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Mind-Boggling Embroidered Portraits by Cayce Zavaglia

Cayce Zavaglia is an embroidery artist from St. Louis, Missouri whose embroidered portraits look more like paintings than needle and thread artworks.

Over the past 16 years, Cayce has created portraits of her family, friends and fellow artists, but while her passion for the expressions of the human face has remained constant, paint has slowly been replaced with a less toxic material – thread. She remembers her initial works were painted so thickly they looked a lot like cake frosting; she moved on to works on panel that required only medium-laden oil paint and eventually only used paint for the background of her amazing embroidered portraits. They still look like paintings from afar, but a closer look reveals their true nature and the amount of work that went into creating them.

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Artist Creates Un-BRIE-leavable Cheese Portraits

To celebrate British Cheese Week, artist Faye Halliday has created a series of creamy celebrity portraits made with cheese spread.

The young artist created her series of cheese portraits using only cheese spread on a black canvas. Halliday was commissioned by English brand Primula to test the versatility of their cheese spreads in a really ingenious way. “We’ve always known how versatile Primula Cheese spreads are, which is why our products are much loved by consumers across the country. This gave us some food for thought, so we decided to really put its versatility to the test and have a bit of fun with our Primula celeb portraits,” The unique exhibition that took place at  the N1 Shopping Centre in Islington, London included portraits of London mayor Boris Johnson, US President Barack Obama, Justin Bieber and cheesy English duo Jedward.

British Cheese Week started last Saturday and ends on Sunday, October 2nd.

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Embroidered Wine Stain Portraits by Amelia Harnas

American artist Amelia Harnas creates original portraits by spilling wine on white cotton or paper canvases and embroidering certain details to emphasize features.

It’s amazing what some artists can achieve with the most unusual of mediums. Take wine for example, I’ve seen it used as a weapon during the Haro Wine Battle, and as a relaxing spa attraction, but I never imagined someone could use it to create artistic portraits. But that’s exactly what Amelia Harnas does, she uses wine stains to make works of art. From the artist’s website:

These portraits are created either by using a wax resist (much like batiks) and repeated wine stains with embroidery as a reinforcing drawing over the original design or wine on paper with machine sewing. These are my first experiments using wine, and I am excited to continue expanding upon these first results.

It’s amazing how she’s able to control the wine to create just the right effects, and I’m sure her works are just going to get better as she gains more experience.

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Akodessewa Fetish Market – Africa’s Voodoo Supermarket

Togo’s Akodessewa Fetish Market is recognized as the largest fetish market in the world, a place where Voodoo practitioner can find anything they need for their rituals.

The practice of voodoo began in West Africa, before being taken to America by slaves, and in countries like Togo, Ghana, or Nigeria the religion is very much alive. Many people believe healers using animal parts and strange talismans can invoke spirits with their bizarre rituals, and solve their problems. And if there’s one place where voodoo priests can stock up on their creepy supplies, it’s the Akodessewa Fetish Market, in Togo’s capital city, Lome. Just think of it as an outdoor pharmacy where various animal parts, bone statues and herbs take the place of conventional medicine.

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Amazing Pin and Thread Installations by Debbie Smyth

British artist Debbie Smyth uses hundreds of pins and meters of delicate thread to create mind-blowing art installations.

I’ve seen a lot of impressive artworks made from thread, but young Debbie Smyth is really pushing the envelope with her incredible thread drawings. She’s mixing fine art drawings and textile art, illustration and embroidery, flat and 3D art, to create something totally unique that challenges viewers to ask themselves “how did she do it?”. Debbie starts her sophisticated art installations by plotting out the design with hundreds of thin pins on a white canvas, then moves on to fill it with thread. “On first glance, it can look like a mass of threads but as you get closer sharp lines come into focus, creating a spectacular image. The images are first plotted out before being filled out with the thread, the sharp angles contrasting with the floating ends of the thread.  And despite the complexity of the lengthy process I try to capture a great feeling of energy and spontaneity, and, in some cases, humour” the artist says about her works.

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Numberism – Using Numbers to Create Incredible Works of Art

Numberism is a unique drawing technique invented in 2008, by Portland-based artist Sienna Morris. She uses numbers and scientific formulas to draw beautiful works of art.

27-year-old Sienna Morris has been a painter and designer for most of her life, but she truly found her passion in 2008, when inspired by her obsession with time and the unanswerable question of how much we have left, she started drawing pieces using only the numbers of the clock (1 – 12). She tried to capture beautiful moments of our lives and just how fleeting they are, reminding us all to appreciate the present, knowing we only have one shot to do so. Sienna’s early works were drawn in pencil, but as she started creating larger scale pieces, she moved on to brown micron pen (005), and later to scratchboard, where she etches the numbers using an exacto blade and finishes with an ink or watercolor wash.

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Gregory Da Silva – The African Mad Hatter

Gregory Da Silva, better known as Egg Man, is an African comedian artist and storyteller famous for wearing an outrageous had adorned with 1,000 eggs.

Born in Benin, West Africa, Da Silva studied computer science but decided to follow his artistic calling and went on to found a theater group called Voice of Spirit. They performed political, comic and poetic theater shows in Benin, but he made a name for himself after he became the Egg Man and started giving street performances wearing his ridiculously large headgear. When he first started performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Gregory’s art was so unique it got him arrested by the local police, who had to call their superior for advice on what to do with him. They were told to let him go, and he’s been performing in the city’s Green Market Square ever since.

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Artist Creates Self-Portrait with Thousands of Plastic Bottle Caps

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

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

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

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

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. Read More »

Taiwanese Artist Uses Nail Gun as His Brush

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

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

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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