Artist Creates Self-Portrait with Thousands of Plastic Bottle Caps

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Chicago-based artist Mary Ellen Croteau has created an astounding self-portrait using thousands of recycled plastic bottle caps.

Mary Ellen Croteau considers herself a political artist who uses her works to make statements and get people to look at things from a different perspective. This time she wanted viewers to acknowledge the presence of bottle caps in our everyday lives and realize how rarely they are recycled. Croteau was stacking plastic bottle caps and plastic pill bottles trying to create precarious towering columns inspired by the modernist works of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, when she noticed smaller caps fit inside the larger ones and created a whole new color combination. This got her thinking about Chuck Close’s art and the way he creates realistic portraits using just shapes of color.

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Self-Taught Artist Creates Incredibly Detailed Wildlife Scratchboard Art

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Self-educated artist Cristina Penescu creates wildlife-themed scratchboard artworks that look so real it’s hard to believe they’re not photographs.

It’s not often I get to cover the works of fellow Romanians, but I guess that’s what makes it so special. Cristina Penescu was born in 1988, in Bucharest, but her family relocated to California when she was only a year old. Her love for art and nature began during her early childhood and stuck with her through her youth, but it was only in August 2009, at the age of 20 that she started focusing on promoting her wildlife artworks and making a name for herself in the art community.

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Artist Pays Tribute to favorite Films and Video Games with Fingernail Paintings

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Maya Pixelskaya is very passionate about art, video games and movies, so she decided to combine the three and create unique designs on her fingernails.

One of Maya’s fingernail paintings, a detailed tribute to classic video game Doom made the rounds online this week, after it went viral on social bookmarking site Reddit.com. Unfortunately there was no mention of the artist, but luckily a Redditor recognized her work and was kind enough to link to her website, so we could enjoy the rest of her awesome fingernail works of art.

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Monsanto – A Portuguese Town Built between Giant Boulders

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The charming town of Monsanto, an ancient settlement perched on the side of a mountain in the Portuguese countryside, boasts some of the most incredible sights on Earth. Featuring tiny streets carved from rock and granite houses squeezed between giant boulders, it looks like a real life Bedrock.

In 1938, Monsanto was named ‘the most Portuguese town in Portugal’ which seems strange, considering most buildings in Portugal aren’t sandwiched between two boulders, or have massive rocks hanging above them, but its awarded standing of open air museum, has allowed it to keep its outwardly appearance throughout the years. Due to building restrictions in the area, Monsanto’s appearance hasn’t changed in centuries and has managed to retain its original charm.

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Rolf Buchholz – The Most Pierced Man in the World

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Rolf Buchholz, from Dortmund, Germany has a total of 453 studs and rings all over his body, and has recently been acknowledged by Guinness as the most pierced man in the world.

The 52-year-old computer expert discovered the world of piercing 11 years ago, and loved it so much that he has since then had 453 piercings in various parts of his body. Looking at him, you’d probably think most of them are  on his head and face, but you’d be wrong. Rolf has 94 piercings in and around his lips, 25 in his eyebrows, 8 in his nose, and a whopping 278 in his genital area. I don’t need to see it to believe it, but I wonder how he managed to fit that many in such a small area. Apart from his passion for piercings, Bucholz also has a thing for tattoos, and sports a full body suit that covers his entire torso and limbs.


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Taiwanese Artist Uses Nail Gun as His Brush

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Artist Chen Chun-hao, known as Howard Chen in the western world, uses a nail gun, an air compressor and millions of small nails to create incredible works of art.

Chen isn’t the only artist in the world using nails to create impressive artworks. Marcus Levine is perhaps the most famous nail-using person in the art world, but mosaic master Saimir Strati and Shannon Larratt have also experimented with the medium. But whereas the above mentioned artists hammered the nails into their canvases, Chen Chun-hao uses a nail gun, which allows him to use up to hundreds of thousands of mosquito nails (headless metal pins) for each of his masterpieces. He shoots them one by one into white canvases stretched over wooden boards, creating reproductions of traditional Chinese ink paintings.

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Dutch Artist Makes Creepy Flower-Covered Skeleton Sculptures

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Amsterdam-based sculptor Cedric Laquieze decorates real cat and dog skeletons with colorful fake flowers to create some of the creepiest sculptures you’ve ever seen.

Flowers and skeletons make one strange combination, but that’s probably what makes Laquieze’s sculptures so intriguing, the contrast between morbidity and beauty. He takes cat and dog skeletons and applies various fake flowers on them to make them look…prettier. I don’t care how many flowers he glues on there, these skeletons are still creepy as hell, if you ask me. Originally hailing from France, Cedric Laquiez has specialized in using all kinds of dead things for his artworks, from animal and bird skeletons, to dead insects and plants. Head on over to his blog, if you’re into this stuff.

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Awe-Inspiring Venator Class Star Destroyer Made from 43,000 LEGO Bricks

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I hope you’re seating down LEGO and Star Wars fans, because there’s a chance you might pass out from the awesomeness of this Venator Class Star Destroyer model made from 43,000 LEGO parts.

Now LEGO has been one of my favorite topics to write about on Oddity Central, and we’ve featured some pretty cool-looking creations, from the record-breaking LEGO Warship Yamato, to the mind-blowing LEGO Middle Earth, or the incredible LEGO sculptures of Nathan Sawaya. Well, it’s time to add another brick masterpiece to our collection – Sylvain Ballivet’s model of the Venator Class Star Destroyer featured in Star Wars, made from 43,000 parts. Sylvain, also known as iomedes in the world of LEGO enthusiasts, has created a lot of amazing sculptures, which you can check out on his blog, but the giant Venator is definitely the highlight of his career as a LEGO master.

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Britain’s Mysterious Coin-Covered Wishing Trees

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Sticking hundreds of small denomination coins into tree trunks is apparently a popular way of getting rid of illnesses.

At least that’s what the staff at a holiday attraction in Gwynedd discovered after investigating the story behind several coin-covered tree trunks in the vicinity of Italianate village Portmeirion. The first tree was cut down four years ago, in order to widen the path to the picturesque settlement founded in 1925, and within only a few months it was covered with 2p coins. Now there are seven such tree trunks in the area, so estate manager Meurig Jones started an investigation to uncover the origins of this unusual habit.

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House Painter Creates World’s Largest Ball of Paint

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Michael Carmichael, from Alexandria, Indiana has created the world’s largest ball of paint by covering a regulations baseball with tens of thousands of coats of colored paint, for more than 30 years.

The story of Michael’s unusual hobby began one day in the mid 1960s, when he was playing baseball for the Knox County Children’s Home. A baseball accidentally landed in some paint, and Michael was so intrigued by it that he decided to hold on to it as a keepsake. During the two years after that, he kept on dipping it in paint and painting it by hand, until it reached the size of a football. He donated his colorful creation to the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home Museum, where it’s still on display today. Later he tried to get it back so he could continue painting it, but they wouldn’t give it to him.

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World Egg Throwing Championships – An Egg-centric Competition

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One of the wackiest competitions in the world, the annual World Egg Throwing Championships held in Swaton, England feature a variety of events, all having to do with smashed eggs.

According to the World Egg Throwing Federation website, egg throwing is a local tradition inspired by historic events that occurred in the 14th century. It’s believed the ancient village of Swaton has stood on theses very grounds since before Roman times, but it wasn’t until 1322 that it became forever linked to egg throwing. The newly appointed Abbot was assigned to the Parish of Swaton  by royal decree, and found a rather ingenious way of increasing church attendance. As the only person in the settlement to own chickens, he provided one egg for each attendee to his sermons. But when the waters of the River Eau flooded, cutting off the church from the village, monks started throwing the eggs to the waiting locals. Legend has it when the gap became even wider, the monks used small trebuchets to make sure the eggs traveled the required distance.

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Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory Looks More Like the Palace of Versailles

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This is what you’d expect to see in the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the XIVth, but it’s actually the inside of a pharmaceutical company in Harbin, northeast China.

Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign. They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.

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Finnish Artist Uses Discarded Car Parts to Make Giant Sculptures of Cows

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Helsinki-based Miina Akkijyrkka has made a name for herself in the art world based almost exclusively on the image of the cow. Throughout her long career she has created various representations of the bovine that have managed to spun both interest and controversy.

Using the cow as inspiration for an art career may seem strange, but it makes a lot more sense once you take a look at her schooling history. She studied horses at the Equine College Ypäjä, then turned to studying dairy farming at the Dairy Farming School of North-Savo, before attending the School of Fine Arts of Finland. Miina is known as a protector of Finncattle, the native Finnish dairy breed, and even owns her own cows.

Asked about her relationship with cows, Miina Akkijyrkka told art21: My feelings for the cows are deeper than a mother’s feelings for her children, stronger than any feeling I have ever had for a lover, more than any other thing on earth; it’s like blood vessels. I share a placenta with cows. We share the same blood. I look at the world through a cow’s telescope. I have a tiny piece of macaroni through which I look at the world from a cow’s point of view. 

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Toasted Celebrity Portraits by Henry Hargreaves

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New York artist Henry Hargreaves makes portraits of modern icons using dozens of pieces of toast. You have to admit, burnt toast never looked this good.

With his series of toast portraits entitled “Toasted”, Henry Hargreaves joins the ranks of established artists who chose toast as their art medium, the likes of Maurice “Toastman” Bennett, Laura Hadland or Adam Sheldon. Using dozens of pieces of toast, some barely toasted, other burned to a crisp, Hargreaves managed to create a series of mosaic portraits that includes The Beatles, Che Guevarra, Jim Morrison and Marylin Monroe. I gotta say they all look good good enough to eat.

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Artist Writes Detailed Portraits of Dogs

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Florida-based artist Stephen Kline has created a new artistic technique that allows him to draw detailed portraits of dogs, using only text. For example he can draw the portrait of a poodle just by writing the word ‘poodle’ a few hundred times. You’d think writing the same  word so many times would eventually get boring even for the most patient artist, but Stephen has so far created hundreds of these brilliant litographs of every dog breed you can think of.

Stephen Kline introduced his Lines of Language technique in 1999, and since then he’s gained thousands of art-collecting fans from 20 different countries and every state in the US. His litographs have so far generated tens of thousands of dollars for dog rescue centers around the world.

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