The Mind-Blowingly Realistic Wine Paintings of Thomas Arvid

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If you’ve been hanging around Oddity Central for a while, you probably know I have a thing for hyperrealism. I find it amazing how some artists can simply guide a paintbrush to create photograph-like artworks that almost always fool the naked eye.

Case in point, Thomas Arvid, a self-taught painter who creates wine-related paintings that look like professional high-resolution photos. In the past, we’ve featured amazing works by talented artists the likes of Alyssa Monks or Denis Peterson, but Arvid’s creations really are unlike any I’ve ever seen. His incredibly realistic compositions of wine completely redefine still life and put the Marietta-based artist at the forefront of the hyperrealist art movement. Thomas’ mastery of light, depth and reflection, as well as his ability to capture a traditional subject like wine in a completely new style have brought him international acclaim.

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Croatian Woman Creates Popular Made-to-Measure Penis Warmers

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If we can have warm clothing for our heads, hands and feet, why leave out male genitalia? That’s exactly the attitude of the Croats, who used hand-knitted woolen penis warmers in the past. The centuries-old tradition has now been revived by a 55-year-old Croatian woman, Radmilla Kus. An avid knitter, she started off by making slippers for tourists, but her ‘willy warmers’ have turned out to be far more popular. When the orders started pouring in she just couldn’t keep up with them, so she had to hire a small army of knitters. Radmilla also conducts 90-minute courses, showing participants how to make the warmers

Winters in Croatia’s mountains are so severe that frost-bite was a serious problem for men in the past, especially during long horse rides. So to avoid permanent damage to their genitals, the warmers, called “Nakurnjak” came into use. They were more popular in the Mrkopalj mountain region of Croatia, where wives would knit penis warmers for their husbands. According to Radmilla, “Wives believed that keeping their man’s private parts warm allowed him to remain fertile and increased their chance of having children.” It’s funny, because in hotter countries such as where I come from, men are advised to keep their genitals cool to improve fertility!

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Artist Turns Confiscated Scissors into Creepy Spider Sculptures

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Every year, the Transportation Security Administration confiscates countless objects deemed dangerous from passengers boarding flights at airport terminals across the US. Apart from guns, knives or aerosol, a lot of scissors end up in their recycling bin. Enter Christopher Locke, an artist who figured out he could actually use scissors to create creepy sculptures of spiders.

It’s a known fact that spiders don’t have many human fans. Most people just think they look creepy and would simply squish them given the opportunity, even if they don’t pose a real threat. But, that’s not really a viable option when talking about the scissors spiders of Christopher Locke. You’d have a hard time stomping on one of them without having your foot pierced by sharp metal, so you just kind of have to accept them. Reminiscent of a classic Tim Burton movie, these metal sculptures are created from disassembled scissors, bent into shape and welded together in the creepy shape of spiders.

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Ilha de Queimada Grande – Brazil’s Scary Snake Island

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An aerial view of the Brazilian island of Ilha de Queimada Grande, you would agree, looks breathtaking. It’s probably a place where you would love to spend an exotic vacation. But this is an excellent example that looks can be very deceiving. If you were to set foot on the island, you would always be no more than 3 feet away from your death. Because for every square meter of land on the island, there is a very deadly, very poisonous snake.

Ilha de Queimada Grande is located about 90 miles off the shore of Brazil. The island is, not surprisingly, devoid of any kind of human presence. The Brazilian Navy has forbidden people from visiting the island, except for a few scientists who need special approval. The reason – the presence of highly dangerous Golden Lancehead snakes. The lanceheads that occupy the island of Ilha de Queimada Grande can grow anywhere between half a meter to 2 meters long. The venom these snakes inject is so powerful that it can kill two men at once. This venom is fast-acting too, since it simply melts the flesh surrounding the bite. The scaly creatures breed all year round, producing 50 babies each time. With no enemies, the snakes have been able to take over the island and populate it quite freely. They survive mainly on migratory birds that use the island as a resting point.

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At The Generous Store Chocolates Cost Good Deeds Instead of Money

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If Charlie Bucket could win Willy Wonka’s entire chocolate factory for a good deed, why can’t we be awarded with at least a box of chocolates, right? Turns out we can! At The Anthon Berg Generous Store money is of no use, because all it takes to get some delicious chocolate is the promise of a good deed.

The pop-up chocolate store, located in the center of Copenhagen, opened its doors to the public last month. Inside, the boxes of candy are marked with unique price tags: ‘Don’t comment on your girlfriend’s driving for a week’, ‘Serve breakfast in bed to your loved one’ and ‘No talking behind your girlfriend’s back for a month’. The most popular of them all is ‘Help clean a friend’s house’. Hardly anyone touches the box that says ‘A week where you don’t lie to your father’.

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Controversial Cinnamon Challenge Becomes Internet Hit

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It’s things like the Cinnamon Challenge that strengthen my belief that people will do the dumbest things if they think it’s cool. Because who in their right mind would want to stuff their face with a tablespoon full of cinnamon just for fun? The answer – thousands. And would you believe the Governor of Illinois is one of them? Yep, Gov. Pat Quinn took in a spoonful of that stuff on air, in response to a challenge. He followed his act with the words, “The will of the people. The law of the land.” I don’t know about you, but I’d think twice before giving him my vote. Right now, there are over 30,000 videos on YouTube tagged ‘Cinnamon Challenge’. The most popular ones have millions of views.

The Cinnamon Challenge is basically a dare to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in powdered form, without water. It’s the latest rage and it has gone beyond viral. The challenge itself has been around for years, but the sudden spike in its popularity remains unexplained. It seems like a simple thing to do; just swallow the stuff and be done with it. In reality, however, it isn’t all that easy. The problem with cinnamon is that it does not break down easily. So the chances of it getting stuck in the throat are pretty high, causing gagging and even vomiting. Doctors have said that this could be very dangerous, because cinnamon can also prevent air from entering the lungs, which could lead to lung inflammation.

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Indian Man Bathes with Boiling Milk Once a Year

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India is a land of ancient culture, with practices that date back thousands of years. It is hard to trace the origins of any particular ritual, let alone remember the significance behind them. With no logical explanation available, several Indian practices seem superstitious and sometimes even a tad foolish. However, this does not deter the people of India from participating in religious and cultural celebrations with gusto.

One such example is the festival of the nine evenings, Navaratri (Nava=9, Ratri=Evening), celebrated every year in the month of October. Dedicated to different versions of the Goddess, all 9 days are filled with festivities, good food, music, dance and religious ceremonies across the country. Living in India, watching the Navaratri for me is a part of normal life. But then I heard about this man who is certainly unusual, even for Indian standards. Every year, during Navaratri, he bathes with pots of boiling milk. And he comes out of the experience, unscathed.

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Mind-Blowing Charcoal Mural Is a Finger-Painting Masterpiece

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Fingers are definitely not the weirdest thing we’ve seen artists paint with (just check out this tongue painter and the girl who paints with gravity) but I had no idea someone could use their fingertips to create such detailed work.

We first featured Judith Braun’s finger paintings a few months ago, but while her artworks were beautiful then, she hadn’t created anything as impressive as this latest charcoal mural. I mean, looking at the photos below, can you believe she painted exclusively with her fingertips? The 12-foot by 48-foot masterpiece was created using Braun’s signature technique, which basically involves her covering her fingertips with ground charcoal and guiding them across the canvas. Entitled Diamond Dust, this magnificent piece is Judith Braun’s largest site-specific project to date.

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Chinese Artist Creates Transformers Theme Park

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It might look like the set of a new low-budget Transformers movie, but Mr. Iron Robot is actually a newly-inaugurated Transformers-themed park in Jiaxing City, China’s Zhejiang Province.

49-year-old artist Zhu Kefeng and his team have spent the last 10 years building giant metal robots from recycled iron and steel parts. He started out by making a realistic model of a car, then opened his own studio and began creating more intricate sculptures. He soon started doing commission work for people who liked his art, and for large orders he even set up a recycle bin where people could donate discarded metal parts. Zhu started working on Mr. Iron Robot theme park in 2010, with the money he had raised for selling his metal sculptures and his apartment in Shanghai. He and his team of collaborators worked hard and managed to turn an old abandoned factory into a modern attraction featuring over 600 Transformers-inspired sculptures.

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Holland’s Repair Cafes Breathe New Life into Broken Objects

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Got something in your home that needs fixing? Take it with you on your next trip to Holland. They have a ‘Repair Café’ there, where you can get almost anything fixed. The concept café, sponsored by the Dutch State, is the brainchild of former journalist Martine Postma. She felt that the Dutch people tend to throw away too many things, even the ones that can be easily fixed. Moreover, in modern times people have lost the ability to fix simple things, she says. So as an environmental initiative, she started the Repair Café in Amsterdam, with the intent of bringing together the people who can fix things, and those that need them fixed.

Postma basically believes that people would rather not throw away their stuff. And she sure did turn out to be right. What started off as a local initiative became an overnight success. Today, there are about 20 Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, and another 50 are being planned. A Repair Café Foundation was set up in 2010, where Postma now works full time. The foundation provides volunteers with information on how to set up their own café. The frequency of the cafes range from once a month to twice a week, and are held at a rented workspace.

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The Gun Powder Drawings of Cai Guo Qiang

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Also known as China’s most explosive artist, Cai Guo Qiang uses gun powder to create some truly unique works of art. His technique of igniting gun powder on a paper canvas is considered a new medium of contemporary artistic expression.

Fire and explosion seems to be a very popular art theme these days. We’ve recently covered the works of Radya Timofey, a 23-year-old artist who paints with Molotov cocktails, and Rob Tarbell, who guides the smoke of open flames to create detailed artworks, so Cai Guo Qiang fits right in. The famous Chinese artist started using gun powder as an art medium in 1989, when he used fuse lines to create explosions that lasted between 1 and 15 seconds, for public audiences. But his works has evolved a great deal since then, and he now uses modern technology to create much more detailed works, and even aerial explosions supervised by experienced pyrotechnicians.

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Serene Seascape Mural Made of 500,000 Fishhooks

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Cuban artist Yoan Capote uses all kinds of unusual materials to create beautiful art installations. For one of his latest project, Isla, he used around 500,000 fishhooks to build a photo-like seascape mural.

Throughout the years we’ve featured a lot of talented artists with the power of turning everyday objects into stunning masterpieces, and today we’re proud to add Yoan Capote to our ever-growing list. The Cuban artist is famous for the way he manages to take common household objects and create beautiful artworks, but I think his latest creation is also his most impressive one. Named Isla, the 26-foot-wide mural was assembled out of half a million intertwined fishhooks, nails and oil. Looking at it from a distance, you’d think it’s just a photo of the calm open sea, but as you draw near, the secret behind the realistic seascape is revealed. Even with the help of 30 assistants, Yoan Capote took since months to complete his fascinating fishhook mural.

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Beautiful Leila Khaled Portrait Made of 3,500 Lipsticks

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Last year, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali paid homage to Leila Khaled, a woman revolutionary who became famous as “the poster girl of Palestinian militancy” after hijacking a plane, in 1969. He created a unique portrait made of 3,500 lipsticks for an art exhibition at Birzeit University.

We’ve featured many awesome pixelated portraits on Oddity Central, like the one made of plastic bottle caps, by Marry Ellen Croteau, or that of Shannon Larratt, made of 10,000 metal nails, but this is the first one we’ve senn made of thousands of lipsticks. Using the famous photo of Leila Khaled holding an AK-47 and wearing a kaffiyeh, taken by Eddie Addams as reference, Amer Shomali created a sort of canvas out of lipstick holders and then arranged 3,500 lipsticks of 14 different colors to best recreate the Palestinian icon’s visage. Called “Icon”, Shomali’s artwork was featured in a an art exhibition organized at Birzeit  University.

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Artist Uses Lovers as Living Paintbrushes

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Alexander Esguerra,  a New York-based artist, has invented the perfect recipe for love and art to go hand in hand. The couples who participate in his sessions not only get to make love, they also get to take a great souvenir home – a piece of art born from their sensual ‘act’.

Esguerra invites couples to cover themselves in non-toxic, water based paint and then ‘do as they please’ on a canvas on the floor. At the end of the love-making session, what results is a wonderful painting for the world to admire. It’s just like making babies I guess, equally messy, but without any diapers to be changed later. The concept has caught on pretty well, and is turning out to be quite popular. So much, that he’s actually converted it to a business called ‘Love and Paint’. The art packages are provided at luxury hotels, starting at $2,500. There have been fifty couple participants so far.

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Plot – A Stunning Cityscape Made of Carved Potatoes

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Artist Peter Root spent three weeks carving 80 kilograms of potatoes into office buildings, homes and various other structures, using only a knife and a bicycle repair kit. His unique potato city model is called Plot.

Although Plot was created in Istanbul, 33-year-old Peter Root says his creation wasn’t modeled on the Turkish city, but rather influenced my various aspects of the historical city. The artist, who eats potatoes at least once a week, says he chose the popular vegetables because they are available in abundance and are “amazing to work with”. They can be carved, sliced, chopped, drawn into, balanced and dried, Root said. Lucky for him, the artist didn’t have to peel all 80 kg of potatoes, as he decided to leave some of the skin intact, to encourage the growing of shoots.

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