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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4 Places Where Dying Is Not Allowed

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When something as natural and inevitable as death is banned, it does seem a tad illogical. You would be surprised to know that there actually are quite a few places on Earth where death has been forbidden, and deemed illegal. In fact, it seems that this is actually an age-old practice; the earliest known instance of the prohibition of death was in the 5th century BC,  when dying wasn’t allowed on religious grounds at the Greek island of Delos. Each place has a reason of its own, varying from religious beliefs to environmental factors.

We’ll take a look at four places where death is forbidden in today’s world:

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Alcatraz Hotel Offers Tourists Real Prison Experience

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If you’ve ever been curious about life in prison, but your record is too clean, now you have a chance to actually buy your way in. Not into a real prison, of course, but the Hotel Alcatraz in London. It’s a four-room hotel that’s been modeled on the lines of the (in)famous Alcatraz of San Francisco Bay, the one that closed down in 1963. The hotel is only open for a week to promote the new TV series of the same name. Bookings are available until Saturday, 17th of March.

Once you’re checked in at Hotel Alcatraz, you can forget about being treated like a premium guest. At best, you’ll only be served the good food that prisoners in the 1950s were served, as prison officials believed that the best quality food would prevent violence amongst inmates. Everything else about the hotel is designed to give you a good understanding of the real deal. They’ve even roped in George Devincenzi, former USP Alcatraz Correction Officer, to oversee and authenticate the experience. So after check-in at exactly 18:30 hours, the prisoner-guests are handed uniforms and have their mugshots taken. They are then showed to their 5×9 foot cells, where they will be spending the night. The cells are sparsely furnished, with a sleeping cot and mattress (no sheets), prison-style toilet, sink and two shelves. The metal cups and serving trays have been specially sourced from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, to maintain authenticity. Guests will also be expected to carry out a number of tasks such as physical exercise, tailoring and model making. Sounds like the experience of a lifetime. If you don’t plan on committing any real crimes, that is.

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Mind-Boggling Hand-Painted Portraits Made of Hundreds of Smaller Portraits

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Korean artist Kim Dong Yoo creates amazing portraits of various icons like Audrey Hepburn or Michael Jackson, made up of hundreds of smaller painted portraits that either support or contradict the main subject of the artwork.

Over the years, we’ve featured some truly interesting celebrity portraits on Oddity Central, like Jason Mecier’s pill portraits, or Jason Kronenwald’s chewing gum creations, but we’ve never seen anything like Kim Dong Yoo’s works. This incredibly talented artist painstakingly paints hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of miniature portraits by hand, using them as smaller piece of a much bigger, unbelievably detailed portrait. His portraits look a lot like the stamp paintings of Peter R. Mason, only instead of using recycled stamps to recreate the faces of many historical and Hollywood icons, the Korean painter actually paints every one of the little images that make up the big portraits.

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The Creepy Walking Dead of Tana Toraja

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If you thought that zombies were only a figment of the imagination of storytellers, well, prepare to have your mind blown. If the rituals of the villagers of Toraja, Indonesia, are to be believed, almost every person who dies can turn into a zombie. Apparently, certain people of the village had and still have the ability to make dead people walk. And I don’t mean that metaphorically.

Reading about the funeral rituals of Toraja, I’ve come to realize that there are two separate theories on how the ‘walking dead’ evolved. According to one, in the ancient past, it was believed that a dead man must be buried in his village of origin, and not at the place of his death. Since villages then were far apart and extremely isolated, it was difficult for family members to carry the corpse through long distances. The help of people who could make the dead walk was sought, and the dead man would be able to walk back to the village where he was born. Kind of like a mobile service for the dead, I suppose. So in those days, it was not uncommon to find a stiff, expressionless corpse, walking straight ahead. And it is said that if anyone addressed the corpse directly, it would simply collapse, unable to continue the journey. Imagine the horror!

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Introducing Mantyhose – The Stylish Pantyhose for Men

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So men have started to wear pantyhose now.They’re called Mantyhose, and there’s even a whole website, e-mancipate, dedicated to them. There might be people who find this odd, but when you come to think of it, there’s nothing particularly feminine about pantyhose, is there? They’re just tights made of a diaphanous material. And men have been wearing them for centuries too, especially in Europe, like medieval court jesters, Henry VII and even Robin Hood.

While several men in the UK and other parts of Europe have already started wearing the garment, the trend is now catching up in the US. Most men prefer to wear them as an extra layer under pants, but the more courageous tend to pair them up with shorts too. Who can deny the benefits of sporting tights? After all they do provide that smooth look to the legs, hiding any bumps and scars. They’re pretty comfortable too. Chan Kramer, the founder of e-mancipate, writes, “We believe that pantyhose for men can be an everyday clothing item, and that it can be fashionable as well.” And Francesco Cavallini, the vice-president of luxe hosiery company Emilio Cavallini, agrees, “The mantyhose are extremely elastic and stretchable and can fit men comfortably at the top. If it’s fine for Italian guys, it’s fine for the world.”

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Master the Force at New York’s Jedi Club

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Flynn Michael calls his students a “bunch of Star Wars dorks.” But that doesn’t mean he’s any less passionate about the sci-fi series himself. Especially since he’s created a whole club on the concept of Jedi, and teaches his trainees how to use the Force to navigate the pressures of living in New York City – be it a stressful workplace, a rowdy bar or a crowded subway. His project is called the New York Jedi Club.

Born Michael Brown, the sound engineer from Brooklyn calls himself a “sci-fi, heavy metal, over-the-top geek.” During his growing-up years in Rhode Island, he watched the first Star Wars film 32 times, and when he saw Luke Skywalker learning the way of the Force, like millions of other fans he wanted to be able to do that himself. Michael’s childhood was not unlike other geeky kids’, he was bullied and beat up a lot. He says that the lightsaber helped bring out the hero inside him, and helped him stand up for himself.

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Innovative Artist Creates Beautiful Dust Paintings

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Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust from her art-subjects’s homes and uses it to paint the background of their portraits. She started her series of “dusty” artworks, called Dust Paintings, several years ago, but she’s only just now getting the online exposure she so rightfully deserves.

Dust paintings…Now here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Well, actually, just a month ago we posted a story about Alessandro Ricci, an Italian artist who paints with dust collected from historical buildings in Florence. But while his dust creations are more like environmental statements against the pollution in his home city, Allison Cortson’s paintings are much more elaborate, and have a completely different purpose. Through her dust paintings, the artist tries to emphasize the fact that “matter is mostly empty space” and  it’s only through interactivity with living beings that they provide any value. That’s why, in all of her Dust Paintings artworks the human subjects are painted in color, while the background is recreated with dust.

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