s iron masterpieces, but I had no idea he had created hundreds of other incredible metal sculptures. In 2006, after retiring from the army, Yang went to a concert where various steel sculptures were placed on display. Some of them were simple human figures created from twisted metal wire, but they made such an impression on him, that he decided to try and make his own steel works.

A year later, Yang Junlin opened his own factory, Legend of Iron, and hired over 10 workers to help him realize his dream of building cool robot sculptures. They use all kinds of scrap metal, from old car parts to simple sheets of steel andcreate some of the most amazing looking Transformers replicas I’ve ever seen. Although he admits his work is quite time-consuming, Yang has built over 1,000 iron sculptures since he opened Legend of Iron, five years ago, and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

Check out more photos of the geek eye-candy Legend of Iron creates, after the break:

 

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Creepy Post-It Art by John Kenn Mortensen

John Kenn Mortensen is a Danish artist who uses the common post-it as canvas for his mysterious and scary artworks.

While other modern artists search for ever larger canvases to express their artistic talents, Mortensen lets his imagination runs wild on the tiny sheets of paper we know as post-its. Most of us use them as reminders around the office, but the Dane sees post-its as tiny canvases that allow him to quickly render the creepy products of him imagination, and get them off his mind, so he doesn’t stress himself to them over them.

A professional character animator by trade, John Kenn Mortensen says he has always enjoyed drawing, but his recent ghoulish post-it artworks are inspired by the works of Stephen King and H.P. Lovercraft. Although he didn’t expect any type of response, John Kenn admits he’s pleased so many people enjoy his work.

Check the artist’s blog for his latest post-it creations

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Unbelievable Pen and Ink Art by Sagaki Keita

Japanese artist Sagaki Keita recreates famous artworks out of thousands of whimsical characters he created using his own imagination.

Looking at the creations of this talented 27-year-old artist, I can’t help but remember my childhood days when I would doodle all kinds of drawings on the back of every notebook I had. But while my drawings were just plain silly, Sagaki’s are true masterpieces. Looking at his artworks from afar, they just  seem like well executed recreations of popular paintings and sculptures, but as soon as you approach, you notice there’s something more to them. Thousands of small characters come together so perfectly to create a complex yet very detailed composition that simply blows your mind.

Sagaki Keita doesn’t reveal much about his technique on his official site, but he doesn’t really need to, his incredible works really are worth a thousand words.

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Toothpick Artist Creates Detailed Toothpick Portraits of Celebrities

Steven J. Backman, one of the world’s most talented toothpick artists, creates detailed portraits of celebrities and icons exclusively out of toothpicks.

The first time I visited Mr. Backman’s official site I was fascinated by his incredible models of famous landmarks made from a single toothpick, which I presented here on Oddity Central, a while back. But I remembered seeing a series of incredibly detailed portraits that the artist creates exclusively out of wooden toothpicks, and just had to show them to you guys.

Using dozens of toothpicks and glue, Steven J. Backman manages to create unique masterpieces that look like the work of a talented graphic designer. He obviously spends a lot of time working on them, because the likeness and attention to detail are simply amazing.

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The Wristwatch Motorcycles of Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau

Talented Brazilian artist Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau creates beautiful motorcycle miniatures using only parts from old wristwatches.

Pfau’s passion for motorcycles began in the 1960’s. He owned various types of motorcycles, some of them modified and inspired by the movie “Easy Rider”. But the artist born and raised in Blumenau, Santa Catarina was also fascinated by the arts, and it was only natural that his artistic talent and passion for bikes combine in a unique project. At first, he developed several motorcycle images, but after reading about artists who created motorcycle miniatures out wood, pottery, wire and other materials, he decided to make similar artworks, out of a completely new medium – wristwatches.

The time pieces that inspired Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau’s creations were collected with a help of a friend who happened to own a wristwatch shop. Through an advertising campaign, clients were encouraged to give their old watches as a first installment on the purchase of a new one. This provided the artist with the necessary materials to experiment and create his unique wristwatch motorcycles.

Although Pfau only creates his art during the weekends, he has a collection of hundreds of motorcycles made exclusively from wristwatch components. They have been showcased at jewelry fairs and art exhibitions throughout Brazil and several other countries.

 

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Thai Parliament Building Made from 200,000 Food Cans

If you’re a fan of Canstruction art, you’re going to love this – a group of Thai students have built a replica of the new Thai Parliament building using around 200,000 food cans.

The event took place during the “Health Food and Ingredients Thailand 2011” exhibition and, as you can imagine, grabbed a lot of attention. The 200,000 cans were all placed by hand, and this one-of-a-kind replica of the Thai Parliament will most likely find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Just like it happens in Canstruction events, I’m sure the cans will be donated to various charities, as soon as the sculpture is dismantled.

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Artist Creates Impressive Punching Bag Portrait of Muhammad Ali

Using tear-shaped punching bags, steel wire and aluminum pipes, internationally renowned artist and sculptor Michael Kalish has created an awe-inspiring monument that pays homage to one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali.

Kalish, who is famous for his license plate portraits, came up with the idea for a complex installation dedicated to Muhammad Ali when he was falling asleep one night, in 2008. He had already met the Ali family, after Lonnie Ali (Muhammad’s wife) saw a report on the artist’s license plate works and commissioned a piece. This led to a long-lasting relationship which eventually inspired the remarkable artwork known as reALIze. But Michael Kalish knew he couldn’t pull off a complicated project like the one he had imagined, so he reached out to architectural firm Oyler Wu, for help.

Made up of 1,300 raindrop-shaped punching bags, 6.5 miles of stainless steel cable and 2,500 pounds of aluminum pipe, reALIze is a monumental 22-foot-high tribute to one of the world’s greatest boxing icons. The coolest thing about this thing is that if you look at it from any side it looks like a whirlwind of hanging punching bags, but if you look at it from a certain point, in the front, you’ll see a clear portrait of Muhammad Ali.

“I love turning ordinary objects into extraordinary works of art. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m honored I could create this monument to pay homage to such an incredible man.” Kalish said about his magnificent work. reALIze will be unveiled on March 25th, at Nokia Plaza L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, where Muhammad Ali himself is expected to make an appearance and hang the last punching bag.

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