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Craig Tracy’s Unbelievable Body-Painting Optical Illusions

New Orleans-based artist Craig Tracy is considered a trendsetter in the art of body painting. He spends hour painstakingly painting his subjects’ bodies with water-based paint, before taking photos of them in unique positions.

The first time we featured Craig Tracy on Oddity Central, was in January 2010, right after he created a jaw-dropping image of a tiger from the contorted bodies of several models. It was one of his most amazing works, but the American artist now has an entire collection of mind-blowing images painted on human bodies. Born and raised in New Orleans, Tracy always knew he was going to be an artist, in fact everyone else knew it as well. “There was never any question regarding my being or becoming a professional artist. It was always just obvious and understood,” he says. Craig’s parents, whom he describes as “working class hippies”, nurtured his creative development and gave him the freedom to mature as an absolute individual. At 15, he received his first airbrush, as a gift from his parents, and just a year later, working as an airbrush artist in a local shopping mall, he had already learned to draw almost anything on a vast array of surfaces. After graduating from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, the young artist became an illustrator for advertising agencies and editorial publishing houses, and hated it. After six years, he left his career as an illustrator behind and started painting “murals, t-shirt designs and just about anything and everything possible”.

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Meet Hostgator Dotcom, Formerly Known as Billy Gibby, the Human Billboard

If the name Hostgator Dotcom sounds familiar it’s because it’s also the name of a popular Internet hosting company. The man formerly known as Billy Gibby sold the rights to his name to the highest bidder, in addition to selling advertising space in the form of permanent tattoos on his face and body.

We’ve seen similar gimmicks in the past. Just last year we reported about Pat Vaillacourt, a Canadian man who charges $35 to tattoo people and business site addresses on his body, and earlier this year there was the story of Tina Beznec, from New Zealand, who auctioned off a portion of her buttock to be tattooed with whatever the winner desired, in an atempt to raise money for unpaid bills and a trip to Australia. But the case of Hostgator Dotcom is a lot more interesting. The Anchorage-based man started offering advertising spots on his body during the mid 2000s, in a time when the practice had become really popular. It was an easy way to fund his boxing career, so he could fight to support the cause of organ donation, and he even set his sights on claiming a Guinness record for most corporate logos tattooed on a human body. He’s still selling advertising space on his face today, in a constant selfless effort to support his family. In 2010, he took another extreme step and sold off the rights to his original name to the highest bidder, which happened to be Hostgator.com.

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Wacky Scientist-Turned-Artist Uses Bacteria to Create Art

Zachary Copfer, a former microbiologist recently turned visual artist, uses bacteria like E.coli to create detailed artworks in petri dishes. His weird technique is aptly called “bacteriography”.

If you’re hungry for some out-of-this-world art, then Zachary Copfer’s bacteriography series should feed your appetite for a while. His photo-printing technique is unlike anything you’ve seen before, in that rather than using photo-sensitive papers, chemicals, or ink, Copfer uses live bacteria. The University of Cincinnati MFA photography student actually controls how the bacteria grows in order to form detailed works of art. Copfer stars his unique artistic process by turning bacteria like E.coli into a fluorescent protein and spreading it across a plate. A negative of the photo he wants to reproduce is placed on top of the plate and exposed to radiation, causing the bacteria to grow in strategic places and recreating a detailed image. Once the photo is replicated, the bacteriography work of art is coated in acrylic and resin to stop it degrading.

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World’s Largest Vertical Garden Grows on Italian Shopping Center

A shopping center in the Italian town of Rozanno has recently claimed a rather unusual Guinness record, for the world’s biggest vertical garden. Growing on the walls of the commercial complex, the unique garden covers an area of 1,263 square meters and is made up of about 44,000 plants.

Just o be clear, the thousands of plants covering the sides of Rozanno’s shopping center were not planted in the ground next to the building and simply grew to cover the walls, they actually grow on the building itself. Italian architect Francisco Bollani, who was in charge of the project, says it took his team a whole year just to grow all the 44,000 plants, and another 90 days to place them on the walls of the commercial building. Although it might seem like the walls are covered with soil from which the flora grows, the walls were actually lined with metallic containers that hold the plants. Using these Lego-like metal pieces made the vertical garden a lot easier to build then with classic methods, but it also increased the cost of the project to a total of €1 million ($1.3 million).

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The Mind-Blowing Date Stamp Paintings of Federico Pietrella

Italian-born Federico Pietrella uses an item usually associated with corporate offices to created incredible works of art. It’s simply mind-blowing how he can use a restrictive tool like the date stamp to achieve this level of detail.

Looking at Federico Pietrella’s artworks from a distance, you’d never guess they were actually executed using a date stamp. But that’s in fact all he uses to create these amazingly detailed masterpieces that look more like pixelated black-and-white photos. He has been practicing his date-stamp painting technique for the last 15 years and his skill level has reached a level where it’s very hard to tell one of his works from an old photograph. As you can imagine, his is a painstaking work. Each one of his masterpieces takes between 1 – 2 months to complete, which is easily verified considering the artist uses the current date whenever he uses the stamp. “Time is a mysterious thing.  For me it’s the most important thing from which everything is derived- work, existence, life,” the artist says about his bizarre choice of tools.

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Artist Creates Controversial Collages from Adult Magazine Clippings (NSFW)

British artist Jonathan Yeo creates collages and portraits of various celebrities from adult magazine clippings. He doesn’t call them insults, but “comments on people who trade off their morality and sexuality.”

Yeo isn’t the first artist we’ve featured who uses the controversial medium as a means of expression. Brussels-based Tom Gallant creates intricate cutouts from hardcore adult magazines that make it hard for the viewer to identify the really NSFW parts, whereas Yeo’s art is more straightforward. All the viewer has to do is get closer to one of his original works of art and he’ll quickly be able to spot a series of reproductive organs from both sexes, lace panties, female breasts and other raunchy details. Jonathan Yeo rose to international fame in 2007, after creating a portrait of George W. Bush out of hardcore magazine clippings, and has since created a number of celebrity portraits out of the vulgar material. His “victims” include Sarah Palin, Sean Connery, Tiger Woods ans Sarah Palin.

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Talented Artist Paints on Discarded Pennies

American artist Jacqueline Lou Skaggs uses tiny discarded pennies as canvases for her miniature paintings. The level of detail she’s able to achieve is truly awe-inspiring.

Initially these coins were going to be spent- nestled with other coins in an exchange of goods. Or tossed back to the sidewalks from whence they came. Nice thoughts. However, these works remain hoarded as art rather than currency or discarded, valueless copper.

Her series, Tondi Observations, consists of 12 pieces painted over the faces of presidents and monumental buildings.

This small body of twelve works consist of images painted on found, discarded pennies and reflect a decision to move away from making “pictorial” images. A grand finale of sorts paying homage to the binding ideologies that define our family, religious, social and political worlds. Paid tribute no less on the face of discarded coins these iconic images transcend the coins value while defacing it. 

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World’s Biggest Barbie Fan Collects 15,000 Dolls in 19 Years

Bettina Dorfmann, from Dusseldorf, Germany, will be featured in the 2013 Guinness Book of Records for her amazing Barbie Doll collection which numbers 15,000 items. She started collecting Barbies in 1993 and doesn’t plan on ever ending her quest for new additions.

Ever since Barbie was created, in 1959, it’s estimated about 1 billion dolls have been produced, and there are over 100,000 passionate doll collectors all around the world, hunting for the rarest items. But none is more dedicated than Bettina Dorfman, from Germany. In the last 19 years she has amassed an impressive collection of over 15,000 Barbie dolls, from vintage items of the 1960s, to the latest models launched by Mattel. The 52-year-old Dusseldorf-based collector says she has loved Barbie ever since she was just a little girl. “They are great for children. You can wash their hair, change their clothes, buy new outfits”, she told the BBC, back in 2009, when she had “only” 6,000 dolls. But even after she grew up, Barbie still appealed to her, and since her daughter Melissa always seemed more interested in the new Barbies that came out than in the old ones Bettina had saved for her, she decided to keep them for herself.

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Artist Creates Incredible Portraits Out of Thousands of Tiny Colored Paper Dots

I love it when artists go to great lengths to create extraordinary art. Case in point, Nikki Douthwaite, a young British artist who uses tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of tiny paper dots to assemble incredibly detailed artworks.

Nikki Douthwaite is a master of dot art. She uses colored dots produced by a hole punch, and painstakingly sticks them, one by one, on a canvas layered with double-sided sticky tape, with a pair of tweezers. Can you imagine spending up to 12 hours at a time arranging thousands of colored dots to create just one of these amazing works of art? It requires mountains of patience, but for Nikki every piece is a labor of love. Inspired by the pointillism work of 19th century French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat, she came up with the unusual technique during her Interactive Arts degree at MMU. Seurat created images using dots of coloured paint, which the human eye blends from a distance, but Douthwaite developed her own unique technique, by replacing the paint dots with tiny bits of paper. The dedicated artist, from Timperley, Cheshire, has suffered repetitive strain injuries in her arm, hand and shoulder after spending hundreds of hours sticking hundreds of thousands of paper dots, but has never considered giving up on her art.

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Would You Give Him Your Vote? Tattooed-Face Man Runs for President

Meet Vladimir Franz, probably the most tattooed man to ever run for president in any country of the world. The eccentric candidate is currently gathering signatures in order to be able to candidate for president of the Czech Republic in 2013.

53-year-old Vladimir Franz has what many people call a striking appearance. His face and body are covered with tattoos, which actually makes him look blue, literally blue. But that’s not all that makes him stand out from the rest of the candidates. He’s the perfect example of why people should never “judge a book by its cover”. You couldn’t tell by looking at him, but Franz is actually a drama professor at one of the most prestigious universities in Prague, a talented painter and a successful opera composer. As a young man, he also graduated from law school and got a doctorate in the field of law, but chose not to pursue a career as a lawyer or magistrate during the communist Czechoslovakian regime. Instead, he turned his atention towards art, and after studying painting and music, he became a university professor as well. He is well know in the Czech Republic for initiating a serious of cultural movements for the country’s youth, which makes him very popular among young voters.

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The Mind-Blowing Staple Art of Baptiste Debombourg

For most of us staples are necessary office accessories, but for French artist Baptiste Debombourg the tiny pieces of metal are a unique art medium that allow him to create detailed masterpieces inspired by Italian Mannerism and the German Renaissance.

We first featured Baptiste Debombourg on Oddity Central in March, after he unveiled a monumental mural made with 450,000 staples, but he’s been keeping busy and now has an impressive portfolio of new awe-inspiring staple artworks. For years, the French artist has been gradually perfecting his unique technique taking to a level where he’s now able to create detailed re-interpretations of famous classic paintings. Instead of relying on the usual art mediums, like acrylic or oil paints, he takes these simple objects we use in our every day lives and creates thought-provoking works that blend classic and contemporary art. His Aggravure series contains hundreds of thousands of staples and is currently on display at the Krupic Krestig Gallery in Cologne.

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Russian Pensioner Decorates Her House with 30,000 Plastic Bottle Caps

Olga Kostina, a Russian pensioner from the Russian village of Kamarchaga, in the Siberian taiga, has decorated her simple wooden home with artistic patterns made from over 30,000 plastic bottle caps.

The Siberian taiga is one of the most beautiful natural ecosystems on Earth, but with a population density of just 3 people per square kilometer, it can be a very lonely place sometimes. But one woman living in the rural area at the edge of the taiga’s endless forests has found a very entertaining hobby to help pass the time when there’s simply no one around to talk to. Olga Kostina started collecting all kinds of plastic bottle caps from soda bottles and when she decided she had enough, she began using them to decorate the walls of her wooden house, in Kamarchaga village. The pixelated patterns that cover most of her home range from traditional macrame motifs to animals living in the neighboring forest. The Russian pensioner placed every single bottle cap by hand, using a hammer and nails to fix them in place, and used the macrame technique (hand woven and knit knots) to create the intricate mosaics. So far she has used over 30,000 plastic bottle caps and her home has become a local landmark of sorts. But she’s not planning on stopping until her house and adjacent structures are covered with colorful patterns.

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Skilled Artist DRAWS Victorian Photographs with a Pencil

You could swear these old photos were taken decades ago, and have been stored away some place collecting dust, but in fact these tiny artworks are painstakingly drawn by Paul Chiappe, with a simple pencil. Mind blown yet?

28-year-old artist Paul Chiappe, from Edinburgh, Scotland, has been drawing with pencils ever since primary school, and throughout the years his skills have improved to such a degree that he’s now able to create detailed photographic artworks. I remember even in primary school meticulously copying images for art class,” Chiappe remembers. “I would end up drawing dolphins and things from wildlife books. Basically, anything I would draw I’d make sure it was as realistic as possible.” Now he’s become an expert at creating Victorian-style photographic artworks in such stunning detail that you actually need a magnifying glass to tell them apart from real photographs.

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Don’t Sneeze! Beautiful Dry Tea Illustrations by Andrew Gorkovenko

Moscow-based graphic designer Andrew Gorkovenko has recently created a series of awe-inspiring dry tea illustration, as part of a series of packaging designs for Triptea. I’d definitely buy some, if only for the box artworks.

Talk about an unusual and refreshing art medium. There are a few thing I imagined could be done with dry tea, but drawing definitely wasn’t one of them. Obviously, Russian graphic designer Andrew Gorkovenko has a richer imagination, since he came up with the idea of using the nicely-scented dried and ground tea leaves to create these amazing concept illustrations for Triptea ‘s packaging. Using only basic tools to manipulate the dry tea on white paper canvases, Gorkovenko created a series of intricate designs which illustrate the origin of the different tea varieties – the Great Wall of China and a detailed pagoda for green tea, a picturesque Ceylon landscape for black tea, etc. As Christopher from Colossal notes, Andrew really went above and beyond for this campaign. Triptea must be pleased.

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Ukrainian Car Enthusiast Turns His Mitsubishi Eclipse into a Lamborghini Reventon

Alexander Stupkin, a 30-year-old car enthusiast from Odessa, Ukraine, has spent the last two years turning his old Mitsubishi Eclipse into a gorgeous Lamborghini Reventon replica.

It’s barely been two weeks since we posted an article about Wang Jian, the 28-year-old Chinese farmer who built his own Lamborghini Reventon from scrap, and now we have another Lambo fan who decided to built his own dream car. His name is Alexander Stupkin, a young Ukrainian jeweler from Odessa. Apparently he has always been a fan of beautiful sports cars, and since he was already working in a field that requires patience and accuracy, he decided to try his luck with tunning. Although he had no experience with tunning cars, with the help of family and friends, Alexander managed to transform an old 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse he bought in 2008 into a stunning replica of his Italian dream car, the Lamborghini Reventon. It’s true the build process took over two years, but the end-result is really impressive, if you ask me.

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