Artist Uses Recurring Words to Create Detailed Portraits

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Vietnamese-born photographer and artist Huy Lam uses tiny 4 point type recurring words and phrases to create beautiful portraits of modern and historical icons.

The Toronto-based artist has always been fascinated with the concept of perception, and the way we form opinions based on what we perceive as real.  At a glance, his works look like they’ve been painted or drawn with pencil or charcoal, but as you approach them further, you realize they’re made with an entirely different medium – differently colored words.  Through his art, Huy Lam tries to convey the concept of perception, but he also hopes that these images created with words “will provoke thought, discussion and even laughter.” But the hours he spends actually placing thousands of 4 point type words in just the right spots to create detailed portraits is no laughing matter.

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Dyed Chicks – Because Normal Chicks Just Aren’t Cute Enough Anymore

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Popular in many countries around the world, including the US, dyed chickens are often viewed as victims of animal cruelty people usually get rid of as soon as they’re not “awfully cute” anymore.

I don’t know what’s happening with the world, but it seems that things that were cute by default a few years ago, just aren’t cute enough today. People are dying their puppies to look like wild animals, fish have to be either tattooed or locked in tiny keychains, and chicks apparently have to be brightly colored to sell. Dyed chicks are sold by street vendors in countries like China, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Yemen and even the US, where they attract the attention of passers by with their unnatural colors. But what most people don’t know is these “cute” baby birds aren’t dyed after hatching, they are injected with the dye as embryos, inside the egg.

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The Miniature Origami Wonders of Anja Markiewicz

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Regular size origami is just impossible to me, so I guess that’s why I find these nano-paper-wonders created by Anja Markiewicz simply fascinating.

We’ve featured some pretty impressive examples of origami, including the paper miniatures of Mui-Ling Teh, and the miniatures Anja Markiewicz creates are a welcome addition to our collection. She painstakingly folds almost invisible pieces of paper into beautiful origami artworks only a few millimeters in size. The fragile animals born from her hands – horses, dogs, swans and others – can rest on her fingertips and require a magnifying glass in order to be fully appreciated.

Her vast portfolio of origami artworks includes animals, fairytale creatures, cars, snowflakes, flowers and lots more. I’ve posted a selection of her most beautiful works but you can check out her entire collection on Flickr.

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Natsumi Hayashi – Tokyo’s Levitating Girl

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Natumi Hayashi‘s blog featured all kinds of normal photos of herself, her pet cat, friends and Tokyo sights, but on September 16, 2010 she posted a photo entitled “Today’s Levitation”. The rest, as they say, is history…

Hayashi has become an Internet sensation after she began posting photos of herself levitating in all kinds of places around Tokyo. She told the Daily Mail it was an English idiom that inspired her to take the first photo of herself levitating - ‘to have one’s feet firmly planted on the ground’. Apparently they have the exact same phrase in Japan, but since she doesn’t consider herself a practical person she chose not to have her feet firmly on the ground in her self-portrait photos, to show how she really is. “In being free of gravity in the pictures, I am also not bound to societal conventions. I feel as though I am not tied to many things and able to be my true self.” the artist said in an interview. After taking her first levitation photo the frequency of “Today’s Levitation” gradually increased until she started posting a new photo every day.

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Rie Hosokai – Japan’s Balloon Dress Designer

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Japanese balloon artist Rie Hosokai uses latex balloons to create unique dresses that can only be worn 24 hours before they deflate and change color in hot weather.

The latex balloons are inflated and hand-woven in different directions both vertically and horizontally, creating a texture similar to fabric. The amount of air that goes into each balloon is pretty hard to estimate when adjusting the size and volume of the dress, but the 35-year-old artist has been working with balloons for 10 years so she has everything pretty much figured out. She started  her career as a florist, before switching to balloon art and opening her very own studio, Daisy Balloon, where she creates all kinds of inflatable artworks.

Although her “fabric” is very inexpensive (just ¢0.09 cents a balloon), the dresses Rie Hosokai makes sell for thousands of dollars. They last only 24 hours before starting to seriously deflate, must be kept away from sharp objects and change color at high temperatures, yet these designer balloon dresses cost between ¥150,000 and ¥300,000 ($1,930 – $3,860). She has even sold a full set of balloon-made wedding dress, headpiece and bouquet for ¥1 million ($13,000).

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The Disappearing Tattooed Faces of Burma’s Chin Province

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For generations, the village women of Burma’s Chin Province have tattooed their faces as a symbol of strength and beauty, but this tradition is dying out as a result of globalization. Luckily, photographers have traveled to Burma to capture the beauty of these tattooed-face women before there aren’t any left.

According to Chin elders, the practice of tattooing women’s faces started a long time ago, to prevent women from being taken away by the Burmese kings, who had heard about the beauty of Chin women and teenagers. They would come to villages across the province and just pick out the girls they wanted to take away with them. With no other means to defend themselves, the village elders, who were also women, began tattooing the girls’ faces, thus taking away their beauty.

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Self-Taught Artist Turns Beach Trash into Unique Works of Art

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Mark Olivier, a self-taught artist from Berkeley, California, scours the beaches of East Bay looking for washed-up junk, which he then turns into beautiful sculptures.

For seven years, Olivier has gathered all kinds of trash from various East Bay beaches, but instead of throwing it all away, he decided to create one-of-a-kind artworks to display on his lawn. It all began one morning, when he was walking his dog Zsa Zsa at an old coastal landfill known as Albany Bulb. He was looking at all the huge amounts of trash on the beach and asking himself “why doesn’t someone clean this stuff up?’, when it suddenly hit him – why doesn’t he clean it up? he started out small, with just a few cigarette lighters and some pieces of plastic, but before long he had amassed an impressive collection of useless junk.

Although he has no training in art, and has spent most of his life working as a waiter, herbalist and now as a carpenter, Mark Olivier has found ingenious ways of turning detritus into something beautiful that’s stopping passers-by in their tracks. Some of his neighbors agreed to host his creations on their lawns when there was no more space for them on his, and say this work enhances the street. So far, Olivier has used umbrella handles, hats, worn-out shoes, lighters to create samurai, Buddha statues, Greek gods, and a whole lot of other interesting sculptures that have brought him local fame. His latest creation, a 5-foot-high blue poodle made from crabbing rope is the newest attraction on the self-taught artist’s lawn, but anyone can have it for $5,500. He has sold some of his older artworks, including one for $1,500.

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Banana Oxidation Art Is Just Bananas

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Australian artist Jun Gil Park has found a way of turning regular bananas into awe-inspiring works of art by drawing on them with a toothpick.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing banana artworks since I started Oddity Central, like the banana wall, or Jacob Dahlstrub’s banana boats, but Jun Gil Park’s oxidation art just makes me go bananas. Using a simple toothpick he scratches the designs into the banana, and the harder he presses/scratches, the darker the bruised part gets. It usually takes about five minutes for the oxidation to start showing, and after a day or two it gets really dark.

You’re probably wondering how Jun Gil Park came up with this simple-yet-impressive technique of turning bananas into organic works of art. It was pretty simple actually- he was just sitting at the table one day, talking to his family, holding a toothpick in his mouth, when he noticed a banana in front of him. He began scribbling on it as they talked and noticed what was happening to the banana. That’s when he decided he should try something more detailed next time.

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Artist Makes Detailed Architectural Models from Paper

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US-based artist Christina Lihan uses her experience as an architect to create detailed models of famous buildings and urban spaces, from paper.

Ms. Lihan received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and went on to get her Master’s in architecture, from Columbia University, in New York. She done internships in England, France and Italy, but it was the repetitive, monotonous rhythm of hundreds of soviet-built housing cities she saw in Czechoslovakia that most influenced the way she looked at building facades. After completing her studies, she decided to use all of the acquired knowledge in the name of art, by creating impressive architectural models from paper.

Christina Lihan first decided to dedicate her life to art during the time she spent living in Florida, designing hospitals for another architect. She was really bored, and realized she needed a creative outlet so she just started cutting paper, playing with it and trying to turn it into building models. It sort of grew from there and ultimately became her passion. Her impressive creations are made from unpainted, 300lb, watercolor paper. She carves, cuts and folds every little piece by hand until she assembles them into a completed composition. Ms. Lihan starts by photographing the site she wants to replicate, then moves on to sketching with charcoal, and finally enlarges the drawing to the desired size of the finished piece. She generally places the detailed pieces of paper directly over the drawing.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #4

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10 Creepiest Abandoned Morgues on Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Couch Surfing, Literally (Metro)

Geeks Change Names for Super-Long Superhero Names (Anorak)

The Severed Child’s Hand iPhone Case (Geekosystem)

Shotgun with a Chainsaw Handle (Neatorama)

Alfie, the Mustache-Wearing Horse (Daily Mail)

Wannabe Superheroes Guard English Town (SWNS)

Mayor Drives Armored Vehicle over Illegally Parked Car (Newslite)

10 Beautiful Chinese Women Executed over the Past 30 Years (China Smack)

EVOL’s Hidden Cities (Dudecraft)

Chinese Man Builds 600,000-Cigarette-Pack Fort

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Wang Guanyi, a 46-year-old cigarette pack collector from Longnan, China, has recently built a fort model using 600,000 empty cigarette packs.

Wang is a famous person in his home city because he usually greets everyone with “hello, do you smoke? do you have cigarette packs?” He says he has been fascinated with cigarette packs ever since he was a little boy, and collected his first one off the street, when he was just seven years old. He was first attracted by the bright colors and nice images on the packs, and kept collecting them until he reached an impressive 600,000. As you can imagine, every corner of his house was filled with them, but just when he was running out of space, he saw a TV show about a man who had built a house out of wine bottles, and was inspired to do the same thing with his cigarette pack collection.

It took him about a month to finish his 30-foot fort-like building made with 600,000 colorful cigarette packs. It was 6.06m long, 4.68m wide and 1.68m wide, and won Wang Guanyi a certificate from the China Record Office for the world’s largest cigarette pack structure. Unfortunately, he had built his unique fort on rented space, and since the costs were apparently too high for him to handle, he was forced to tear it down as soon as his record was acknowledged.

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Beautiful Halftone Photos Drilled in Plywood

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A 21-year-old Finish modder, who goes by the name Metalfusion, has developed an ingenious method of creating CNC routed halftone images on pieces of plywood.

Similar to printing newspaper images using dots of ink, the process thought up by Metalfusion consists of using a v-bit router bit to drill different size holes by plunging it at different depths. He has also created a special software that allows him to convert normal images into files that are ready to be cut on a CNC machine. Although the end result id definitely impressive, the drilling process takes over an hour, since each image requires thousands of individual dots.

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Intricate Paper Carpet Drawn Only with Bic Pencils

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Paris-based artist Jonathan Brechignac has created an awe-inspiring Muslim prayer carpet made of paper and drawn only with black Bic pens.

”I never really knew what I wanted from the beginning. Finding inspiration and learning through trials was key to the project,” Jonathan says about his amazing project. Made to fit the size of an actual Muslim prayer carpet, his intricate masterpiece draws inspiration from different types of art, including French roman, traditional Japanese, native American and Mexican, as well as camouflage elements and animal patterns. It’s a truly wonderful artistic achievement, but creator Jonathan Brechignac describes is as a fight with himself, inch by inch. Before even starting on it he spent long periods of time thinking and planning, followed by trials to find the perfect patterns.

Work on this detailed paper rug was done only in Jonathan’s spare time and took a total of 15 months, which really isn’t very much, considering the Muslim carpet masters of old spent a decade, even a lifetime working on a single piece. What is most remarkable about Brechignac’s carpet is the fact that all the intricate details have been done only with black Bic pencils. Looking at the patterns you probably think he went through dozens of pencils, but so far he really only needed two of them.

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Video Card Museum Opens in Kharkov, Ukraine

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It all started with a small private exhibition, but now the Video Card Museum in Kharkov is open to the public, and growing larger every day, thanks to donations made by video card enthusiasts.

I stumbled across some photos of this museum while searching for writing material on an obscure Russian site, and after doing some research with the help of Google Translate, I found out this is a relatively new attraction in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov. Alexander, or SArd, as he’s known online, tells the story of how he came up with the idea for a video card museum, on Habrabar.ru. It all started in 1998, when his uncle gave him his first computer powered by a an Intel Celeron 266 processor and an S3 ViRGE DX c video card with 2 MB of memory. At the time, he thought 2 extra megabytes would solve all his problems and he would be able to play the coolest video games, forever.

As the years went by he went through many generations of graphic cards, learning new things about them and yearning for the models he could never afford. His passion for them passed the test of time, and at the end of 2010 he already had a collection of 35 video cards, which, with the support of PCShop Group, he was able to display in a private exhibition. It wasn’t much but it was enough for the organizers to understand the potential of a video card museum. People flocked to the PCShop Group store asking questions about the exhibits and donating their own outdated models. When the exhibition was over, the collection had grown to 56 items.

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Artist Builds Castles Entirely from Human Hair

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Miami-based artist Agustina Woodgate has used clumps of human hair to create 3,000 bricks, which were then used to build two fantasy castles for her I Want to Be a Princess series.

Human hair seems to be a very popular art medium these days, considering a number of artists are using it to make all kinds of things, from hair necklaces, to high-heel shoes and even hair dresses. The last artist to use human air in her art is Agustina Woodgate, who recently used it to built two castles. The first one, called Tower, stands around four feet tall and is made from small tightly-bound hair bricks. Blonde hair was used for the castle’s window frame, and she made use of white hair from senior citizens, for the narrow ledge above the window. Most of the castle bricks were created using a mix of different-color hair that actually looks like clay. Her second hair structure, called Sandcastle, actually looks like it’s been molded from sand, using a children’s bucket.

Agustina Woodgate is known for her choice of unusual materials, like discarded materials and stuffed animals.

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