Balloon Artist Creates Life-Size Inflatable Dinosaurs

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Mark Verge combines his balloon-twisting talent with a passion for collecting fossils to create life-size balloon models of dinosaurs.

43-year-old Mark Verge, from Ontario, Canada, first started working with balloons in 1995, after getting his hands on a book on making balloon models. It was a lot more difficult than he thought, as balloons would constantly pop when twisted, but after 16 years of practice he has reached a point where he can create intricate sculptures using thousands of balloons. He has developed his own technique and uses a variety of different-sized balloons to create his inflatable masterpieces.

The idea of making life-size models of dinosaurs was inspired by his passion for collecting fossils, so one day he just started twisting balloons to make a dinosaur skeleton. It was a success and now he has a collection of balloon dinosaurs, as well, including a spinosaurus made from 800 balloons, a stegosaurus and triceratops made from 700 balloons, and a utahraptor made from 200 balloons. But his most impressive work yet is a 39-foot model of a T-Rex, made from 1,400 balloons. It took Verge 55 hours to finish, as he had to create each vertebra individually and put them together at the end, to make sure his T-Rex looked just right. You might think there’s a metal frame in there somewhere, but it’s all in the balloons (and the stands that sustain it). It took a lot of effort, but this inflatable masterpiece won Mark Verge the first place in the world balloon-sculpting competition.

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The Incredible Flower and Sand Carpets of La Otorava

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In the Spanish town of La Otorava, Tenerife, the festival of Corpus Christi Festival is celebrated by lining the streets with beautiful themed carpets made from flower petals and colored volcanic sand.

Featuring some of the most fragrant art displays in the world, the feast of Corpus Christi attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world, eager to see what the skilled alfombras (carpet makers) come up with every year. In the Canary islands, Corpus Christi has been celebrated for the last 300 years, but the first person to ever create a flower carpet is believed to be Leonor de Castillo Monteverde, who in 1847 decided it would be a good idea to decorate the road in front of her house with flower petals, for the procession to walk over. It measured only three square meters, but made a strong impact on the community, and eventually became a local tradition. In the 164 years since then , La Otrava flower and sand carpets have only been suspended twice, in 1891 and 1897.

The tradition of making large carpets with scented flower petals and volcanic sand from the foothills of Mount Teide has come a long way since its humble beginnings and the artworks are becoming more spectacular with each passing year. Several days before the celebration, local families and even design companies draw the carpets on paper, and on the big day, men and children draw the outline on the streets, while women fill the designs with various flower petals. All the locals get involved in this beautiful celebration and create a truly pleasant atmosphere.

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The Haro Wine Battle – A Water Fight for Grown-Ups

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Every year, the small town of Haro, one of the biggest wine producers in Spain, hosts the traditional “Batalla del Vino”, the Wine Battle, where participants throw tons of red wine at each other.

Part of the Haro Wine Festival, the annual Wine Battle takes place on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro, and is attended by thousand of people from La Rioja region of northern Spain. The day starts early, at 7 am, with the town mayor parading through the town, on horseback. The procession of people old and young, dressed in white clothes, wearing red scarves and carrying all kinds of wine-filled recipients, follows him on foot through the nearby Mountains of Bilibio, all the way to a small chapel of San Felices. It’s a 7 km walk from Haro, but the fun everyone has after the short mass performed there.

As soon as the mass ends, the wine battle begins. Some people pour buckets of red wine on each other, other sprinkle it from water guns, or throw bags filled with wine. It’s really up to the participants what kind of “weapons” they choose to bring to the Haro Wine Battle, as long as they don’t cause injuries and are full of wine. After a few hours of bathing in wine, the whole mountain smells like a regular bodega, and everyone’s clothes go from white to purple. It’s estimated over 50,000 liters of wine are used every year, during this unique event.

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Meet Iggy, the World’s Biggest Neytiri Fan

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Iggy, also known as Mr. Avatar, from Edmonton, Alberta, is a fan of James Cameron’s blockbuster who loved the main female character, Neytiri, so much that he covered his entire back with tattoos of her.

You probably thought being a hardcore fan of Avatar meant watching the film more than 10 times, buying the DVD and Bluray versions, hunting for all kinds of memorabilia, and stuff like that. Well, Iggy does all that too, but he’s taken his passion for the world of Pandora and Neytiri to a whole new level. Back in March 2010, Geekologie first introduced “Avatar Tattoo Guy”, after he had just gotten his first back tattoo. That was only the beginning, because meanwhile he added 10 more (all of Neytiri) and planned his 11th, a big Toruk on his chest. For now, he’s hitting the gym more often, so he can get better places for his Neytiri tattoos.

But while tattoos brought him Internet fame, his obsession with Neytiri isn’t limited to ink on his body. Some of the latest photos he posted on his TypePad profile show his truck got a Neytiri makeover, as well, and a NEYTIRI license plate to boot. He also has photos of the 9-feet-tall alien beauty all over his house.

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Designers Recreate Double Coffee Logo from Coffee

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Latvian coffee shop chain, Double Coffee, celebrated the opening of its second venue in Moscow, Russia, by creating a giant mosaic of its logo, from cups of coffee.

The event took place on June 18, on Old Arbat Street, in Moscow, where a group of designers armed with clipboards started arranging plastic cups of coffee right on the pavement. No one really knew what they planned to do, at first, but as their work started to take shape, everyone recognized the logo of coffee shop chain Double Coffee. To celebrate their second Moscow venue, right on Old Arbat Street, they used 3,300 cups, 220 liters of coffee and 120 liters of milk to recreate the brand logo. To finish the job, the young designers sprinkled ground coffee around the logo to keep the cups together. It’s not clear what happened with all the coffee once the tasty installation was dismantled, but I’m sure the curious crowd that gathered around it was more than happy to help clear the street.

A similar coffee mosaic of the Mona Lisa was created two years ago, in Sydney, Australia, using 3,603 cups of coffee and 564 pints of milk.

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Ukrainian Artist Creates the Most Amazing Wooden Miniature Bikes

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We’ve featured some pretty awesome motorcycle miniatures, in the past, but few were as incredibly detailed as young Vyacheslav Voronovich’s wooden masterpieces.

The Lvov-based artist dreamed of owning a motorcycle ever since he was just a kid, and rode his first one in the seventh grade. At the same time he was always interested in hand-made miniatures, and developed a passion for woodcarving. So even though he couldn’t afford to buy himself a real motorcycle, he discovered he could create his own perfect wooden replicas.

The idea of making his first 1:12 scale wooden motorcycle first came to Vyacheslav a year and a half ago, and it quickly turned into a hobby. He was inspired by some other motorcycle miniatures he had seen online, and wanted to see if he could make his own, from wood. In the beginning, he had some doubts he could actually pull it off, but after figuring out what kind of wood to use for each component, things started going smoothly. He finished his first bike and noticed that every new one he created looked better than the last.

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Artist Carves Detailed Oreo Frosting Portraits

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Somerville-based artist, Judith G. Klausner, has created a series of classic style cameos, using Oreos as her medium of choice.  Judith started making Oreo cameos back in August 2010, as part of her “From Scratch” series, which features artworks made from toast, cereals, condiments or cheese, and says they’ve all lasted fairly well until now. She keeps the carved Oreos in the fridge, because high temperatures cause the frosting to melt, and humidity causes the cookie to crumble, but in climate-controlled environments, the Oreos’ preservatives make them a “fairly permanent material”.

Judith G. Klausner creates her unique Oreo cameos using fine tools such as toothpicks, straight pins and a balled-tip sculpture stick.

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Photographer Makes Creative Portraits from Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers

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Klaus Enrique Gerdes, a New York City photographer, has created a series of original portraits made exclusively from vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Seeing these incredible artworks for the first time, I thought they were masterpieces of the famous Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593) – an Italian artist known for his imaginative portraits made entirely from fruits, vegetables and flowers. But whereas Arcimboldo painted his portraits, Gerdes first created them from real fruits, vegetables and flowers, and then took photos of them. They actually remind me a little of the fabulous vegetable art of Ju Duoqi, and Carl Warner’s foodscapes.

Gerdes told the PDN Gallery that the idea for his organic portraits first came to him while working with leaves.  ”While I was photographing a human eye that was peeking out amongst hundreds of leaves, it occurred to me that I could actually utilize leaves to construct portraits or masks.” It just evolved from there and he started using fruits, vegetables and flowers.

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Super Mario Fan Creates His Own Geeky Nintendo-mobile

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The car you’re about to see started off as just a design, but seeing other cars with custom theme paint jobs, Sherod Grayer decided to make his Nintendo-mobile a reality.

The 25-year-old Nintendo fan, from Warner Robins, Georgia, played around with the idea of a Nintendo-themed car, five years ago, but inspired by other theme paint jobs, he decided to turn his virtual design into a real car. So he started working on his 1991 Chevy Caprice, turning it from an old, outdated ride, into a cool ride any Nintendo fan would be happy to own. Everything you see in the photos below, both on the inside and the outside, was designed by Sherod himself.

Seen from the outside, Sherod’s Nintendo-themed Caprice doesn’t look that impressive, since it doesn’t have any distinctive features apart from the spray-painted NES controllers, but the interior is a whole other matter. The colors alone scream Nintendo, and the custom-made seats and headrests featuring Mario, Luigi and the Nintendo logo let everyone know they’re about to set foot in a geeky shrine on wheels. I’m not to crazy about the 22-inch rims, but I guess that’s how they roll down in Georgia.

Overall great job Sherod, and thanks a lot for the photos!

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Doll Addict Collects $2 Million-Worth of Antique Dolls

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Kathy Libraty, an antique doll collector from Brooklyn, New York, has spent the last 25 years searching for antique dolls, and now has an impressive collection of over 1,000 items that’s worth around $2 million.

Believe it or not, Kathy’s fascination with dolls didn’t start when she was a little girl. In fact she remembers she was more of a tomboy and had no real interest in dolls or any girly stuff. Born in France, she and her parents immigrated to the US when she was only 4. After graduating from Brooklyn College with a BA in Art, her passion for photography took her to Europe and the Middle East, where she took a real interest in history and old art. When she and her husband, Frank, bought an old Victorian house, Kathy decided to pursue her love for antiques and started attending country auctions. She was intrigued that people sometimes paid large amounts of money for wigless doll heads, broken limbs and crooked-eye dolls, but not enough to start spending money on them, herself.

It wasn’t until one day, 25 years ago, that Kathy Libraty really became addicted to collecting antique dolls. She and Frank were driving around the neighborhood when they saw a man emptying boxes of antiques into a dumpster. She saw a doll’s leg sticking out and told Frank to stop the car. They went up to the man and asked him if he was going to throw all those things away, and he just replied “Yeah, it’s all dirty old junk”, so they offered to take it off his hands.  When they got home and looked through the “junk” they found a rare 24″ George Borgfeldt doll, several composition mama dolls, and a broken bisque Cuno and Otto Dressel Shoulder head doll. She often wondered what other treasures that man had thrown away in the dumpster that day, but the wonders she managed to get her hands on inspired her to go out into the world and discover her own priceless treasures.

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Entrepreneur Turns Atomic Reactor into Popular Amusement Park

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Wunderland Kalkar is a unique amusement park built on the site of a never-used power plant, complete with a fast breeder reactor, in Kalkar, Germany.

Construction of the Kalkar nuclear plant began in 1972, but was constantly  delayed due to technical difficulties and protests from those concerned about the safety of nuclear power. When it was completed, over 10 year later, authorities decided to pull the plug on the project, and the $4 billion complex was dismantled in  less than a decade. The fast breeder reactor remained in place, and in 1995 Dutch entrepreneur Hennie van der Most bought what was left of the Kalkar plant for a mere €2.5 million and managed to turn it into a profitable amusement park visited by over 600,000 people, every year.

Wunderland Kalkar has around 40 rides, for children and adults alike, and a 400-bed hotel. Among the most interesting features of the park are the swing ride set up inside the cooling facility, and the climbing wall on its outer walls. Also, chairoplanes, quad bikes, go-karts and a whole bunch of other fun gadgets make trips to Wunderland Kalkar a blast for the whole family.

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Designer Gives Dollar the Pop-Culture Treatment

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James Charles is not the first artist to use currency as inspiration for his original art, but his works are the geekiest I’ve seen in a while.

While some items of the “American Iconomics“series might have ou think that Charles simply manipulated the faces on genuine dollar bills, it’s just an illusion. The artist kept the original outline of the bills, but replaced the faces of former American presidents with those of famous pop icons like Jimi Hendrix, Master Yoda, Mr. Spock, Sarah Palin, and many others. In sone cases he simply drew over the faces of the presidents to give them a whole new look, but every one of his pop-culture dollars comes with a sarcastic and funny line of text.

The “American Iconomics” collection is currently on display at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery, where pop-art fans can purchase their favorite artworks for anywhere between $600 and $1,000.

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Artist Uses Motherboards as Canvases for His Art

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We’ve seen motherboards used as an art medium before, but Arizona-based artist Joe Dragt took it one step further when he decided to uses the basic computer components as painting canvases.

Joe first got the idea of using motherboards as canvases for his art earlier this year, when his full-time job required him to take more than 30 old computers to be recycled. Looking at that huge stack of computers, the idea just hit him. He thought thought the complexity of the circuits could make motherboards really great backgrounds for his paintings, and during these troubled economic times, they were much cheaper than traditional canvases, too.

He asked if he could take one of the old computer home, to give his idea a go, and it just blossomed from there. He recycles 100% of the computers he uses, meticulously unscrewing every component. He uses the motherboards as canvases, the co0l-looking parts for his sculptures, and sends the rest of the plastic and metal bits to recycling facilities. All potentially harmful elements are taken to a special facility, in Phoenix.

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Crayola Crayons Used to Create Colorful Artworks

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Nashville-based artist, Herb Williams, makes incredible 3D sculptures from hundreds of thousands of colorful Crayola crayons.

37-year-old Herb first started working with Crayola crayons, after he was inspired by a dream. He had worked with various mediums, but his career wasn’t really going anywhere, he had no money and was alienating his friends due to frustration. He even got to the point where he thought “this is not worth it”, burned some of his works, but it was that very night that he has a powerful dream in which someone inspired him to use crayons in his art. He got up the next morning, wrote some ideas in his notebook, and he has been making a living out of it ever since.

Most people would have probably used the crayons as drawing tools, but not Herb. He painstakingly cuts ever crayon to size, using a double guillotine cigar cutter, before sticking them to a shaped mould, with industrial glue. He is the only person in the world who has a personal account with Crayole, because of the high number of crayons he buys from them every year. Each of his spectacular 3D sculptures numbers thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of crayons, and he always has crates of 3,000 of each crayon color shaped to his workshop.

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Italian Artist Recycles Found Objects into Colorful Sculptures

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the work of Italian artist Dario Tironi is evident proof. While most people look at discarded objects and see only trash, he sees precious materials for his beautiful sculptures.

Old toys, discarded computer components, broken calculators, even plastic bottles, they’re all part of Tironi’s recycled universe. Similar to Robert Bradford, who uses old toys for his sculptures, and Leo Sewell,  the young Italian artist manages to glue together various junk items and create detailed sculptures of people and animals, and gives everyone who sees his art a whole new perspective on the concept of recycling.

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