The Photo-Like Charcoal and Graphite Drawings of Robert Longo

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New York-based artist Robert Longo creates detailed charcoal drawings that look amazingly photo-like. If you thought your sketches were pretty good, wait till you see what this guy can do.

You know when you look at a photo and you say to yourself “this looks too good to be true”? Most of the time Photoshop is to blame, but Robert Longo decided to create his own black and white photographs, the hard way. Instead of a few mouse clicks, he uses charcoal, graphite and paper, spending hours-on-end to create incredibly realistic works of art. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out Longo is an exceptional artist, but he has captured the attention of the art world, and his works have been exhibited in galleries around the world.

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Welcome to the World’s Craziest, Most Controversial Zoo

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At the Lujan Zoo, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, visitors can do much more than admire wild animals from a distance. They can ride on the backs of wild lions, feed tigers or hand-feed cheetahs.

You couldn’t pay me enough to get up close and personal with a full-grown lion, but apparently there are people out there who can’t wait to get into a cage with it, and at the Lujan Zoo they get to do just that. Daredevils can feed grapes to the grizzly bears or even allow them to use their tongues to pick up the fruits from between their lips, pet elephants, ride on the back of tigers and whatever else you can think of that involves interacting with wild animals. I know what you’re thinking, all this is an accident waiting to happen, but you’ll be surprised to learn that ever since the zoo opened in 1994, there hasn’t been a single accident. In fact, zoo keepers are so confident nothing is going to go wrong that they don’t require visitors to sign any waivers before entering the animals’ cages, and they even allow small children.

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Jason de Graaf’s Works Look Like High-Resolution Photographs, But They’re Not

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Canadian artist Jason de Graaf creates hyperrealistic paintings that look more like carefully composed still-life photographs. We’ve featured many artist who can easily fool you into thinking their paintings are photos, but Jason de Graaf really is in a class of his own.

Just so you can understand how incredibly real de Graaf’s paintings look, you should know they’ve inspired the term “Magic Realism” as a description. The talented artist born in Montreal says: “My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, the illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface, filtered so that it expresses my unique vision. Though my paintings may appear photoreal my goal is not to reproduce or document faithfully what I see one hundred percent, but also to create the illusion of depth and sense of presence not found in photographs.”

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The Delicate Paper-Cutting Art of Hina Aoyama

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You’ve probably seen intricate paper-cut art before, but Hina Aoyama takes it to a whole new level by achieving an incredible level of detailed using only scissors.

Unlike other artists who use fine tools like an X-acto knife to create elaborate pieces of paper-cut art, Japanese-born Hina Aoyama only uses a pair of scissors and lots of patience. The Paris-based artist takes anywhere from a few hours to several months to complete her lace-like fragile masterpieces, as she needs to keep a steady hand and arm herself with patience throughout the whole creative process. Looking at her works, I can’t help but wonder if Hina has some kind of magical powers that help her cut out such delicate marvels, but the videos she made of her carving tiny paper details prove she’s just a very talented artist.

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Creepy Fan Shows-Off His 15 Tattoos of Miley Cyrus

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Ok, so you’ve bought all of Miley’s albums, you know all her songs by heart, and your room is practically covered with poster of her. You still have nothing on this guy, because let’s face it, nothing says “I Love Miley Cyrus” than 15 tattoos related to her.

Showing off your obsession through tattoos is really nothing new. Remember the lady who got a fullback Twilight tat, or the dude covered in tattoos of Neytiri from Avatar? Well, they’re nowhere as strange as this particular Miley Cyrus fan. The guy took some photos of himself wearing a Miley hat and showing off all of his 15 creepy tattoos and posted them on Twitter. And I’m not talking about some pimple-face teen who got drunk one night and made the mistake of a lifetime. This is a full-grown man with a passion for the 19-year-old pop star.

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Artist Makes Portraits of Famous People from Thousands of Words

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Ralph Ueltzhoefer probably took the saying “a picture is worth a thousands words” because he actually builds detailed images from thousands of written words.

The Mannheim-based German artist takes photos of celebrities from the Internet and recreates their portraits with words randomly-selected from Internet biographies, fragments of words and phrases, and Wikipedia articles that have come to define these famous people. Ueltzhoefer sets the white text line by line on the dark background, thus making a statement about how media defines our every day lives in a Web-centered world. His Textportraits are a symbiosis between text and photo, biography and portrait, a readable version of two different components.

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Velodrawings – Art Made with Bicycle Skid Marks

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Berlin-based Christian Grillitsch is a bicycle-drawing artist who creates beautiful and engaging artworks by skidding his bicycle wheel across the canvas.

Riding a bicycle is fun and healthy, but Austrian artist Christian Grillitsch has found a way to use this hobby to create some pretty unique works of art. Called “Velodrawings” his creations are skid marks left on white canvases. Sounds easy enough, and although we all like to wear out our tires like this, I doubt most of us can create the same stuff Grillitsch does. All he needs is white canvases, double sided tape to stick it to the floor, a bike, and the talent to skid at the right time without falling flat on his face.

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Ukrainian Painter Turns Communist Apartment Building Into an Inhabitable Art Gallery

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Communist-era apartment buildings from the former Soviet Union are some of the ugliest edifices in the world, but Ukrainian painter Valery Haroun managed to turn one of them into a marvelous art gallery.

The apartment building in Odessa, Ukraine looks pretty ordinary from afar, but as you draw near the entrance, you realize there’s something special about it. The building’s door has been painted to look like that of a palace, the bland concrete pillars look like old temple columns and there’s a mural of naked Aphrodite looking right at you. Pretty unusual, but we’ve all seen graffiti artworks on apartment buildings, right? But it’s actually the interior of this place that’s truly stunning. Each of its nine floors is covered with colorful artworks, from reproductions of Claude Monet and Victor Vasnetsov, to postcard illustrations and cartoons like Winnie the Pooh and Madagascar.

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Cartoonist Turns Ordinary Styrofoam Cups into Original Artworks

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Malaysian-born artist Cheeming Boey uses a simple sharpie pen to turn simple Styrofoam cups into unique works of art that sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Styrofoam cups don’t usually attract a lot of attention, unless they’re mentioned in discussions about environment pollution. They’re cheap and disposable, so  no one really cares about them. Neither did Cheeming Boey, until six years ago, when he discovered they could be used as an original canvas for his sharpie doodles. He was in little coffee shop, in Irvine, California, when he got the urge to draw, but found himself without a piece of paper. So he just grabbed a Styrofoam cup from the trash can and unleashed his artistic talent. The result surprised Boey himself, and the artist immediately realized he was up to something.

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Motorcycle Enthusiast Builds His Dream Chopper Out of Wood. And It Runs!

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Istvan Puskas, a motorcycle enthusiast from Hungary took the term “chopper” litterally and actually spent the last two years chopping his dream ride from black locust wood.

In the past, we’ve featured a few other unique wooden vehicles, like the bicycles of Slawomir Weremkowicz, or the VW Betle built by Momir Bojic, and even the popsicle stick bike made by Sun Chao, but this is the first functional chopper we’ve ever seen. Istvan Puskas has spent the last two years building a -one-of-a-kind chopper almost entirely out of weather-resistant black locust wood. It’s not clear whether the agricultural machine expert from Tiszaros, 161 kilometers east of Budapest, couldn’t afford to buy himself an ordinary chopper, or if he just wanted to create something that would stand out weherever he went, but his wooden masterpiece certainly got a lot of attention when it was recently unveiled.

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The Beautiful Cut Canvas Portraits of Kuin Heuff

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At first glance, Dutch artist Kuin Heuff‘s portraits seem to be made up of a dizzying number of converging lines, but in reality, the creative process couldn’t be more different.

The Rotterdam-based artist, whose work focuses on the intricacies of the human face, starts off by creating acrylic paintings of the faces she wants to render. But while other artists would leave it at that, she takes her art to a whole new level by taking a sharp knife and cutting away maze-like patterns to create negative space. The process becomes even more impressive when you realize how important deciding when and where to cut, considering every stroke of the knife is irreversible. Yet Kuin Heuff pulls it off with relative ease, showing incredible skill and an eye for what’s important in her art.

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Stunning Portraits Made with a Single Sewing Thread Wrapped through Nails

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Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita creates mind-boggling portraits by wrapping a single UNBROKEN black thread around galvanized nails, on a clear white board.

In the four years since I started Oddity Central, I’ve had the opportunity of discovering many great artists. Most of their works are nothing short of impressive, but there are a few whose artistic genius is simply breathtaking. Kumi Yamashita is definitely one of those few. The Japanese artist living in New York City uses all kinds of common objects to create arresting images, in her quest of exploring art beyond the confines of traditional media. Perhaps her most impressive technique is creating portraits by using a single thread weaved around a series of nails, on a white background. We’ve seen portraits created with thread and nails before, but nothing quite like what Yamashita can do.

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Experience Life as an Illegal Alien at Mexico’s Border-Crossing Theme Park

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Ever wondered what Mexican emigrants go through trying to illegally cross the border into the United States? Well, now you have the opportunity to experience it for yourself at Eco Alberto, an Illegal Border Crossing Theme Park.

Located 100 kilometers from the US border, and about two hours away from Mexico City, the small town of El Alberto has become one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions. Seven years ago, 90% of the local population had crossed over into the US in search of the American Dream, and the small settlement had become a modern ghost town. Life was simply too hard in El Alberto and almost everyone decided to try their luck across the border. But that all changed when the Eco Alberto Park was inaugurated in the vicinity of the small Mexican town. Now, El Alberto has a population of around 3,000 and draws in thousands of tourists every year, all eager to experience the unique activity that put this place on the map.

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Stunning Photos from the World’s Most Amazing Suburban Family Garden

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Located in the small backyard of a family-owned property in Wallsall, England, is one of the most incredible-looking gardens in the world. The Four Seasons Garden may not be as large as other famous English gardens you may have visited, but it certainly makes up in beauty and charm.

There are hundreds, probably thousands of breathtaking gardens all over Europe, but most of them were designed and looked-after by teams of professional gardeners, at a considerable cost. The Four Seasons Garden, created by self-taught gardeners Tony and Marie Newton, started out as a hobby, but slowly grew into one of the most popular suburban  gardens in Britain. 20 years ago, the couple from West Midlands decided to transform their traditional garden into a stunning display of creative gardening. Tony hated weeding, but loved building things, while his wife Marie just loved plants, so together they set out to create Four Seasons, their version of the ideal backyard garden.

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Hundreds of Paintings Come Together to Form Stunning Mural Mosaics

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Invented by Lewis Lavoie, Mural Mosaic is an artistic concept which brings together hundreds of artworks painted by various artists into one exceptional image.

Lewis Lavoie created his first mural mosaic in 1997, for a retaining wall next to an art gallery in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. For this, the artist painted hundreds of individual paintings that were ultimately assembled to make up the face of Michelangelo’s David. It was a monumental achievement that helped Lavoie gain international attention for his unique style. But that was only the beginning of the mural mosaic movement, as seven years later Lewis takes his ingenious concept to the next level, by inviting 70 different artists to create the first community mural mosaic. During a live 24-hour painting marathon, each artist makes his contribution to the “Heritage Fiddler” mosaic.

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