Meet Dalton Stevens – The Button King

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Dalton Stevens, from Bishopville, South Carolina, has earned the title of Button King after he spent 15 years stitching and gluing thousands of buttons on all sorts of objects.

The Button King’s story began one night in 1983, when his insomnia prevented him from falling asleep. Back then, television went off at two in the morning, so he had to find something to pass the time. Searching through his old things, he found an old denim jumpsuit and started sewing buttons on it. Two years and ten months later, Dalton was still a chronic insomniac, but his jumpsuit was covered with 16,333 buttons and weighed 16 pounds. Remarkably as that sounds, it was only the beginning of his incredible experience with buttons.

Even after completing his button tracksuit, Stevens kept attaching thousands of buttons on various stuff. He glued 3,005 buttons on his guitar and 517 buttons on his shoes. His banjo, piano and his 1983 Chevette soon followed, and before long, his unique occupation grabbed the attention of the media. He was featured on a local television show, from there on CNN, and pretty soon the entire world knew the story of the incredible Button King. He was invited on popular television shows like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Geraldo, Regis & Kathy Lee, where he would wear a button-covered outfit and play his banjo.

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Artist Makes Celebrity Portraits from Thousands of Circles

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Using an original technique he calls Digital Circlism, artist Ben Heine creates detailed portraits of celebrities like Eminem, Bob Marley or Elvis Presley.

A Belgian artist born in the Ivory Coast, Heine is most famous for his Pencil vs Camera series, which was covered by many of the major online media outlets, but his Digital Circlism portraits are equally, if not more impressive. Using a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4, he applies thousands of circles on a black background, until he creates a colorful, realistic portrait. You might think he uses some kind of automated process to apply every circle, but that’s actually the most remarkable thing about Ben Heine – he adds every one of the circles individually. Each circle has a different color, a different tone and a different size, which makes creating a single one of these artworks very time consuming. His latest work, a portrait of hip-hop icon Eminem, is made exclusively with flat circles on a black background, and took nine days of intensive labour to complete.

A new technique, developed by Ben Heine himself, Digital Circlism could certainly develop into an important artistic movement.

 

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Chinese Transformers Fan Builds His Own Army of Robots

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All geeks love Transformers, but Yang Junlin of Huizhou, China, took his passion for the franchise to a whole other level when he opened the “Legend of Iron” factory and began producing his own robots.

Remebre that uber-cool Megatron Tank we featured a few weeks back? That was one of Yang Junlin’s iron masterpieces, but I had no idea he had created hundreds of other incredible metal sculptures. In 2006, after retiring from the army, Yang went to a concert where various steel sculptures were placed on display. Some of them were simple human figures created from twisted metal wire, but they made such an impression on him, that he decided to try and make his own steel works.

A year later, Yang Junlin opened his own factory, Legend of Iron, and hired over 10 workers to help him realize his dream of building cool robot sculptures. They use all kinds of scrap metal, from old car parts to simple sheets of steel andcreate some of the most amazing looking Transformers replicas I’ve ever seen. Although he admits his work is quite time-consuming, Yang has built over 1,000 iron sculptures since he opened Legend of Iron, five years ago, and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

Check out more photos of the geek eye-candy Legend of Iron creates, after the break:

 

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Creepy Post-It Art by John Kenn Mortensen

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John Kenn Mortensen is a Danish artist who uses the common post-it as canvas for his mysterious and scary artworks.

While other modern artists search for ever larger canvases to express their artistic talents, Mortensen lets his imagination runs wild on the tiny sheets of paper we know as post-its. Most of us use them as reminders around the office, but the Dane sees post-its as tiny canvases that allow him to quickly render the creepy products of him imagination, and get them off his mind, so he doesn’t stress himself to them over them.

A professional character animator by trade, John Kenn Mortensen says he has always enjoyed drawing, but his recent ghoulish post-it artworks are inspired by the works of Stephen King and H.P. Lovercraft. Although he didn’t expect any type of response, John Kenn admits he’s pleased so many people enjoy his work.

Check the artist’s blog for his latest post-it creations

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Virgin Eggs – A Chinese Delicacy Soaked in Boys’ Urine

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While anything boiled and soaked in boys’ urine doesn’t sound tasty at all, Virgin Eggs are considered a Spring delicacy, in China’s Zhejiang Province.

In most places, Spring is all about the smell of blooming flowers, but in Chinese cities like Dongyang, the streets reek of urine. No, the smell doesn’t come from drunk people reliving themselves in dark corners and back alleys, but from the large pots of Virgin Eggs. Called tongzi dan (literally “boy egg) they are an old culinary tradition listed as part of the Dongyong cultural heritage, similar to tea eggs – hard boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce and vinegar. The only difference is Virgin Eggs are soaked in urine.

Vendors collect virgin boys’ urine from elementary schools around the city and use it as a main ingredient for their unusual street food. Plastic barrels are placed outside the classrooms and boys are reminded to pee in them, unless they are sick.  The pee is then used to boil eggs, their shell cracked to allow the flavour to slip through, then soaked in urine and boiled again. The whole “cooking” process takes an entire day. I know it sounds disgusting, but some people say they “have the taste of Spring”, while others claim “they’re so delicious that I could eat 10 a day”.

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Unbelievable Pen and Ink Art by Sagaki Keita

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Japanese artist Sagaki Keita recreates famous artworks out of thousands of whimsical characters he created using his own imagination.

Looking at the creations of this talented 27-year-old artist, I can’t help but remember my childhood days when I would doodle all kinds of drawings on the back of every notebook I had. But while my drawings were just plain silly, Sagaki’s are true masterpieces. Looking at his artworks from afar, they just  seem like well executed recreations of popular paintings and sculptures, but as soon as you approach, you notice there’s something more to them. Thousands of small characters come together so perfectly to create a complex yet very detailed composition that simply blows your mind.

Sagaki Keita doesn’t reveal much about his technique on his official site, but he doesn’t really need to, his incredible works really are worth a thousand words.

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The Postage Stamp Paintings of Peter R. Mason

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British artist Peter R. Mason uses thousands of recycled postage stamps to create extraordinary pixelated images that look like genuine paintings, from afar.

Peter R. Mason was born in  Brownhills, England an d studied at the Stafford College of Art, where he was awarded the National Diploma in Design in Painting and Lithography, in 1962. After spending his entire life teaching art and design at secondary schools in Staffordshire, Liverpool and Walsall, Mason enjoys his retirement and the opportunity to focus on creating unique works of art with common postage stamps.

Also known as “Post Pop Art Man” Peter has made name for himself creating tributes and portraits of some of the most imp0rtant artists and political figures of the twentieth century, using simple postage stamps. He begins by drawing the image he wants to produce on a canvas or a large sheet of paper, after which he divides it into stamp-sized squares. The stamps are then sorted by design, color and postmark pattern. Each stamp has to be soaked to remove the envelope backing, then dried, cut and shaped perfectly before being glued in place. By paying a great deal attention to every detail, Peter R. Mason manages to create detailed artworks that look like colorful photos of their subjects.

For a typical 4′ x 3′ postage stamp painting, the artist uses around 3,500 stamps, and his largest works include up to 22,000 of them, so how does the artist get all the necessary material. His friends and family help out as much as they can, but the bulk of the stamps comes from English stamp dealers interested in the creative use of postage stamps.

Peter R. Mason’s latest stamp masterpiece is a portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton, in celebration of their upcoming wedding.

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Galleta Meadows – A Metal Menagerie of Incredible Creatures

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Galleta Meadows is a unique sculpture park of the Anza Borrego Desert, filled with dozens of metal creatures that supposedly inhabited the area millions of years ago.

The Anza Borrego Desert isn’t the most hospitable place on the North American continent, and it’s definitely not where you’d expect to find an outdoor art exhibit like Galleta Meadows. Owned by multimillionaire Dennis Avery (as in Avery office supplies), this unusual tourist attraction is a desert creature park open to anyone brave enough to face the desert and the unbearable heat that comes with it.

The story of Galleta Meadows began in the 90′s, when Avery decided to invest some of his fortune in a vast territory in Borrego Springs. Ho got it for an “uncontestable price” but had no idea of how he was going to use it, so he put no barbwire around it and no “Private Property” signs. Later, he built a winter residence, followed by a tourist resort, a country club and a golf course, but he needed something unique to attract tourist to his newly opened facilities.

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Life-Size Chevrolet Is World’s Largest Play-Doh Sculpture

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A life size Play-Doh replica of the Chevrolet Orlando MPV, created to mark the launch of the seven-seater, has been turning heads on the streets of London.

The sculpture was created out of 1.5 tonnes of blue Play-Doh, by a team of eight model makers who worked on it for two-week period. Created as a marketing scheme for the launch of the Orlando MPV in the UK, the 4.6-meters-long, 1.8-meters-wide Play-Doh Chevrolet has set a new record for the world’s largest Play-Doh sculpture.

The plasticine-like substance may seem like a strange material to build a car, but the marketers decided on it after Play-Doh was voted the most loved toy of 2010, with 19% of the votes. LEGO came in close second with 17%, followed by Kinder Surprise, 15 %.

It’s hard to believe the popular toy started out as a wallpaper cleaner, in the early 1950′s.

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Ripley’s Terminator Sculpture Is a Tribute to Hollywood

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not has recently acquired a realistic-looking sculpture of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, and it that wasn’t cool enough, it’s covered with some of the most popular film characters created by Tinseltown.

Ripley’s has a variety of amazing stuff waiting to be discovered in its Odditoriums, but their newest attraction – a sculpture executed by John Ramos – may just be their geekiest yet. The life-size Terminator was designed as an homage to the American film industry and features depictions of some of the most popular characters in the history of cinema. Looking closely, you’ll discover three dimensional scenes from blockbuster hits like Rocky, Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, Jaws, Alien, Predator, The Simpsons, Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more.

This unique Terminator sculpture is made of clay, resin, paper, plastic and even a real vampire bat, and took Ramos five months to complete. He is now working on a motorcycle to go with the statue and plans on covering with even more Hollywood inspired artworks.

The Terminator is currently on display in the Orlando Odditorium lobby, but will be transferred to the one in Hollywood, as soon as it’s renovation is complete.

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Toothpick Artist Creates Detailed Toothpick Portraits of Celebrities

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Steven J. Backman, one of the world’s most talented toothpick artists, creates detailed portraits of celebrities and icons exclusively out of toothpicks.

The first time I visited Mr. Backman’s official site I was fascinated by his incredible models of famous landmarks made from a single toothpick, which I presented here on Oddity Central, a while back. But I remembered seeing a series of incredibly detailed portraits that the artist creates exclusively out of wooden toothpicks, and just had to show them to you guys.

Using dozens of toothpicks and glue, Steven J. Backman manages to create unique masterpieces that look like the work of a talented graphic designer. He obviously spends a lot of time working on them, because the likeness and attention to detail are simply amazing.

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The Wristwatch Motorcycles of Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau

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Talented Brazilian artist Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau creates beautiful motorcycle miniatures using only parts from old wristwatches.

Pfau’s passion for motorcycles began in the 1960′s. He owned various types of motorcycles, some of them modified and inspired by the movie “Easy Rider”. But the artist born and raised in Blumenau, Santa Catarina was also fascinated by the arts, and it was only natural that his artistic talent and passion for bikes combine in a unique project. At first, he developed several motorcycle images, but after reading about artists who created motorcycle miniatures out wood, pottery, wire and other materials, he decided to make similar artworks, out of a completely new medium – wristwatches.

The time pieces that inspired Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau’s creations were collected with a help of a friend who happened to own a wristwatch shop. Through an advertising campaign, clients were encouraged to give their old watches as a first installment on the purchase of a new one. This provided the artist with the necessary materials to experiment and create his unique wristwatch motorcycles.

Although Pfau only creates his art during the weekends, he has a collection of hundreds of motorcycles made exclusively from wristwatch components. They have been showcased at jewelry fairs and art exhibitions throughout Brazil and several other countries.

 

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The Hair Museum of Avanos

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Regarded as one of the weirdest museums in the world, the Hair Museum of Avanos, in Cappadocia, is definitely a must-see if you’re into bizarre tourist spots.

Ever since 3000 BC, Avanos has been known for its high quality earthenware, made from the mineral-rich mud of the Red River, but in recent years, the town has mostly been mentioned in relation to a unique hair museum created by skilled Turkish potter Chez Galip. The unusual establishment, located under Galip’s pottery shop, is filled with hair samples from over 16,000 women. The walls, ceiling, and all other surfaces, except the floor, are covered with locks of hair from the different women who have visited this place, and pieces of paper with addresses on them.

The story goes that the museum was started over 30 years ago, when one of Galip’s friends had to leave Avanos, and he was very sad. To leave him something to remember her by, the woman cut a piece of her hair and gave it to the potter. Since then, the women who visited his place and heard the story gave him a piece of their hair and their complete address. Throughout the years, he has amassed an impressive collection of over 16,000 differently colored locks of hair, from women all around the world.

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Thai Parliament Building Made from 200,000 Food Cans

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If you’re a fan of Canstruction art, you’re going to love this – a group of Thai students have built a replica of the new Thai Parliament building using around 200,000 food cans.

The event took place during the “Health Food and Ingredients Thailand 2011″ exhibition and, as you can imagine, grabbed a lot of attention. The 200,000 cans were all placed by hand, and this one-of-a-kind replica of the Thai Parliament will most likely find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Just like it happens in Canstruction events, I’m sure the cans will be donated to various charities, as soon as the sculpture is dismantled.

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Chicken Made of Eggshells Tries to Answer What Came First

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Using eggshells of different shades and tones, British artist Kyle Bean has managed to create an impressive sculpture of a chicken.

We’ve recently covered Kyle’s intricate matchstick insects, and mentioned that although he only graduated from art school two years ago, he’s a fast rising star of the art world, one who already has an impressive portfolio. He manged to prove me right by adding a few new works under his belt, including a unique chicken sculpture made of egg shells called “What Came First”.

It might not solve the ages-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, but it is clear proof of Kyle Bean’s talent, patience and attention to details.

 

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