Vietnamese Man Shows Off Car Made Almost Entirely Out of Wood

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It’s not the world’s first wooden car, but it is the first of its kind in Vietnam. Featuring a body made exclusively from high-quality wood and decorated with intricate carvings, the Achilles has been turning heads on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

The one-of-a-kind vehicle was created by Le Nguyen Khang, owner of Binh Duong-based wood processing firm Le Lumber. He told reporters the idea of building a wooden car started off as a joke, while he was talking to an English friend who works in the travel business. One day, he jokingly asked Khang, “Working in the wood processing industry, can you make me a wooden car?”. Little did he know the silly question would plant a seed in Le Nguyen’s brain, who started thinking seriously about making a car from wood. After all, he had all the materials he needed, and could count on the help of several professional woodworkers from his company. The sketch for his unusual automobile was completed in April of 2011, and with the help of 11 of his best employees, he worked on it for 16 months. The Achilles was finally completed last month, and as soon as he started driving it around the city, people assaulted him with all kinds of questions and requests to have their pictures taken with it.

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The Awe-Inspiring Matchstick Architecture of Patrick Acton

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Patrick Acton is known as the world’s best matchstick artist for a reason. His extensive collection features scale wooden models of iconic film locations like Lord of the Rings’ Minas Tirith and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Wizardry, made from hundreds of thousands of matchsticks.

Acton was one of the first artist I wrote about, when I started Oddity Central, almost five years ago. He was working on one of his masterpieces, a detailed model of the famous fortress city Minas Tirith, as seen in the Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King, from 420,000 matchsticks. Since then, he’s built lots of other astonishing matchstick sculptures and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. The 59-year-old American artist, who works as a career counselor in Gladbrook, Iowa, started his career as a matchstick modeler back in 1977, when he pieced together a small-scale replica of a local church from 500 matches. He did it all with only Ohio Blue Tip matches purchased at the grocery store, a bottle of school glue, a utility knife, and a piece of sandpaper. He had always enjoyed working with wood and tinkering with things around his parent’s home, and after graduating from college, matchstick modelling became an enjoyable hobby. Although he has achieved worldwide notoriety for his mind-blowing creations, Patrick Acton continued to work as a counselor and dedicated only a few hours a night working on his fragile models. He recently accepted Ripley’s offer to build models for their Odditoriums, full time.

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This Photo Is Actually a Pencil Perfect Drawing

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At just 22 years old, Italian artist Diego Fazo has developed the skill to create photo-realistic drawings using a simple charcoal pencil. His latest creation, pictured below, has drawn hundreds of positive comments on his Deviant Art profile.

Don’t tell me you can tell the image below is a drawing and not a high-definition photograph, because I don’t buy it. In fact people were so skeptical this incredible piece of art was drawn by hand that young Diego Fazo had to put up some photos of the work in progress just to lay doubts to rest. And looking at his-mind-blowing masterpiece, can you really blame people for  questioning it’s hand-drawn?

Like other talented artists who started their careers on Deviant Art, Diego is a self-taught pencil master whose technique matured with the passing of the years. He started out as a tattoo artist, and developed a passion for creating photo-realistic drawings. Inspired by the works of Japanese artists from the Edo period, like Katsushika Hokusai, he managed to capture people’s imaginations with his precise lines and oriental drawing techniques.

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Cheesy Presidential Portraits Made from Cheetos

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Cheetos commissioned artist Jason Baalman to create portraits of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney out of their puffy orange snacks. Unveiled on October 3, the edible artworks measured 3 feet by 4 feet and numbered over 2,000 individual Cheetos.

Jason Baalman, who’s known for his portraits of celebrities created in alternative materials (ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.), is no stranger to Cheetos. In the past he has used the popular snack to make detailed portraits of pop icons like Conan O’Brien, CeeLo Green and Rachel Ray. This time, the PepsiCo-owned company asked him to do two portraits of the presidential candidates, based on two recent Facebook profile photos. Not one to say no to a challenge, Baalman started work on the the two “big cheeses” in his Colorado Springs, Colo., studio. Painstakingly sorting over 2,000 Cheetos for each portrait, and gluing them in just the right position on a black canvas, the young artist spent around 100 hours on the project. Just like his previous cheesy portraits, the ones of Obama and Romney look good enough to eat.

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Brooklyn’s Superhero Supply Shop, No Villains Allowed

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Think you have what it takes to become a superhero, but lack all the necessary accessories and superpowers? Don’t worry, in the real world, antimatter and immortality can be bought by the gallon. Well, at least at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Shop they can.

Sure, most comic book superheroes made their own costumes, but these are busy times, and it’s more convenient to buy them That’s where the Superhero Supply Shop, in Brooklyn, New York comes is. If you have a few buck to spare, you can conceal your true identity behind a cool mask in no time at all. But capes and costumes are just a few of the awesome things you can find in this amazing place. Just because we haven’t all been blessed with incredible strength, mind control powers or lightning speed, doesn’t mean we can’t be superheroes, right? It just means we have to buy our superpowers, and there’s no shortage of those at the Brooklyn Superhero Supplu Shop. You can find x-ray glasses, grappling hooks, cans of gravity, cloning fluid, and even an invisible jet that costs $42 million. Whatever you need to make crime-fighting easier, these guys have it.

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Beautiful “Paintings” Hide a Mind-Blowing Secret

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You’ve probably seen hundreds of nature-inspired paintings like the ones created by Russian artist Alexander Yurkov. But, although you can’t tell at first glance, his works are truly unique. In fact, they’re not even real paintings…

It’s a real shame awe-inspiring artworks like the ones created by Alexander Yurkov remain unknown to most of the western world, while other less impressive works get loads of attention on art and design sites and in famous galleries. This Russian master spent decades perfecting a technique he developed himself that involves creating painting-like mosaics exclusively out of dried leaves, grass and flowers. That’s right, there isn’t a single stroke of paint or pencil in the masterpieces below, only cleverly selected and positioned tree leaves, pieces of dried grass and withered flowers. How he manages to get the color tones and shades so perfect that it makes people stick their nose to the artworks trying to spot the actual leaves and making sure there’s no oil paint involved, is beyond me, but it’s this mystery that makes Yurkov’s art so intriguing.

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El Bosc de les Fades – Barcelona’s Fairy Tale Cafe

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If you’re looking for an other-worldly experience in the Catalonian city of Barcelona, look no further than El Bosc de les Fades (The Fairies’ Forest), a unique cafe decorated as an esoteric land of fairies.

Tucked away off Las Ramblas, on Pasatje Banca next to the Wax Museum, El Bosc de les Fades is one of the most unusual attractions of Barcelona. As the name suggests, this offbeat venue was inspired by a fairy forest, complete with an artificial woodland of snaking branches, trickling waterfalls, will-o-the-wisp lights, weird demons lurking in mirrors, various optical illusions  and, of course, fairies. It’s kitschy, yet original, and most people enjoy the novelty of it. The main room of the cafe offers plenty of seats under the lush artificial vegetation, or at the bar that’s also been decorated to fit the fairy tale theme, but for visitors who want the full-immersion effect of this place, there’s the private grotto where they can get lost in the very depths of the mysterious forest. And if you’re looking for a creepier fantasy setting, El Bosc de les Fades also features a “haunted house” room complete with eerie mannequins and a magic mirror in which apparitions suddenly appear and then vanish again.

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Human Motorcycles Made from Body-Painted Yoga Gurus

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To promote the upcoming Progressive International Motorcycle Show, advertising and branding studio i.d.e.a. created a series of human motorcycles from the contorted bodies of yoga experts and circus performers.

We’ve seen impressive body-painting and displays of yoga skills before, but these human motorcycles are in a category of their own. “We sought to combine the art of the motorcycle with true art, thereby elevating the ads to something people would want to look at, enjoy, and share,” i.d.e.a. said about their unique project, and they’ve certainly achieved their goal. Photos and posters of their creations have gone viral on the Internet, and for good reason – they are simply spectacular. They employed the talents of professional body painted Trina Mery to turn a team of yoga experts, circus performers and flexible dancers into a speed bike, cruiser, and dirt bike to be ridden by the Progressive International Motorcycle Show’s host, Erin Bates. They did such a good job that in some photos you can’t even tell she’s just riding a bunch of people, not a real motorcycle.

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Awesome Starry Night Mural Made from over 1,000 Doorknobs

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David Goldberg, the owner of a hardware store in Bethesda, Maryland, decided to repurpose his extensive collection of doorknobs and other door accessories by using them to recreate Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

It’s crazy how many people choose this specific artwork to unleash their artistic talents. So far, we’ve featured all kinds of Starry Night recreations, from a quilled version, to one made with spices and food colorings, and even an edible replica made from delicious bacon. This time we have another original version created from over 1,250 collected doorknobs. As a hardware store owner, David Goldberg put together an impressive collection of American and imported doorknobs and other door accessories, and instead of throwing them away, selling them for scrap or melting them he, decided to recycle them in a very artistic fashion and create a unique advertisement for his business at the same time. It took him four months, but he managed to build an amazing large-scale mural depicting Van Gogh’ famous Starry Night. Now people passing by his store in Bethesda, stop and stare at the glistening work of art, in awe of his original repurposing idea.

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Illustrator Creates Incredibly Detailed Drawings Inside Matchbooks

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Jason D’Aquino is an expert miniaturist who unleashes his talent on all kinds of recycled objects, from ledgers, leaflets, vintage calendars to small pieces of paper and even tiny matchbooks. And to make sure everyone understands just how skilled he is, the man doesn’t do some simple doodles, he recreates the Mona Lisa, vintage movie portraits and even portraits of icons like Marilyn Monroe.

Drawing the kind of stuff Jason D’Aquino does is hard enough on a large canvas, but he manages to do it on the inside of matchbooks. Using high-magnification goggles, like those used by jewelers, the artist sketches incredible artworks only a few inches in size, sometimes even under an inch. The self-declared miniaturist seems to love small surfaces and has always enjoyed the challenge of seeing how small he can draw. As a child, he was always fascinated with his mother’s artworks, and says he had a pencil in his hand since before he could walk. Although he remained faithful to the graphite pencil, his art got smaller and smaller as he grew older. At first it was just a matter of convenience, but soon shrinking his art became a challenge. At the rate he’s going, he probably going to need a microscope pretty soon.

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Button Crazy – London’s Pearly Kings and Queens

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The Pearly Kings and Queens of London, commonly referred to as “pearlies”, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England. They raise funds to provide a better way of living for those less fortunate, but they’re best known for their flashy outfits decorated with thousands of pearl buttons.

Pearlies can be traced back to the year 1875, when the organisation was founded by Henry Croft, a 13-year-old street sweeper and rat catcher who dedicated his life to raising money to help children raised in orphanages. Henry himself was an orphan, and after he left the orphanage, at age 13 he became fascinated by London’s costermongers, a guild of colorful street traders who always helped one of their own when he was in trouble. They would organize a “whip round”, collecting money to help fellow costermongers get back on their feet. Traditionally, costers elected Kings’ to lead them against bullies seeking to drive them from their’place of business. They all wore clothes decorated with pearl buttons so they could easily be identified. The buttons were sewn down the outside leg seam of their pants, from the knee down to the ankle, on the pockets of their waistcoats and the front of their caps. Henry was fascinated both by their lifestyle and their dress code and decided to take their fashion style to a new level by decorating a whole suit with pearly buttons, while at the same time raising money for various causes. He became an attraction wherever he went, and one point he was so popular that Hospitals and other charities started asking him to collect money for their causes. But he needed help in his quest to help the sick and poor, and it help from his costermonger friends, who later became known as the Pearly Kings and Queens of London.

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Hananuma Masakichi – The Artist Who Recreated Himself from Wood

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Hananuma Masakichi is one of those extraordinary artist who never really got the recognition they deserved. This Japanese sculptor created a life size statue of himself that is almost 100% identical in appearance to its maker. Although created over a century ago, the Masakichi sculpture still baffles artists and scientists alike.

Masakichi started working on his greatest masterpiece after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He believed he was going to dies soon, and decided to create a life-size statue of himself as a gift for the woman he loved. In 1885, when his artwork was finally completed, it was so life-like and realistic-looking that people couldn’t tell which was the fake even when the real Masakichi stood next to it. Working with adjustable mirrors, the Japanese artist made each of his body-parts separately, using strips of dark wood. The number of strips he used differs between 2,000 and 5,000, depending on which source you believe. No nails were used during the building process, the wooden strips were all assembled using dovetail joints, glue and wooden pegs. They are joined so perfectly that no seams can be seen on the wooden statue, even with a magnifying glass. The level of detail achieved by Masakichi is so mind-blowing that it reflects every tendon, muscle, vein, bone, wrinkle, down to the pores on his body. The anatomically-correct eyeballs he created for his statue still have opticians wondering how he made them.

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Artist Traps Bolts of Electricity Inside Clear Acrylic Blocks to Create “Captured Lightnings”

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Want to give someone a unique present? How about a bolt of lightning? Bert Hickman’s work of art are literally stunning. He creates “Captured Lightnings” by blasting clear blocks of acrylic with millions of volts of electrical charge, using a high-energy particle accelerator, creating permanent “fossilized” tree-like patterns that reflect light like microscopic mirrors.

Bert Hickman’s works are scientifically known as Lichtenberg figures, only the artist and his physicist friend Todd Johnson have managed to turn them into artworks by creatng lightning bolts in the shape of butterflies, stars, trees and even the Yin Yang symbol. 65-year-old Hickman breaks down the process of making his Captured Lightnings: “To create our sculptures, we rent “beam time” on a 5 million volt particle accelerator. As the accelerator injects huge numbers of electrons inside a clear acrylic plastic specimen, a huge electrical charge (typically 1 – 2.5 million volts) builds inside.” He also manually creates an escape path for the electrical charge, a weakened path through the acrylic, to achieve the desired shapes. While the electricity escapes in a short lightning-like discharge, the intense heat from this miniature lightning leaves branching patterns that are permanently captured within the acrylic. These patterns are a ‘fossilized’ chain of microscopic fractures and tubes that reflect light like microscopic mirrors.

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Russian Teacher Creates Mind-Blowing Modular Origami Models of Famous Cathedrals

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42-year-old Sergei Tarasov, a school teacher from the Russian village of Tigritskoe, has recently completed an incredibly detailed modular origami model of Moscow’s St. Basil cathedral, from over 10,000 A4 sheets of paper.

Origami is as hard as it is impressive, and it just amazes me how some people can just take some common pieces of paper and turn them into something wonderful. Take Sergei Tarasov, an Arts teacher from a rural area 502 miles south of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, who creates modular origami masterpieces from thousands of pieces of paper. His latest creation is a mind-blowing 1.5-meter-tall model of the iconic St. Basil cathedral, in Moscow, which took around a year to complete. Without even using a sketch for his projects, the teacher created 60,000 modular pieces and assembled them into this fragile wonder. The artwork was presented during the “Rus Masterovaya” festival dedicated to showcasing arts and crafts talent of Russian teachers.

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English Artist Creates Detailed Button Mosaics

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English artist Ann Carrington uses hundreds, sometimes thousands of everyday objects to create awe-inspiring mosaics.

Not everyone looks at buttons, safety pins or metal coins and sees art, but for Ann Carrington, “all objects are saturated with cultural meaning. Mundane objects like knives, gloves, shoes, shells and tin cans come with their own ready-made histories.” Whenever she decides on what material she’s going to use for a certain work, there’s a certain reason for her choice. For example, her Pearly Queens series made with buttons was inspired by the Pearly Queens and Kings fashion movement, in London, while her bluejeans-made flag of America is a homage to this iconic American symbol.

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