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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Aggravure III – A Unique Mural Made with 450,000 Staples

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In all the years I’d stapled posters on my wall, I never gave it a second thought, let alone consider it an art form. But an artist has painstakingly created a series of beautiful murals made from nothing but staples tacked onto a wall. The pictures you’re looking at are the works of French artist Baptiste Debombourg, and a part of  a collection named Aggravure. His last artwork, Aggravure III, took him 340 hours to complete and consists of over half a million staples.

The collection itself is inspired by engravers of the Renaissance period, Jan Harmensz, Cherubino Alberti and Hendrick Goltzius. It’s amazing what an artist can do with a boring, everyday, office supply like the staple. But hey, if people can make art out of packing tape, maybe staple-art is not so surprising after all.

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Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Brings Sexy Back into Art

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Serious artists are bound to find Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School rather blasphemous, but the more lighthearted ones obviously think it’s a lot of fun. How else would you explain a Dr. Sketchy’s branch in 100 cities spread over 5 continents, merely 6 years after the first class was held in a dive bar in Brooklyn?

It’s hard to call the place an ‘art school’, as it looks more like a pub where artists come to hang out, socialize and have a good time. But they do make a lot of drawings while they’re at it. And the major attractions are the ‘subjects’ that they get to sketch. Founders A.V. Phibes and Molly Crabapple make sure to find the most beautiful burlesque dancers, the most rippling hunks of men and the most bizarre circus freaks, who pose for artists every other Saturday for three whole hours. An artist herself, Crabapple decided to create an alternative drawing school to counter the conventional restrictions of mainstream art. She asked a simple question: why can’t drawing naked people be sexy? And this unique anti-art school was her attempt at an answer. So Dr. Sketchy, a fictional corrupt Viennese doctor, was born. On their official website, the school is described as ‘the world’s premier alternative drawing movement’.

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Artist Twists Aluminum Wire into Beautiful Tree Sculptures

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I find it fascinating how some artists can turn rigid materials into works of art that seem almost organic. Case in point, Kevin Iris, a man who creates beautiful tree sculptures exclusively from aluminum wire.

A self-proclaimed “treenut” Kevin Iris has been making incredibly detailed tree sculptures from aluminum wire for the last 23 years. His works vary in shape and size, as he’s trying to inspire different emotions with each one, but the most remarkable thing that’s common to all of them is that they are made only out of twisted wire. That means he uses no glue, coatings or any other substances. he simply takes tens of feet of aluminum wire and twists them into a variety of shapes. As you can imagine, Kevin’s artistic process is very laborious and time-consuming. For example, talking about the aluminum tree n the photo below, the artist says “I average about 26 leaves per strand so I have about 10,062 leaves up there on the top. This [22-inch wide] tree took about 450 hours or so of hands on twisting wire time over four months.” Pretty remarkable stuff…

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Poveglia – The Venetian Island of the Dead

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When I first saw a picture of Poveglia Island, I couldn’t help but notice how pretty it is. But then I read the story behind the place and let me tell you, there’s nothing pretty about it. For centuries, the island has attracted nothing but the worst fate, with hundreds of thousands of people suffering torturous deaths. Today the island may look uninhabited, but legend suggests otherwise…

Poveglia is located in northern Italy, in the Venetian Lagoons. It has no owners and entry to the place is strictly forbidden. The only time any visits are made is to harvest vineyards. Even fisherman won’t venture intot  the waters near the island, for fear of catching human bones in their nets. For a time, it was owned by the Italian state but was sold to a private buyer in the 1960s. The poor guy lived there for a short while, but abandoned the place after a short while. More recently, a family was known to have purchased Poveglia in an attempt to convert it into a holiday home, but again, they couldn’t spend more than one night there. Rumors say that their daughter’s face was split open and 14 stitches were needed to fix it.

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Really Hang-Out at Tokyo’s Hammock Cafe

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Who needs chairs when you can just relax and have a cup of coffee or tea in a comfortable hammock, right? That was probably the idea behind Mahika Mano, a popular Tokyo venue, better known as the Hammock Cafe.

Located in the Kichijoji district of Tokyo, a place renowned for its chill-out atmosphere, Mahika Mano fits in just perfectly, with its hammocks hanging from the ceiling inviting passers-by to just sit back and enjoy a tasty drink. As soon as you walk in, the first thing that hits you is the absence of chairs, but as soon as you lay down in one of the hanging nets you start to wonder who ever got the crazy idea of using chairs, when hammocks are so much more comfy. As you can imagine, this unique cafe is pretty busy (sometimes you have to wait in a queue to grab a seat hammock) so the place has implemented a time limit of 90 to 120 minutes, so that everyone can have a chance to literally hang out. Whether this policy is enforced or not depends on the occupancy of the cafe.

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