Rocky Fiore – The Spiderweb Artist

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Considered to be America’s no. 1 spiderweb artist, Emil Fiore, known as Rocky, collects various kinds of spiderwebs and uses them to create unique artworks which he sells on his website, Whirled Wide Webs.

Rocky, 58, says he read about how to catch spiderwebs when he was just a kid. The little Golden Guide suggested to spray the web with hairspray and dust it with talcum powder, and because he learned a spider’s web normally lasts only a few hours, this preservation concept stuck in his head for years. He always loved the outdoors, but he only got the idea of collecting spiderwebs in his early 20s. He was experimenting with stained glass and at one point decided to spray paint one of the webs in his vegetable garden and sandwich it between two pieces of glass. It worked, but after 10 years it began to fall apart, and he switched to using just one piece of glass and varnish.

Rocky Fiore usually collects his spiderwebs from the forests around his hometown, Dumont, New Jersey. He spray paints them silver on a dark piece of glass and sells them as artworks for up to $200 a pop. The pray caught in the spiderweb remains as part of the artwork as it adds to the story of the piece.

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La Bonnotte – The World’s Most Expensive Potatoes

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When you think about expensive food, potatoes aren’t exactly the first ingredients that come to mind, are they? Believe it or not La Bonnotte potatoes are one of the world’s most expensive foods, served only in the most luxurious restaurants.

The price of one kilogram of La Bonnotte potatoes can reach $700, making it the most expensive potato on Earth. Its ridiculous price doesn’t just have to do with its delicious salty flavor, but also with the fact that it’s very rare. This variety of potato is only cultivated on Noirmoutier, an island off the coast of western France, and just 100 tons are produced every year, mainly because they have to be picked by hand. La Bonnotte’s tuber remains attached to the stem making too fragile to harvest by machine, not to mention it also needs to be fertilized with algae and seaweed to give it that distinct earthy, salty flavor. Its fragile nature simply didn’t make it profitable enough for large agricultural companies, and it was only because of teh love and care of a few French potato lovers that it didn’t go extinct.

Also known as The King of Potatoes, La Bonnotte is planted in February and ready to be picked in the first week of May. The entire crop is usually exhausted by the first weekend of the month, because they retain all of their flavor if their picked and shipped to the restaurant the same day.

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Oksana Mas’ Breathtaking Wooden Egg Mosaics for the Venice Biennale

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Oksana Mas is a brilliant Ukrainian artist who uses thousands of hand-painted wooden eggs to create incredible mosaics that simply take your breath away.

The first time I read about Oksana Mas was in January of 2010, when she created this unique portrait of the Virgin Mary using 15,000 wooden eggs. It took her nine months to complete her masterpiece and you can admire it first hand inside the Saint Sophia Cathedral, in Kyiv. Apparently, the talented Ukrainian artist has been keeping herself busy since then, creating several other wooden Easter egg mosaics for the Venice Biennale, where she’s representing her country.

Her monumental installation is called ‘Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance’, features 12 separate pieces, measures a total of 92 by 134 meters and numbers an astonishing 3,640,000 wooden eggs hand-painted by people in 42 different countries. From inmates to intellectuals, thousands of people from all walks of life painted the eggs which were later assembled by Oksana, in her studio. The gigantic egg mosaics are currently on display inside the Church of San Fantin, in Venice, where they interact perfectly with the sacredness of the surroundings. When seen from up-close, every painted egg has its own unique design, but as the viewer backs away, they all come together to form a large scale representation of the Ghent Altarpiece, painted by the Van Eyck brothers.

Oksana Mas’ art was inspired by the old Ukrainian folk custom krashenki: wooden eggs covered in traditional Ukrainian designs used to celebrate Easter.

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Gold-Plated Barbecue Grill Is World’s Most Expensive

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If you have money to burn, this $164,000 gold-plated barbecue-grill made by BeefEater Barbecues should be at the the top of your spending list.

Sure, this hand-made Signature Series 6 Burner SL400 looks good has some nice built-in features like a wok burner, warming rack and roasting hood, but will it make your steaks taste better? Probably enough, and the creators of the grill themselves say they made it for people ‘want to make a statement with their barbecue and have the money to burn’. ‘Why would anyone want to make a statement with their barbecue?’, you ask? Maybe because they just got bored of gold phones, gold-plated cars, have eaten enough gold-plated food and need something new to attract attention.

The one-of-a-kind barbecues is covered with 24 carat gold, except for the actual grilling surface, and was created for the 2008 Sydney Home Show, for an estimated $60,000. Now, the price has gone up to $164,000. Somebody better buy it soon, before the gold price rises even more.

 

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Swarovski-Studded Cadillac CTS Coupe Unveiled in China

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A one-of-a-kind Cadillac CTS Coupe covered with 350,000 Swarovski crystals was unveiled last weekend, during the Qingdao International Auto Show.

I don’t know what it is about Swarovski bling and cars, but tuners and designers seems to think they make a good team. Just last week, I posted about an Audi A5 covered with 450,000 Swarovski crystals, presented at a Moscow exhibition, by Russian tuner Shampar, and now the Chinese show off their own blinged-out ride. Their Swarovski-studded Cadillac is 100,000 crystals short of the Russian A5, but it doesn’t look at all less glamorous.

A you can imagine, the so-called ‘Diamond Cadillac‘ stole the show in Qingdao, attracting the eyes of everyone attending and giving new meaning to the phrase ‘diamond finish’. According to brand representatives, this unique CTS Coupe took nine workers a whole week to finish, with each Swarovski crystal mounted to the body of the car with a special fixer. To whom it may concern, they added that the stones “are guaranteed to stay on even in a car wash”.

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Thai Temple Interior Inspired by Modern Sci-Fi Movies

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You’d probably expect temple murals to depict religious themes and Buddha, but the Wat Rong Khun temple in Chiang Rai isn’t your ordinary holy place, as you can easily tell by the murals.

According to Wikipedia, in 1997, Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat volunteered to carry out the work for Wat Rong Khun’s ubosol (the temple’s assembly hall) at his own expense, but he changed the original plan so drastically that it  began drawing in both local and foreign tourists, eager to see the white wonder. Just like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia cathedral, the unconventional Buddhist and Hindu temple is still under construction and some say it won’t be finished in the next 100 years.

Wat Rong Khun is entirely white, to symbolize Lord Buddha’s purity, and the mirrors used signify his wisdom, which “shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe.” There is also an impressive bridge across a sea of human hands reaching out towards the sky, but perhaps the most interesting thing about this unique temple is its interior artwork. The imagery is painted in golden tones, depicting sacred animals and spaceships alike. That’s right, futuristic spaceships piloted by robots, ans superheroes like Superman in flight, that’s what’s painted inside Wat Rong Khun. Other scenes you might recognize show popular characters like the Predator, Neo from Matrix, Spiderman, Batman, and even creatures from the Avatar movie.

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Zoopolis 500 – Probably the World’s Slowest Race

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While the Indianapolis 500 is the undisputed main event in America’s Circle City, it’s probably not as fun as the Zoopolis 500, a turtle race preceding the big motor race.

Kids and their families look forward to the Zoopolis 500 race, every year, because even though it lacks the speed of the Indianapolis 500, racers give it their all to put on a good show. Yesterday, the Indianapolis Zoo hosted the 30th annual Zoopolis 500, featuring five radiated turtles competing for the best prize they could wish for – a big plate of delicious fruit. Competitors were named after IndyCar drivers Dan Wheldon, Simona De Silvestro, Alex Tagliani, Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon.

The race flag went down at 11.30, and as you can imagine, the turtles were off to a pretty slow start, ignoring the excitement and cheering that went on around them. They even went the wrong way a few times, but managed to get back on track with the help of zoo keepers. IndyCar legend Tony Kanaan, who acted as Grand Marshall for the event, tried to give Simona an edge by placing some fruit in front of her, but the tortoise just stopped for a bite.

In the end, it was Dan who crossed the finish line first and got to feast on the fruit, and many said it was an omen that Dan Wheldon will win this year’s Indianapolis 500.

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Artist Makes Intricate Cutouts from Hardcore Adult Magazines

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Can pornography be art? That’s the question artist Tom Gallant is trying to answer through his series of beautiful paper cutouts made from archived adult magazines.

Brussels-based Tom Gallant describes his unique art as a visual language “dealing with a private matter in a very public way”. Using a very sharp scalpel, he cuts into the hardcore imagery, layering extremely delicate cutouts to create a whole new image that almost completely blurs your vision. If you look closely, you can see some flesh, hair, eyes, lips, sometimes even genitalia, but it’s the newly created shapes that first stand out.

“I use pornography as a representation of our visual culture, the underlying ideas are used to connect the motifs and concepts, whether it is the idolotry of youth, flesh, sex or the exploitation of the female and feminine.  Pornography is the medium but not the message,” Gallant says about his art.

I’ve posted some of the more “innocent” of Tom Gallant’s cutouts, but you can check out some of his more revealing creations on his official website.

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Pimple Popper Ring Is One Disgusting Piece of Jewelry

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I’ve seen some pretty bizarre jewelry since I started writing for OC, from rings made from human teeth and hair, to insect accessories, but this Pimple Popper ring is the most disgusting one yet.

For reasons I cannot understand, some people just love to pop pimples, and Etsy user Winona Johnson is one of these crazy types. Disgusting as it may sound, she admits to popping zits, pimples, black heads, white heads, for pure pleasure and this gave her the idea for this unique Pimple Popper Ring. Made of sterling silver, copper, enamel and a white pearl, this bizarre piece of jewelry is one of the grossest pimple recreations I’ve ever laid eyes upon, and it’s just the first piece of a skin related jewelry set. Who knows what “wonders” Winona will create next, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see stuff like a wort necklace or bunion brooch.

If you’re big on pimple popping, you can buy the Pimple Popper ring for $163.

 

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Hand-Stitched Vogue Covers By Inge Jacobsen

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UK-based artist Inge Jacobsen has found an ingenious way of turning commercial images like the covers of Vogue Magazine into unique works of art.

In an interview with Global Grind, the 24-year-old artist explains why she chose Vogue for her latest embroidery project:

I’ve always had a thing for Vogue ever since I was a teenager. Every new issue I bought I would try and immerse myself into that world of beautiful images, of beautiful people and material objects. I’d love to live in a Vogue magazine. I tried to think of ways to experience the magazine other than just reading it or looking at it, I wanted to get under its skin. The stitching has allowed me to do that, it’s been my way of intervening in the exclusive world of high fashion magazines, partly by giving it a very touchable surface. More importantly, the cross stitching has allowed me to make my issues of mass produced magazines completely unique. You can’t buy mine at your local newsagent.

She apparently spent around 50 hours hand-stitching right over the original Vogue covers, which allows some of the image to show through as background coloring.

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Slavisa Pajkic – A Real Life Human Battery

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Slavisa Pajkic, from Serbia’s Pozarevac county, is known as “Battery Man’ for his amazing ability to withstand high voltage without getting hurt.

Biba, as his friends know him, says electricity has no friends, except for him. He apparently discovered his amazing capabilities when he was 17, and he’s been in an incredible relationship with electricity, ever since. Voltages of over 50 volts can cause dangerous levels of electricity to flow through the human body, and that’s precisely why your mother once told you to never stick your fingers in the power outlet, but Slavisa can withstand a lot more. He actually set his first Guinness record in 1983, when he took a hit of 20,000 volts like a champ. His second record dates back to 2003, when he was able to heat up a cup of water to 97 degrees Celsius, in 1 minute and 37 seconds.

Slavisa claims he can be an insulator, a conductor, an accumulator or a heater, depending on the case, and so far scientists haven’t been able to figure out exactly how he’s doing all of these things. He can light up a light bulb, cook a sausage and even set alcohol-soaked things ablaze with his body, by storing or acting as a conductor for electricity. Some reports say that because of a genetic defect, Slavisa Pajkic has no sweat and salivary glands, and scientists suspect current isn’t really passing through his body, but passes on the outside of his skin, which acts as a natural insulation.

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Car Enthusiast Shows-Off Drivable VW Beetle Made of Wood

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53-year-old Momir Bojic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, has recently showed-off his unique Volkswagen Beetle, made almost entirely from wood.

Momir built his wooden Beetle six years ago, as a hobby, and says it took him an entire year to complete the job. At first glance, it looks like a 1:1 scale replica of Volkswagen iconic buggy, but this is a real drivable vehicle. It has a full wooden body, wooden steering wheel, hub caps, dashboard and has become somewhat of an attraction on wheels in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, near Momir Bojic’s hometown of Celinac. During the recent auto meeting held in Banja Luka, out of the over 100 models of vintage cars on show, the wooden Beetle got the most attention from visitors and passers-by.

Momir says he has driven his wooden car all through his home country as well as through some of the neighboring states, and people just couldn’t take their eyes off the amazing vehicle covered with around 20,000 oak slats.

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Scott Blake’s Impressive Bar Code Portraits

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Scott Blake is one of those rare artists who use original mediums to create unique works of art, in his case bar codes. He uses them to create unique portraits of celebrities like Elvis, Madonna or Ronald Reagan.

Blake, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, began making bar code art over 12 years ago, right before Y2K, inspired by the whole year 2000 computer bug, and threatening digital apocalypse. While experimenting with halftone dot patterns, “looking for a black and white shape that could be repeated and modified to create grey tones in a digital mosaic”, he stumbled upon bar code imagery. He first tried circles and squares, then rectangles and notice the clusters of lines looked a lot like bar codes, so he started putting numbers on the bottom to describe the pixels’ grayscale value and grid coordinate.

But placing thousands of bar codes on a canvas to create a portrait is only half of Scott Blake’s work. Each of the bar codes he uses are somehow related to the person they describe. For example, when scanned each of Bruce Lee bar code plays one of the actor’s kung-fu scenes, while in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s case they play one of his movie trailers. Eventually, all of the bar codes end up in Photoshop where Scott uses Action scripts to place each code in the right mosaic tile, but even so, it takes him between two and six months to complete a portrait.

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Ivan Stoiljkovic – Croatia’s Young Magneto in the Making

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Ivan Stoiljkovic, a six-year-old boy from a small town in norther Croatia, has been attracting media attention with his unusual gift of making large quantities of metal stick to his torso.

Young Ivan may not look to be in the best possible shape for his age, but that’s never stopped him from taking off his t-shirt and sticking metal objects on his chest and belly. “We always felt he was a bit different. At 15 months-of-age he was rollerblading, he started walking at eight months. He was less than two when he started driving a little motorcycle, and it was a bit weird,” says Ivan Surlovic, young Magneto’s grandfather. It all started as a joke, a few months ago, when Ivan’s grandmother was watching a show about a boy with magnetic capabilities. Her grandson took his shirt off and asked if he could do something like that, so they tried putting metal things on him and they just stuck.

According to Ivan Surlovic’s family, his powers are strongest in the morning and when he is calm and focused. They say he is capable of carrying up to 25 pounds of metal on his body, with heavier objects actually sticking better than lighter ones. His upper body appears to be more magnetic.

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Japan’s Mouth-Watering Plastic Food Displays

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Fancy menus may be enough for most restaurant diners around the world, but not in Japan. Here, image is everything and before going in for a bite, people want to see exactly what the food they want to order looks like. That’s where Japan’s realistic plastic food displays come into play…

Japanese fake food models can be traced back to 1917, but it wasn’t until 1926 that a restaurant owner decided to use them in a glass casing, to attract more customers. His idea was a big hit and people flocked to his venue hoping to get a serving of the delicious meals displayed outside. Soon, other restaurants followed his example and fake food display making became a lucrative business. In 1932, Iwasaki Ryuzo set up up a company that made and sold fake foods to restaurants and today it’s Japan’s top plastic food manufacturer. Business is very lucrative, as estimates show it produces revenues of billions of yen every year. For an entire menu, executed to perfection, luxury restaurants will pay up to one million yen.

In the old days, fake food models were made from wax. It was melted and pored into molds made from kanten (a seaweed jelly), but today manufacturers use silicon molds in which they pour liquid plastic and heat it up until it hardens. Modern materials and techniques apparently make the food considerably more realistic.  Restaurants send fake food makers the exact item they want replicated, along with photos. Silicon is poured around and over the disk and solidifies into a mold, which is then filled with liquid plastic and cooked in an oven. Then comes the really hard part – getting the details right. Oil based paints, regular brushes, air brushes, knives and carving tools are all part of fake food artist’s arsenal, but they all keep their techniques a secret.

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