The Photographic Pencil-Drawn Portraits of Franco Clun

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Italian artist Franco Clun uses only pencil and paper to create these incredibly realistic portraits that can easily be mistaken for photographs. Believe it or not, he’s a self-taught drawing master who has never studied art…

I’ve always found hyperrealism fascinating, and the collection of articles on this amazing art genre that I’ve posted on Oddity Central throughout the years is proof of that. I never get tired of looking at drawings and paintings so masterfully executed that they resemble high-resolution photos, and I consider myself lucky whenever I discover the works of truly gifted artists, like Franco Clun. The Italian-born master of the pencil says he has never taken art classes and that everything he knows he learned from experience and from reading some drawing manuals. I guess you can say he’s living proof that practice makes perfect, and that following your passions in life can truly lead to amazing things. Although he has had to take a long break from drawing to dedicate himself to other things, his love for graphite remained strong, and now he’s wielding his trusty pencils again to create marvelous works of art.

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Belarusian Woodcarver Makes Intricate Clocks Exclusively from Wood

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In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine someone making accurate clock mechanisms without using a single piece of metal. And yet, Andrey Martyniuk, a woodcarver from Belarus, manages to create intricate clocks exclusively from wooden components.

As a child, Andrey Matyniuk loved to sketch. He then got an education as an engineer, and later in life developed a passion for wood carving. After a master carpenter told him that wooden clocks are the pinnacle of perfection, he decided to combine all his skills to create artistic yet functional mechanism exclusively from wood. Bit it was easier said than done, and the ambitious woodcarver spent three years working on his first wooden clock. He tried copying the mechanism of a metal clock, but although the principle is exactly the same, there are two important things to take into consideration to ensure the clock measures time accurately – the softness of the material and the humidity of the environment. After years of experimenting, the master learned he had to increase the size of the gear teeth and treat the wood with a special compound to make it resistant to humidity. He also found that wood had a big advantage over metal – it has a much lower coefficient of thermal expansion, so it is much less affected by temperature changes than metal.

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Money Artist Makes Beautiful Collages from Thousands of Old Soviet Banknotes

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Igor Arinich is known as the “Money Artist”in his home country of Belarus. He earned that nicknamed after he became famous for creating intricate collages made exclusively from old Soviet banknotes.

He is not the only artist in the world who uses money as his main medium. In fact, he started doing it himself after seeing the works of an American artist who made dollar collages, and he knows of another Russian artist who makes art from modern Rubles. But after trying to imitate them by using modern Belarusian currency, and euros, he realized none of today’s banknotes are as beautiful and colorful as old Soviet bills. So he began visiting flee markets in his city of Minsk, buying every Soviet banknote he could find, dating from 1961 to 1991. It all started as a hobby, but after people became interested in his craft, he decided to become a professional artist. Although he doesn’t want to reveal the number of money collages he has sold so far, Arinich says he charges between $700 and $2000 for his unique artworks, and many of them are sold abroad.

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Indian Sculptor Makes Creepy Bust of Favorite Politician from His Own Blood

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An Indian man known only as Hussaini has recently unveiled a shocking work of art – a bust of J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu state, made from 11 litres of frozen human blood, donated by him and 32 of his students.

Apparently, nothing shows admiration for a person like making a creepy sculpture of them from human blood. At least that’s what Hussaini, a sculptor and archery teacher from Chennai, must have thought when he got the idea to create a bust of Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha out of his own frozen blood, for her 65th birthday. The noted artist wanted to thank the politician for being the “most sports loving CM of India” and for her support to his archery association, and since he had a few liters of his own blood stored for special occasions, he decided to put it to good use. You see, Hussaini has had his blood drawn at three-month intervals, over the last eight years, waiting for an opportunity to use it as a medium for his sculpture. But he only had 6.5 liters of blood, and this special project required 11. Luckily, his 32 archery students were more than willing to donate the extra 4.5 liters needed to complete the project.

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Steve Casino’s Celebrity Figurines Are Nuts, Literally!

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Steve Casino, better known as the “Painter of Nuts” creates detailed celebrity figurines out of peanut shells and mixed media. His collection includes big names like James Brown, Andy Warhol or Elton John.

One day, Steve Casino was eating peanuts, when he noticed one was kind of looked like him. So he started painting a cartoon version of himself on the shell and showed it to his friend, Neil. He thought it was pretty funny, and this inspired Steve to pursue this idea further. He decided to try a celebrity next, so he picked out another peanut and did Joey Ramone, of punk rock band The Ramones. It turned out pretty good for a first attempts, but he got much better at it with each new peanut figurine he made. Trying o perfect the technique, looking for the right materials and painting detailed faces was a lot of fun, and Steve was hooked. Now he’s known as the Painter of Nuts and his work is starting to get some much-deserved publicity on the Internet.

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Woman Spends a Year Building Hogwarts Replica from 400,000 LEGO Pieces

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LEGO master Alice Finch has spent over 12 months piecing together an impressive model of the Hogwarts school of magic, from the Harry Potter movies, complete with decorated and populated interiors.

LEGO makes its own official Harry Potter sets, but they weren’t enough for master builder Alice Finch. While the mother of two understands why the Danish toy company makes sets that are only finished on one side and accessible on the back, she wanted to build her own version that was architecturally accurate with 4 walls and a roof, minifigs scale, and also playable for big and little hands. She had been to many of the places in Oxford were some of the movie scenes were shot, so she already knew what it should look like. Still, Alice did plenty of research for her LEGO Hogwarts: she consulted J.K. Rowling’s books, watched the blockbuster Harry Potter movies and even went to the Harry Potter studio tour in London to see the sets in person. Many times, the details in the books and those in the films didn’t coincide, so she had to choose what worked best. But, after 12 months of piecing together her monumental model from around 400,000 LEGO pieces, she had created every Harry Potter fan‘s dream – her very own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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Artist Recreates the World’s Most Famous Cities from Cardboard Boxes

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Using only corrugated cardboard boxes and glue, renowned English artist Chris Gilmour has managed to recreate some of the world’s most famous cityscapes in stunning detail.

We first featured Chris Gilmour’s amazing cardboard sculptures back in 2009, but his latest project, titled “You can build anything when you put your mind to it“, is probably the most impressive one yet. The talented artist used common packaging boxes and glue to build models of some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and did it all in record time. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Gilmour managed to make a 40-foot-wide replica of London in just two days. Featuring the river Thames at the center, the fragile work of art also includes an intricate replica of Big Ben, a functional model of Tower Bridge and a rotating cardboard Big Eye. Part of an advertising campaign for the Bankers Box brand, the project also included incredibly detailed cardboard replicas of Paris and Berlin.

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Who Needs a Paintbrush When You’ve Got Magic Fingers

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You probably thought finger painting was just for kids, but Iris Scott is determined to prove you wrong. Wearing a pair of latex glove, the American artist dips her fingers in color paint and wiggles them on the canvas to create beautiful work of art.

“I see the world through ‘finger painted’ colored glasses,” Seattle-based Iris Scott says. “I paint what I see. Finger paintings are hiding everywhere, sometimes I catch them when I’m walking down the sidewalk, or lounging in a living room.  I search for color relationships, and intriguing forms.” The young artist discovered this ingenious painting technique while on a relaxing artistic retreat in Taiwan. She was exercising her painting techniques in an air-conditioned room, when she realized she needed to go clean her brushes before switching to bright colors. But that required leaving the room and facing the high temperatures outside, so Iris just put away her painting tools and started using her fingers. ”I knew within 10 strokes that finger painting with oils was what I would spend the rest of my life doing,” the 28-year-old remembers about that very first finger-painting experience.

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Beautiful Word Paintings Are Made with Deconstructed Book Text

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Jamie Poole works mainly as a landscape painter and art teacher, but today we’re going to look at his unique style of painting with words by using shredded poetry and book text to create   incredible works of art.

WE’ve featured some pretty unbelievable text artworks in the past, from John Sokol’s hand-written portraits of famous writers, to the detailed dog portraits of Florida-based artist Stephen Kline, but English artist Jamie Poole sets himself apart by using shredded pieces of text from poetry books and novels. His works are all large scale, meaning he has to use hundreds, sometimes thousands of deconstructed text pieces to achieve the effect he’s looking for. Despite the rigidity of the material he uses for his artistic pieces, compared to the commons paintbrush or pencil, Jamie Poole always manages to nail every detail he desires, from perfectly placed shadows, to little things like the glow in his subjects’ eyes, or rebel hair strands that make them look so much more realistic.

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Computer Programmer Spent Two Years Creating Awe-Inspiring World Map Mosaic from 330,000 Tiny Glass Shards

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49-year-old Chris Chamberlain, an IT worker from London, England, spent the last two years of his life piecing together the “Jewel of the Universe”, a giant mosaic of Earth made with 330,000 hand-cut pieces of stained glass, each smaller than a fingernail. Now, he’s trying to sell his magnificent artwork for £250,000 ($380,000).

Chris Chamberlain has always had a thing for the arts, but he can’t paint or draw to save his life. But what he can do is cut glass into tiny little pieces, so he decided to use this skill to create his very own impressive work of art. The Jewel of the Universe project started over two years ago, in the artist’s garage. Using NASA photos of Earth, he set out to create a unique mosaic of our planet, from glass and precious stones. It took Chamberlain six months just to cut the glass into little pieces, and another 21 months to set them in just the right place on a 3.18m x 2.18m sheet of perspex, using a pair of tweezers. During this long painstaking process, the English computer programmer even had to train himself to become ambidextrous, in order to avoid repetitive strain injury. Practically every hour of his free time was spent on this incredible mosaic, and Chris admits his wife didn’t see very much of him during these last two years.

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Amazing Fantasy Creatures Brought to Life by Talented Artist

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It doesn’t happen every day, but I sometime get the chance to write about something truly special. This is definitely one of those rare occasions. Ever wondered what the creatures of your imagination would look like in real life? I’m sure you have, but just like me, you probably lack the talent and patience to actually take them out of your dreams and into reality. Luckily, artist Wood Splitter Lee is both incredibly talented and patient-enough to do it. Plus, her imagination is so much better than mine…

Do you know what a Tundra Stag looks like? How about a Moondust Wolf? Relax, you’re knowledge of zoology is probably not that bad. The only way you could have know about these fantastic creatures is if you lived inside Wood Splitter Lee’s head. The young Virginia-based artist breathes life into the figments of her imagination by sculpting them in clay and covering them with vividly-colored fur. Horned wolves, fire foxes, ice dragons, forest guardians, they’re all real in Lee’s astonishing art collection and she makes them all look so incredibly life-like you’re tempted to think these stills from an awesome fantasy film you somehow missed, and not just really good photos of hand-made sculptures. As a huge fan of mystical creatures, I am in awe!

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Artist Turns Adorable Teddy Bears into Creepy Zombies

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Nothing seems to escape the zombie epidemic sweeping the planet; not even fluffy teddy-bears. English artist Phillip Blackman uses zombie-flick special effects makeup to turn the lovable toys into creepy undead that will keep you awake at night.

45-year-old Phillip Blackman, from Suffolk, England, says the idea for his zombified teddy-bears was born from a silly joke between him and his partner. “She had a terrible cold at the time and we’d been talking about a gift for a friend’s baby. With a very stuffy nose ‘teddy-bear’ kept coming out as ‘deady-bear’, and we joked about zombie teddies that creep from under your bed at night to feast on your brains while you sleep,” the artist remembers. He eventually became quite intrigued by the idea of making undead toys, so he bought a bunch of teddy-bears from eBay. But it was during that time that his girlfriend became pregnant, and in the chaos of moving to a new house and starting a family, Phillip forgot all about his creepy projects. Years later, while sorting his son’s soft toys, he came across the teddy-bears he had bought, and decided to put the his old idea into practice. And that’s how the wonderfully-creepy Undead Teds came to be.

UndeadTeds zombie Teddy bears by Phillip Blackman, Ipswich, Suffolk, Britain - 01 Feb 2013

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Young Artist Creates Portraits from Thousands of Chewed Pieces of Gum

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Anna Sophia Matveeva, from Makiivka, Ukraine creates sticky portraits of celebrities from a very unusual material – used chewing gum. Every one of her artworks numbers over 1,000 pieces of chewed gum.

22-year-old Anna Sophia Mateeva says she came up with the idea of making art with chewing gum by accident. She was traveling with a friend in a car and they were both chewing on the rubbery treat when she realized the elastic texture of the gum made it an ideal art medium. She found a few brands of colored bubble gum and decided to give it a go, only it wasn’t as easy as she thought. Instead of chewing on every piece of gum, Anna tried soaking them in water and then modelling them with her hands, but she noticed the material became crumpled and would not stick to the canvas. The artist later learned it’s an enzyme in our saliva that makes the gum such a great material to work with, so she started chewing away at her provisions, until she realized it was impossible for her to chew all the gum she needed, by herself. And this is where it gets disgusting…

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Josh Bryan’s Triangulations – Captivating Celebrity Portraits Made with Triangles

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I’ve never been a fan of geometry, but I found Josh Bryan’s artistic use of a basic geometric shape simply irresistible. The 20-year-old English artist uses triangles of various sizes to create incredibly detailed portraits of celebrities he calls triangulations.

“The creative process is quite simple,” Bryan told My Modern Metropolis.  ”I make sure the image I use as a reference isn’t too well-known, even though the subjects are. I then map triangles over the face drawing, around the different tones on the face. The lines are added in afterwards to determine the amount of tone needed in each triangle.” When I first saw some of his works, I was convinced they were digital renderings made with advanced software like Adobe Illustrator, but it turns out every line is drawn by hand with black fineliner pens. After examining these incredible artworks more carefully, I noticed some of the lines weren’t perfectly straight, proof that the almost computer-like portraits were indeed drawn by a human hand.

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The Fascinating Wooden World of Livio De Marchi

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Venetian artist Livio De Marchi is like a real-life Gepetto. Except, he doesn’t need a fairy god mother for his works to come alive. De Marchi’s works of art are so life-like, sometimes it’s hard to tell they’re made of wood.

The tools that De Marchi works with are fairly simple – a hundred varieties of chisel dated back to 1964, an old hammer and a steady hand – but the stuff he produces is nothing short of spectacular. A wooden replica of a leather jacket he made looks so real, you’d actually reach out to try it on if you didn’t know better. The only distinguishing factor between real and wood is that he doesn’t paint any of his creations, because he believes that the grain and knots of the plain wood are very intriguing. He spends hours at his workbench every single day, producing masterpiece after masterpiece.

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