Nit Wit Ridge – A Mansion Built Entirely from Junk

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Nit Wit Ridge is such a whimsical name for a house. And I must say, the place completely lives up to its name. The 90-year-old two-and-a-half acre ramshackle home on the outskirts of Cambria, California is a Historic Landmark in the area and a fine example of folk art. It is located just a few miles down the road from another famous landmark, the Hearst Castle. Nit Wit Ridge is one-of-a-kind because it was built using millions of bits and pieces of recycled trash, and took over 50 years to complete. Arthur Harold Beal, a.k.a. Captain Nit Wit or Der Tinkerpaw, was a local trash hauler and loved all things rubbish. He basically suffered from the inability to throw anything away, collecting everything that the Cambrians threw away. So he used all his collections over the years, along with natural materials on the property to build the house, an effort that took him nearly a lifetime to complete, given his self-taught construction skills.

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Natural Canvas – Artist Etches Beautiful Illustrations on Mushrooms

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If you like unique art mediums, you’re going to love Corey Corcoran’s work. The Boston-based artist uses mushrooms as canvases for his original illustrations.

Creating really good illustrations is hard enough on paper, but on the surface of Ganoderma applanatum (also known as Artist Conk mushroom) is even harder. You can erase a mistake on a piece of paper, but once something is etched into the skin of the mushroom, it can’t be undone. But that doesn’t seem to bother Corey Corcoran, on the contrary, it’s probably one of the things that attracted him to this weird choice for a canvas. He has to be very precise when engraving the fruits of his imagination into the mushroom, using the changing shades of brown to create truly unique works of natural art. The size of his works ranges from six inches to two feet, depending on the mushroom canvas, and the theme mostly revolves around plant life, insects, and people.

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$100,000 Luxury Tree House Is as Comfortable as a 5-Star Hotel

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Britain’s most luxurious tree house belongs to builder Chris Whalley. The incredible abode that he unveiled just last week took him over seven months and £60,000 ($98,000) to build. Located in Blean, Kent, Whalley’s tree house is made almost entirely out of driftwood that he gathered from a nearby beach and is meant to be his holiday home. What’s most unique about the house itself is that it comes with all the comforts a five-star hotel has to offer, including plumbing, electricity and even a rustic décor that goes very well with the natural surroundings.

I must say that I’ve fallen in love with this quaint little house, just looking at the pictures of the interiors. There’s something so charming about the place that it reminds me of the Beatrix Potter books I read as a child; of course, with some modern conveniences as well. The beds are covered with the finest Egyptian cotton linen, and the bathrobes and towels are from Waters and Noble. The kitchen crockery is also top of the range. Some of the pieces of luxury furniture in the house are well worth over £1,500. Everything inside the house is one-of-a-kind, including the concrete-wood effect kitchen worktop and the tree trunk sink. As if all this wasn’t good enough, Whalley’s house even comes with an elevated hot tub, for the ultimate experience in luxury. The entire construction rests 20ft above the ground on a 25 ft red cedar tree, making it not only the most deluxe habitable tree house in England, but also the highest. It is located among other holiday log cabins that Whalley built six years ago. Naturally, the view from the house is brilliant.

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Lighting Up Christmas – The Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando

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The Philippines is home to a variety of Christmas traditions, but particularly famous is the Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando, the capital of the province of Pampanga, a 1.5 hour ride from Manila. Locally, the festival is known as the Ligligan Parul. It showcases the most popular product of Pampanga – the ‘parol’, or lighted stars. The artisans of Pampanga are renowned for their ability to create the biggest and most elaborate parol in the country. Each year, the best parol makers of the region show off their creations at the Giant Lantern Festival, vying for the title of ‘winning parol’ and lighting up the night sky.

In the early days, parol had simple star shaped designs, but they have evolved a lot over the years. Today, the biggest ones are about 40 feet in diameter and shapes vary from floral patterns to religious symbols. They are generally made from materials like soft drink straws, crepe paper, glass, plastic, bamboo dowels, and some even contain assorted electronic parts. For the artists who make the parol, excelling at their work is a matter of pride and building a reputation. Several hours go into the making just one of these superb works of art, and the cost can rise to several thousand dollars. Of course, once the Holiday Season is over, their creations have little use.

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Sweet Art – The Gummy Bear Artworks of Johannes Cortes

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Gummy bears are a favorite treat for millions of people, young and old, but for German artist Johannes Cordes they are a muse, an art medium and his trademark. Cordes uses thousands of delicious gummy bears to create colorful works of art.

Johannes Cordes, from Meppen, Germany, somehow resists the temptation to stuff his face with the thousands of gummy bears in his studio and instead uses them to create unique works of art, including portraits and recreations of famous paintings. The idea of using the gelatinous medium came to Cordes by accident. A few years back, he was building  a custom painting for a friend in his Nuremberg studio, but when he was done, it turned out the frame was too big for the artwork. He was disappointed, but when he spotted an open bag of gummy bears next to the now-seemingly useless frame he realized all the colorful treats would make a nice composition. So he started piecing together an image from the differently-colored sweets on a canvas, and put in on display in the window of his workshop. It was supposed to be a gag to amuse passers-by, but after a few days that “joke” was sold, and JohannesCordes had found a unique art medium…

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Living Art – Museum Masterpieces Painted on Human Bodies

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Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector have found an ingenious way to combine their passion for 19th century art with modern body-painting. The artistic duo recreate classic paintings from museums around the world on to Chadwick’s body, in a special art collection aptly named “Museum Anatomy“.

We’ve featured some pretty impressive example of body-painting in the past, but nothing like what Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector create. The two artists from Austin, Texas, contact museums across the world, asking for permission to access and photograph their 19th century paintings. According to Peta Pixel, they’re always looking specifically for works that haven’t been exhibited in the last 50 years (if ever). After they’ve found a painting they would like to recreate, they either take a photo of it, or ask the museum to send them a professional documentation. Then the real work begins – repainting the artwork on Chadwick’s body. They start by projecting an image of it on to his body, while he tries different positions until they find the perfect pose. Once that’s done with, Laura spends between 8-15 hours in one sitting trying to reproduce every detail, using special-effects makeup. But the painstaking process yields some mind-blowing results.

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The Matchstick Fleet of Bernardo Cassasola

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Argentinian artist Bernardo Cassasola has spent a large part of his life building ship models exclusively out of matchsticks. Now, he’s the proud owner of an entire fleet of incredibly detailed wooden vessels.

“It’s related to life. When I want to be somewhere I just sit down and I can fix my gaze on what I do. I feel wonderful sensations. I can be anywhere in the world because I’m just working with matchsticks,” Bernardo Cassasola once said, in an interview with Reuters. The 63-year-old artist from Argentina has been creating matchstick models since the age of 13, and as the years past, his creations became larger and more detailed. His impressive collection numbers millions of matchsticks, and includes musical instruments like guitars, banjos and violins, architectural models and impressive ship replicas. Throughout his life, Cassasola created a number of extremely accurate matchstick galleons, but his most noteworthy masterpiece is, without a doubt, the 10 feet six inches (3.2 m) war ship he worked on for 7 and a half years. This painstaking labor of love features stunning details like a tiny wooden helm, a scope, down to the handles of the ship’s doors. The multi-decked galleon was unveiled in 2008, when Bernardo Cassasola also announced his next challenge – a 10-meter-long replica of the Titanic made from matchsticks. This guy should definitely meet Wayne Kusy, the man who builds ships with toothpicks, I’m sure they’d have a ball.

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English Artist Creates Masterpieces by Painting with Tea

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Liverpool-based artist Carne Griffiths creates magical artworks by combining traditional mediums like ink with drinks like tea, vodka, brandy, whiskey and other alcohols.

39-year-old Carne Griffiths relies on drinks to make his art stand out. He isn’t the only artist to find his inspiration in drink, famous masters like Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali enjoyed a glass of alcohol to release their creative talents, but Mr. Griffiths has a very different approach – he uses them as paint. “I have drawn with fountain pen for many years, often with plain water washes. When I decided to leave my post of creative director at an embroidery firm to pursue a love of drawing I experimented with liquids such as brandy,” Carne said in an interview about his medium choices. “I liked the effect this had on the inks I was using but decided that an alternative that wasn’t such a wasteful crime would be a better option so I started experimenting with different types of tea.” Using a combination of ink and tea allows the English artist to create repeating layers which he then partly washes out with various types of tea, and making new drawings out of what appears beneath.

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Belgian Hotel Lets You Spend a Night in the Human Digestive System

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Up until now I’d always associated Belgium with chocolates. But not anymore. Not since I read about the gut-wrenching (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration) experience that customers have at the Hotel CasAnus, located on a small island halfway between Antwerp and Ghent in Flanders, Belgium. The place is just as horrendous as it sounds, at least as far as exteriors are concerned. Shaped and designed like an enormous human intestine, the hotel is the creation of Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout. The place is one large human colon, and the finishing touch is the rear – a giant replica of an anus.

Not everyone might envision spending their vacation inside a structure dedicated to the human digestive system, but surprisingly, a large number of people are actually interested in such an experience. The interiors aren’t all that bad, featuring double beds, showers and central heating. Run by Belgian art lovers Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens, who purchased it as a part of their collection at the 30-acre Verbeke Foundation sculpture park, is certainly one of the most unique hotels to spend your vacation at. According to Carla, “guests are really happy to sleep undisturbed in a place surrounded by nature. They can see black swans and frogs and discover the stars in the night sky, as well as visiting all our different exhibitions. More and more travelers are coming to us from all over the world to explore what they call a ‘unique place’.” That’s no exaggeration, stats show that more than 20,000 tourists visit the Verbeke Foundation each year and many of them choose to stay at CasAnus. Several other activities take place at the foundation, like art exhibitions of collages and bio art.

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Israeli Artist Upcycles Bicycle Chains into Intricate Dog Sculptures

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Israel-based artist Nirit Levav has found a way to create beautiful art an recycle metal, at the same time. She uses discarded bicycle chains to create realistic sculptures of man’s best friend.

Nirit Levav Packer graduated from the Parsons School of Design, in New York City, with a degree in fashion design. She built a career for herself, specializing in bridal gowns, but after years of working in the fashion industry, Nirit realized she couldn’t satisfied her artistic urge to create solely as a designer. so she started broadening her education by studying iron sculpting, pottery, jewelry and ceramics. Although her newly acquired skills helped develop as an artist, it was at her father’s theater sets workshops that she most of her training, including welding, metal cutting and experimenting with various materials and substances. The time spent in her father’s workshop also inspired her love for recycling, as nothing was ever thrown away there and everything could be used to create something new.

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Controversial Artist Unveils Work Created with Hundreds of Dead Insects

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Damien Hirst is known as one of the most controversial artists of our time, and his latest work only adds to his reputation. Capaneus, part of the ‘entomology‘ series that hirst has been working on since 2009, features hundreds of insect species placed in intricate geometric shapes and fixed in place with household gloss paint.

Considering many people find insects, spiders and scorpions disgusting or even frightening, it’s fair to say Capaneus is not an artwork for the faint of heart. However, considering Hirts’s past “masterpieces” include a diamond-encrusted baby skull, and an installation where maggots hatched, developed into flies and feasted on a severed cow’s head in a glass box, I’d have to say his latest creation is one of the least controversial. According to the English artist’s website, “this work’s title derives from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ which recounts how the warrior king Capaneus is struck down with lightening and thunder bolts by the angered deities whom he has held in contempt. Dante’s account originates from the Latin epic poem ‘Thebaid’ in which it is described how, body and helmet aflame, Capaneus falls from the walls to the ground below where he lies outstretched, ‘his lifeless body as immense as that of a giant.” Like the rest of the artworks in the “entomology” series, Capaneus alludes to Hirst’s long time interest in the nineteenth century fascination with natural history and the irony involved in having to kill something in order to look at it.

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24K Gold Pills Will Make Luxury Addicts Poop Gold

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Created back in 2005 by by late New York artist Tobi Wong in collaboration with Ken Courtney, these swallowable 24G gold pills are said to turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth”.

Gold Pills were originally launched by Wong and Courtney as part of their ‘Indulgence’ line – an art project that comments on society’s ‘ever-expanding market of luxury items’, but in the last seven years, they’ve become quite the hit with luxury addicts, and their price has skyrocketed to $425. That’s probably just chump change for rich kids looking for new ideas to take their already decadent lifestyles to new heights, so it’s no wonder Citizen:Citizen, the webstore selling the pills states that they are ‘temporarily unavailable’. It’s not clear if for the above-mentioned price you get one or three gold pills, but I bet some of the people who bought them actually swallowed them to see if it makes their poop glitter. Either that or they are really big fans of Tywin Lannister.

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Anamorphic Illusion Master Likes to Play with Our Minds

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Something about the image below is not what it seems, but you probably guessed that already. Why else would such a common looking photo be posted on a site like this, right? But can you guess what’s strange about it?

These are not the first time I post anamorphic illusions on OC, but I’m pretty sure they are the most realistic yet. The trick is actually very simple: YouTube artist Brusspup skews high resolution photos of ordinary objects, then films them from just the right angle to make them look incredibly realistic. So real, in fact, that even after he reveals the illusion, you still can’t wrap your head around how on Earth he makes seem look so real. If you just can’t believe your eyes, Brusspup was kind enough to provide the high-res images of the images in his video, so you can try out the trick for yourself. The slat-lined template must be printed on a transparency sheet and, Brusspup reminds us, if you’re printing on an ink jet, you must use the transparencies that are made specifically for ink jet printers. Also, don’t mess around with the size settings, or you’ll probably end up with an optical illusion that is more baffling than it’s supposed to be.

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Ukrainian Artist Creates Incredibly Detailed Artworks from Sand and Seashells

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Svetlana Ivanchenko is a talented Ukrainian artist who uses overlooked natural materials like sand, seashells, quartz, tree roots and tree bark to create wonderful mosaics that look almost painted by hand.

Born and raised in Yalta, on the shores of the Black Sea, Ivanchenko was always fascinated by the abundance of natural materials that surrounded her. She studied at the Crimean Art School, under the supervision of renowned artist Sergei Bokaeva, and later graduated from the Glukhivskiy Pedagogical Institute. The artist currently based in the city of Dnepropetrovsk uses a variety of sand, shells, quartz and tree parts to create amazing works of art inspired by her place of birth and the warmth of the female body. It’s hard to believe, but every little piece of material used to create the artworks is placed by hand, and no coloring other than that of the composing elements is used. As Pinar from My Modern Metropolis notes, Svetlana “merges the various textures and colors brilliantly, making it difficult to imagine the frames being made of anything else.” Her natural masterpieces have been exhibited in international galleries, and many of them reside in the private collections of connaisseurs in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Estonia and the Dominican Republic.

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Polish Artist Builds Mind-Blowing Matchstick Church Models

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Children are generally not permitted to play with matchsticks, but nothing could keep Wieslaw Laszkeiwick away from the tiny sticks of wood. Ever since he was a child, building models out of matchsticks has been more than a pastime for the self-taught master. He treats the activity like a prayer. And what he likes to build most are houses of prayer. Now 58 years old, this Polish folk artist works with hundreds of thousands of matches, pieces of cardboard and microscopic slides for several months at a time, creating beautiful replicas of churches around the world.

Laszkeiwick lives in a wooden house with his son, where one of the rooms is used as a workshop. It’s in this room that he spent over 40 years creating detailed structures using matches. One of Laszkeiwick’s most notable works was a replica of the 17th century monument, the Church of St. Nicholas in Zamosc. The completed structure stood almost 5 feet tall and was intended to be a gift to Pope Benedict XVI. What pleased him so much about the St. Nicholas church was its spherical dome. To create the replica, he used almost half a million matchsticks bound on to matching paper. After the building was complete, he covered it with several coats of varnish and special glue that prevents the matches from warping after they are attached. He also mounted a bulb inside to illuminate the intricate stained glass windows, made from hundreds of pieces of glass. Elements such as doors and gates were carved, and a he fashioned a bell out of specially prepared matches. It took him a whole year to complete the project.

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