Mind-Blowing Portrait Created from Thousands of Coffee Stains

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Just weeks after she took the Internet by storm with her incredible portrait of Yao Ming, created only with a basketball and red paint, Malaysian artist Hong Yi strikes again, this time with a realistic rendition of Taiwanese singer Jay Chou made with coffee stains.

The young artist begins her unusual creative process by taking a sip of coffee. Like most of us, she spills some of it in the small saucer and that apparently inspires her to use the dirty bottom of the cup to start a sepia tone masterpiece. At first the coffee cup stains look just like the ones you can spot on table cloths in cheap restaurants, but as she progresses, her work starts to take shape. First you can make out the outline of the head, then the nose and mouth, the eyes, and before you know it you’re staring at a realistic portrait of Jay Chou made with coffee stains, and struggling to lift your jaw off the floor.

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Ukrainian Artist Creates Fantastic Religious Icons from Millions of Knots

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Using a special knot weaving technique called macrame, Ukrainian artist Vladimir Denshchikov creates mind-blowing religious icons made almost entirely of linen thread.

Born on July 1, 1952 in Kiev, Vladimir Denshchikov graduated the Kiev Theater University and went on to become and actor. He worked his way up  to director and artistic director of the Simferopol Crimea Maxim Gorky Academic Russian Drama Theater, and since 2007 he has been teaching acting and directing at the Simferopol Institute of Culture. Quite an impressive professional career, but this national artist of the Ukraine is mostly known for his unique hobby – making incredibly detailed religious icons from linen thread, using a technique called “macrame”.

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Artist Makes Stunning Sculptures from Shattered CDs

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Instead of throwing away old CDs, like most of us do, Sean Avery transforms them into incredible sculptures he classifies as sustainable art. Sure, you’ve seen CDs used as decorations before, but I assure you, they’re nothing like what this man makes.

Pieces of shattered CDs are pretty hard to work with when you’re trying to recreate an organic shape, but somehow Sean Avery manages to piece together animal and bird models that look amazingly realistic. Using special layering techniques, he is able to make something as pointy and sharp as CD shards look as smooth as feathers or animal fur. “I blend many different man made materials together to make them appear strangely organic, with a distinct sense of movement” the artist reveals about his unique process.

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Mind-Blowing Animal Artworks Painted with Heat

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Self-taught artist Julie Bender is a master of pyrography – the art of drawing with heat. She combines this artistic talent with her love for animals and nature to create incredibly detailed sepia works of art.

Pyrography, the art of burning or scorching a natural surface like wood or leather with a heated tip or wire was first practiced thousands of years ago by the Egyptians and African tribesmen attracted by the power of fire. Impressive as it was in its early days, pyrography has come a long way since then, especially since Melbourne architect Alfred Smart discovered a way to pump benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil, thus creating an instrument that allowed artist to create tinting and shading, which were previously impossible. In the early 20th century, the invention of the electric pyrographic hot wire machine took the ancient art to a new level, and modern tools have become so advanced that they allow artists to modify burning temperatures and create a variety of tones and shades.

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Man Makes Life-Size Tank from over 5,000 Egg Cartons

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‘Eggs for Soldiers’ is a family event held every year at the Clapham Common in London to raise money for Help for Heroes. It’s basically about the sale of khaki green boxes of eggs, with 15 pence from the sale of each box going to the charity that helps wounded servicemen returning from war. This year’s event on the 4th of March will have two great things to look forward to – a national egg and spoon race, and a life-size tank made of no less than 5,016 egg cartons.

The tank, a replica of The Challenger 2, was created by British sculptor Stuart Murdoch. Along with the 5,000 odd egg cartons, he also made use of over 10,000 nails, 26 liters of glue, 15 liters of paint, 80 sq. meters of steel and 5,013 staples in the creation of this epic tank. I can’t believe someone actually counted the number of staples. What’s more, the whole project took Mr. Murdoch and his assistants only 3 weeks to complete. That included 3 sleepless nights as well. The tank will be on display for the general public on 4th March at Clapham Common, so if you happen to be in London, don’t miss it!

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Kiviaq – Probably The World’s Most Disgusting Meat Dish

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Kiviaq – the name sounds exotic, but wait till you hear how it is prepared. I guarantee you’ll lose your appetite completely. Imagine a dish so pungent and smelly that people eat it outside the house, so it doesn’t stink up the place for weeks. Before I actually get down to telling you what it is, I must warn those of you with a rather delicate disposition – Kiviaq is NOT for you.

The dish is a winter specialty and has been consumed by Inuits in the far north of Greenland for centuries. The preparation of Kiviaq actually involves an ingenious method of food storage that came into being due to the severe shortage of food in the cold months. As clever and important as the practice is, a dish made from fermented sea birds is pretty hard to stomach for those who aren’t used to it. Yes, you read right, fermented sea birds are pretty much the essence of the dish. And get this – they’re eaten raw. Kind of like cheese, but not quite. The preparation goes something like this: a seal is skinned,removing all the meat until only a thick layer of fat remains on the skin. It is then sewn into the shape of a bag and stuffed to the brim with about 300 to 500 small auk birds. When the bag is completely filled, it is sewn shut, and fat is again smeared all over the seams to keep the flies away. The bird-filled seal skin bag is then left to ferment under a pile of rocks for a minimum of 3 months, and sometimes, even as long as 18 months.

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Hauntingly Realistic Human Figures Carved by Real-Life Geppetto

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Whether painted or sculpted, I’ve always found hyper-realist artworks fascinating, but Bruno Walpoth’s masterpieces are particularly impressive simply because they are carved from large pieces of wood.

I’m not saying working with other materials to create realistic shapes is easy, but turning something as rigid as wood into works of art that seem almost alive takes something truly special. Bruno Walpoth uses simple carving tools to turn pieces of wood (lime and walnut) into human sculptures with detailed features that seen from afar look incredibly life-like. Only on closer inspection does one notice the carving marks on their skin, left intentionally as quiet reminders that these mind-blowing figures are not human. “Contrary to Geppetto, who constructed himself a child (Pinocchio) out of a piece of wood to banish his loneliness, Bruno Walpoth attempts, perhaps out of awareness of life’s transience, to immortalize the volatile spark of youthfulness he catches in the eyes of his models – sometimes his own children – into a wooden sculpture,” Absolute Art Gallery‘s Diana Gadaldi says about Walpoth’s work.

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Spikeball – Volleyball’s Brilliant Distant Cousin

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Intense, competitive, trash talk – are the three terms used by the founders of Spikeball to describe the game. After watching a short video of how the sport is played on their website, I’m finding it very hard to disagree. It’s really quite exciting just to watch, so playing it should guarantee an absolute whale of a time.

Spikeball is probably best described as volleyball’s distant cousin, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. The net used for Spikeball is small and circular – probably the size of a Hula Hoop, and it sits on the ground at ankle level. The ball is pretty small too, just about palm-size. Two teams play against each other with only two players on each team. The objective of the game is to smack the ball across to your opponents, just like in volleyball. However, with spikeball, you need to bounce the ball on the net first, so it ricochets upwards at an opposing player. They in turn have to be able to bounce it back to your team, within three hits, or you score. You score points every time they miss, and a score of 21 is needed to win the game.

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El Diablo Restaurant – Cooking Food over an Active Volcano

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What could be more natural than having a barbecue party on a volcano? Apart from the obvious health and safety hazards, that is. But such things are not a concern at the El Diablo restaurant, where chefs actually cook food over the heat produced by an active volcano.

Located on a Spanish island called Lanzarote, northwest of Morocco, El Diablo is a unique restaurant where the chefs have access to a volcano of their own. Of course, it isn’t like a lava-spewing mountain, because if that were the case there would be no question of leisurely eating. No, this volcano is more like a hole in the ground, through which volcanic heat erupts from the deeps of the Earth.

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The Bottled Smoke Artworks of Jim Dingilian

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Jim Dingilian is one of those rare artists who stretch the limits of creativity with their amazing creations. He uses candle smoke to paint picture-perfect images on the inside of empty bottles.

“The miniature scenes I depict are of locations on the edge of suburbia which seem mysterious or even slightly menacing despite their commonplace nature. The bottles add to the implied narratives of transgression. When found by the sides of roads or in the weeds near the edges of parking lots, empty liquor bottles are artifacts of consumption, delight, or dread. As art objects, they become hourglasses of sorts, their drained interiors now inhabited by dim memories” Jim Dingilian says bout his art.  How he manages to create such detailed images inside the bottle remains a mystery, but I’m thinking he uses some sort of slim tool to scratch at the candle smoke. Still, how he manages to keep a steady hand and work through that narrow bottle hand is beyond me.

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Sweden’s Classroom-Free School – The Future of Education?

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It’s news like this that makes me wish I could become a kid and go back to school again. I mean, just look at the pictures. If school was like this, who wouldn’t want to go? To me, the school looks like it’s come out of the future, or from a sci-fi movie. It’s definitely surreal. But a closer look shows that it isn’t very different from, say, a Google office. Kids seem to be working independently on their laptops, in a place that’s comfortable and convenient for them. I do wonder if all that lounging around is good for their posture, though.

The school you’re looking at is the brainchild of Swedish Free School Organization, Vittra. They operate 30 schools around Sweden, with an aim to ensure that learning takes place everywhere on campus. So, they’ve eliminated classrooms all together. This particular school is the latest, called Telefonplan, and it was opened last August. It was designed and built by the architecture firm Rosan Bosch. At Vittra, students are free to work independently, and if they find the need to collaborate with peers on a project, they have a few options for that too. The ‘village’ is a tiny house meant for group work, and ‘organic conversation furniture’ allows the kids to interact with each other as well. Each student receives a computer from the school too, which is used as a major tool for learning.

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Ria van Dijk – The Woman Who Shoots Herself Shooting

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It’s not unusual to have photographs of yourself taken every year. But in the case of Ria van Dijk it is, because she’s in the exact same pose in each of the pictures – shooting a target. The 92-year-old from Tilburg, Holland has been going to funfair shooting galleries every year since 1936, and has won the prize every single time – a photograph of herself shooting.

Shooting galleries at fairs are set up in such a way that when the target is hit, it triggers the shutter of a camera. The result is a photograph in which the viewer is in the position of the target. The picture is the prize that participants win for their efforts. Even before she participated in the shooting gallery, Ria had plenty of practice at home, as a child. Along with her brother, she used to shoot at a target with air guns in the garden of her home. She says they would do this just for fun. So when she went to the fair at age 16, her friends encouraged her to give the shooting game a try. She won the picture on the first shot, and went on to win another one. Ria went back to the fair a year later to win another picture and that was when it all began.

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Artist Paints Incredible Artworks with His Mouth

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Nothing can stop a person with innate artistic abilities, not even the absence of functioning limbs. 50-year-old Steve Chambers is a perfect example of this. The artist from Norfolk, UK, paints breathtaking sceneries using only his mouth. It’s simply amazing how such accurate strokes can be achieved while holding a paintbrush with one’s teeth.

Chambers, who suffers from arthrogryposis syndrome, has been disabled since birth. His arms lack muscles and the joints in his legs are stiff. While many people in his condition struggle to perform daily tasks, Chambers began painting at a very early age. He says it didn’t take him very long to get the hang it. “To me using a paint brush with my mouth is like you using your hand to pick up a spoon.” He started off by using his mouth to hold a pencil, which according to him wasn’t actually difficult because he didn’t know anything different. However, he did get frustrated as a kid when he couldn’t get the effects he wanted while drawing.

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Calcio Fiorentino – The Ultimate Manly Sport

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Imagine a sport that’s a mix between soccer and rugby, with absolutely no rules whatsoever. Man, that’s got to be brutal! And that’s exactly what Calcio Fiorentino is. It’s the ultimate sport to prove your strength, power and courage.

The game originated in Italy during the 16th century in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence. The words Calcio Fiorentino can be loosely translated as the Florence Kick. True to its name, the game was devised by four of Florence’s most prominent noble families. Their intention was simple, to be able to show off their physical prowess to their enemies. In those days, spectators of the game were limited only to the ruling class.

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Maramadi – The Famous Bull Race of Kerala

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The most famous traditional game involving bulls is Spanish bullfighting, but the people of Kerala, India, have come up with a way celebration that doesn’t involve torturing and killing poor animals. It’s called Maramadi, and it’s held every year, in the post-harvest season.

Maramadi is essentially a bull racing event, only instead of a track, it takes place in flooded rice fields, which makes it infinitely more entertaining for the crowds watching from the sidelines. In preparation for the event, the freshly ploughed fields are filled with water, thus ensuring that every competing team makes a big splash for the audience. Although bulls are the main competitors in Maramadi, their human masters have the important role of guiding them during the race, making sure they don’t stray off the course before reaching the finish line. Each team consists of two bull and three guides, who have to keep up with the animals if they want a shot at wining. That of course takes good speed perfect balance.

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