Pencil Shaving Portraits by Kyle Bean

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Artist Kyle Bean has created a series of unique portraits made with pencil shavings, for the new Handmade Issue of Wallpaper Magazine.

We’ve already featured Brighton-based Kyle bean a couple of times, for his intricate matchstick insects and eggshell chicken, and he continues to amaze us with more original works. Having been asked to contribute on the Handmade Issue of Wallpaper, he has created a series of beautiful portraits using only pencil shavings from colored pencils. A time-lapse video of the process of making one of these incredible works of art is also in the works, and will appear in the online edition of Wallpaper Magazine.

With such incredible projects under his belt already, I wonder what Kyle Bean has in store for us, in the future.

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The Cut-Away Leaf Art of Lorenzo Duran

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Some artist sculpt stone, others carve wood, but Spanish artist Lorenzo Duran decided to express his artistic talent by cutting tree leaves.

Even if Lorenzo Duran’s artworks were created digitally, like they appear to be, they’d still leave you impressed, but the skilled artist cuts his intricate models into real leaves, using a very sharp scalpel. He believes every natural object and living thing has a bit of art in it and is a good medium to experiment his creativity. Inspired by the old paper-cutting techniques of Chinese and Japanese artists, he decided to try them out on leaves, and although he still has a long way to go, he has created some truly impressive pieces. Whenever he gets an idea for a motif he first puts it on paper, then places it over a leaf and uses the scalpel to cut.

Duran has experimented a lot with cutting various types of leaves, and admits that most of his early works ended up in the trash, but he learned from his mistakes and developed a whole process of preparing leaves and cutting them so they don’t break as often. He has to pick just the right leaves (thicker ones are better), then come the washing, drying, pressing  and cutting. The last part is obviously the most delicate, because fragile leaves can break right at the end, and the artist loses days of work in an instant. Pretty frustrating, but nothing beats the feeling of fulfillment when he actually completes one of his cut-away artworks.

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Star Wars Fan Builds Giant R2D2 Model

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From the man who brought you the awesome duct tape AT-AT comes one of the coolest R2D2 models ever made.

Len Komanac, better known as DarthLen, onFlickr, loves to build detailed models of Star Wars icons, using cardboard, duct tape and glue. His detailed AT-AT model became an online when photos of it hit the interwebs, last year, and now he’s ready to wow you once more with a giant replica of everyone’s favorite droid, R2D2. Towering at 96 inches/240 cm, this free-standing sculpture is made from cardboard, silver HVAC tape and blue duct tape.

Len was kind enough to send us a list of the materials he used to complete his masterpiece: 4 fridge boxes, 5 AC boxes, 3 dryer boxes, 3 rolls of blue duct tape, 1 roll of aluminum tape, 52 glue sticks, 1 can of white paint and 2 sharpie pens. He worked on it for 50 hours.  This supersized version of R2D2 will be showcased at the “Dr. StrangeLen or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Make the Art” exhibit, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, so if you’re in the area between July 16 and September 2nd, don’t miss the chance to check it out.

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Photographic Artist Creates Beautiful Images That Will Probably Disgust You

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Chris Jordan is a photographic artist who uses his artworks to bring awareness to a serious problem of our time – consumerism. Seen from afar his images look like modern recreations of famous masterpieces, but as soon as he approaches the viewer is confronted with thousands of photographs of waste assembled into a beautiful picture.

He’s been called “the ‘it’ artist of the green movement” for his ability to send clear messages about mass consumption through beautiful images that end up disgusting the viewer. But while he’s always been interested in photography, he studied law school and became a corporate lawyer who only dedicated his free time to his favorite hobby. His father, a businessman, had also been passionate about photography and Chris remembers he “was filled with regret” that he couldn’t practice it full time. So, determined not to repeat his mistake, the young lawyer moved to Seattle, and quit the bar after ten years of practicing law, to dedicate his life to photography.

It was definitely a risky move, but definitely an inspired one as the success of his early shows in New York and Los Angeles propelled his career. Chris Jordan came to tackle consumerism by chance. He had taken photos of a pile of garbage and found it beautiful because of its complexity and great color, but when friends of his, who were active in consumerism, started commenting on it, he got the idea for his future projects.

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Pepquinos – The World’s Smallest Watermelons

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As consumers turn to micro-products, the “mini” trend seems to affect all areas of our lives. We keep seeing ever-smaller telephones, computers, cars, and apparently fruits are no exception.

While they might look genetically-engineered, Pepquinos come from an ancient wild plant in South America, and are 100% natural. They are just 3-cm-long and 2 cm in diameter, but apart from their size, they look just like regular watermelons. But only on the outside, because once sliced, the juicy green flesh of a cucumber is revealed. They also have the crisp fresh taste of cucumbers and usually served in luxury restaurants, as appetizers, in summer salads, stir fried and even as a sorbet.

The rare Pepquinos were discovered and brought to Europe in 1987, by a Dutch company that later began producing them and selling seeds. They’ve only recently started cultivating them in the US and Asia, but their popularity in foodie communities is growing rapidly. The growth cycle of the Pepquinos plant is between 60 and 85 days, and a single string yields 60 to 100 fruit.

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Jeweler Immortalizes Pet Snouts and Paws into Fashion Accessories

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Jewel artist Jackie Kaufman has sniffed out a way to help pet owners keep they’re beloved companions close even after they’ve left this world. She creates beautiful sterling silver jewelry based on molds of animal snouts and paws.

Jackie creates all kinds of beautiful accessories, all of which you can see at her Etsy shop, but she’s best known for her unique series of animal mold pieces. She got the idea after she was approached by a client who owned a terminally ill dog, and has been creating them ever since. First, Jackie sends her clients special molds with which they can take highly detailed impressions of their animal’s noses and paws, and when she receives them she hand-casts them in sterling silver rings, pendants, bracelets and other accessories. The pet’s name or a special message can also be engraved on the back.

Owning such unusual jewelry is definitely a sign of love for your pet, but how does one get a dog or cat to wear a mold on its nose, even for a short while? My dog barely lets me touch his nose, let alone grab it and cover it with something. And how does the animal breathe when his nose is covered?

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Meet the World’s Biggest Harry Potter Fan

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Harry Potter fans around have crowned their king and his name is Steve Petrick. The 22-year-old, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has won the title of World’s Biggest Harry Potter Fan after entering an online contest, last year, and posting a video of why he should get first place.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is the most successful film series in history, grossing billions of dollars at the box office and influencing the lives of millions of children around the world. But Steve Petrick was a die-hard fan of the fantasy world way before it was cool, and even though it pains him the movie series is coming to an end, he’ll be a fan even after its popularity wears off. A freshman fine arts major at Kent State, Petrick has been striving to become Harry Potter’s biggest fan since he first discovered Rowling’s books, and even though it took him 12 years to get the recognition he deserves, it’s never too late.

Steve Petrick got hooked on Harry Potter when he was just 11 years old. He had failed English class and his parents banned him from playing outside, so he found refuge in the wonderful world of Harry Potter. He has learned from the Harry Potter books than anything or anyone else in his life, and says “they might not mean something to everyone else, but they mean something to me.”

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Sweet Architecture: The Sugar Cube Sculptures of Brendan Jamison

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Brendan Jamison is a young contemporary artist who creates arguably the sweetest sculptures in the world, literally. His designs are top notch, but its the sugar cubes he uses as building material that make his works irresistible.

31-year-old Jamison, from Belfast Northern Ireland, first started using sugar cubes as building blocks for large scale buildings in 2004, when he created a series of 9-foot-tall minaret-style buildings. They caused quite a stir in the art world, and even caught the eyes of building developers, many of which commissioned him to create sweet models of their architectural projects.

Although he has worked with a variety of materials throughout his artistic career, including  bronze, wood and wool, it’s safe to say it was his sugar-cube creations that brought him international recognition. “Sugar is a beautiful material to work with, it can be cut and carved into organic shapes, and the sugar crystals can provide a sparkling surface in natural light”, Jamison says about his favorite medium.

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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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