Artist Spends 10 Months Working on a Drawing

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Detailed artworks take a lot of time to complete, but American artist Joe Fenton took it to a whole new level when he decided to dedicate 10 months of his life to a single drawing.

Solitude is indeed one of the most intricate drawings I have ever seen, and knowing it’s all been done with an 0.5 mechanical pen makes it that much more impressive. Maybe you’re under the impression the artist just worked on it a few times a week, throughout the 10 months it took to complete, but in reality Joe Fenton drew on the 5 meter high and 8 foot across piece of paper for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most people would have probably given up after only a few days, but Joe showed enough confidence and patience to see it through. “It took courage to start it as I had never done anything that size before,” he told My Modern Met. “As you can imagine, you have to invest a lot of your time to complete something like this. I just had to believe in my process and have faith that it would work out!”

For Solitude, Joe Fenton created all the elements on a smaller scale than pieced it all together like a giant puzzle by tracing all the drawings on a large piece of paper. Although he isn’t a religious person, for this project he wanted to include various religious references like a “Ganesh-like character, a grinning Buddha, or a faint crucifix adorning a rooftop in the far distance.” After 10 months of work, he finished it all off with acrylic and paint.

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Artist Creates Writers’ Portraits in Their Own Words

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Ohio-based artist, John Sokol, has created a collection of portraits depicting some of the world’s most famous writers, using their own immortal words. Face reading takes a literal meaning when it comes to Sokol’s “Word Portraits” as he uses lines from some of their most popular works to outline their faces, and recreate lines and wrinkles. Easier said than done, I’m sure, but Mr. Sokol’s works really do their subjects’ justice.

While actually trying to read every word John Sokol uses in his works seems practically impossible, the idea of using the authors’ own words is brilliant. If you’d like a unique portrait of your favorite author, head over to John Sokol’s website and take a look at his beautiful Word Portraits. They’re well worth a few hundred bucks, if you ask me.

 

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The Wooden World of Levi van Veluw

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Dutch artist Levi van Veluw has recently 3 rooms covered with over 30,000 wooden blocks, balls and slats, as part of his last installation. Absolutely everything in the rooms, including every inch of the floor, walls, ceiling, even himself are covered in the same material – 4 square centimeters dark brown wooden blocks.

Every one of the 30,000 wooden blocks was made and glued in place by van Veluw, who also covered himself in them for his signature formal approach to self-portraiture. This unique installation, called Origins of the Beginning, is inspired by various aspects from the artist’s childhood bedroom, where he apparently spent many hours alone, between the ages of 8 and 14.

In case you’re wondering why van Veluw is burning the desk, in the video below, it’s because he had an obsession with fire, as a child.

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World’s Most Expensive Popsicle Costs $1,000

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Marquis Los Cabos luxury resort, in Baja California Sur, Mexico, offers its guests the most exclusive popsicle they’ve ever tasted, priced at 1,000 US dollars.

So what makes a simple popsicle cost so much money, apart from the chance to savor poolside in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Well, rich people tend to have a soft spot for gold, so the world’s most expensive popsicle contains 24 carat gold and Tequilas Premium Clase Azul Ultra, a special brand of tequila which sells for $1,500 a bottle. The frozen treat is served poolside, on a classic plastic stick, with some gold chocolate coins. Although salt would have been much more appropriate for a tequila popsicle, this one contains sugar, to take the edge off.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth and real gold flakes don’t impress you enough to throw a whole grand on a popsicle, the guys at Marquis Los Cabos will gladly serve you a simple shot of Tequilas Premium Clase Azul Ultra for a mere $500.

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The Money Sculptures of Justine Smith

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London based artist Justine Smith makes original sculptures and collages using real banknotes from various countries around the world.

From the artist’s website:

Paper has always been a primary material in the work of Justine Smith. Her current work is concerned with the concept of money and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives. She is interested in money as a conduit of power and also in the value systems with which we surround it. On a physical level a banknote is just a piece of paper, but it is what a banknote actually represents that is central to Smith’s work. Through her collages, prints and sculptures she examines our relationship with money in a political, moral and social sense, whilst also exploiting the physical beauty of the notes.

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Artist Builds The Great Wall of Vagina

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It’s not as old or as long as the Great Wall of China, but artist Jamie McCartney’s “Great Wall of Vagina” is definitely more shocking.

The English sculptor has spent the last five years working on this controversial artwork, casting plaster molds of 400 vulvas of women aged 18 to 76. The models used for the McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina include mothers and daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women, as well as a woman pre and post natal. He wanted to include as many possibilities as he could, and during the five years of work looked for someone who had suffered from genital mutilation to model for him, without success.

So why does someone create such a bizarre, intriguing work of art? Well, according to the artist:

Vulvas and labia are as different as a faces and many people, particularly women, don’t seem to know that… showing the variety of shapes is endlessly fascinating, empowering and comforting. For many women their genitals are a source of shame rather than pride and this piece seeks to redress the balance, showing that everyone is different and everyone is normal.

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China’s Incredible Fruit Pit Carving Art

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The miniature folk art of fruit pit carving has been practiced in China for centuries, and is still praised for turning useless fruit stones into valuable works of art.

Nut carving (Heidao), which refers to both fruit pit and walnut carving, became popular during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and by the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) it had become one of the most appreciated art forms in mainland China, with royalty and high-ranking officials considering it fashionable to wear carved fruit pit accessories. Even today, intricate nut sculptures like those made in Suzhou, Yangzhou, Weifang in Shandong and Guangdong Province are famous for their level of detail and unique characteristics.

Often referred to as “an uncanny work of art“, fruit pit carving requires a series of skills and tools in order to produce a fine piece of art. One needs exceptional three-dimensional carving skills, a great deal of patience and most importantly, he has to be familiar with the irregular texture of a fruit pit. Peach stones are the most commonly used material for nut carving, and despite its many bumps and holes, a seasoned fruit pit carved can immediately tell if a pit is right for the artwork he has in mind.

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Ting Mong – Cambodia’s Creepy Scarecrows

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If you ask me, common scarecrows are creepy enough, but the Cambodian Ting Mong carry real firearms and instead of birds they scare off evil spirits.

Scarecrows usually belong in  the fields, protecting villagers’ crops, but in some Cambodian villages you’ll see them in front of houses, by the gate, or on garden paths, and you can bet they’re not there to scare some man-eating birds. Ting Mong are a part of old Khmer culture, and even though Budhism came to Cambodia thousands of years ago, there are still some rural areas where people believe in spirits and their power over the living. These creepy “scarecrows” are actually guardians who ward off evil spirits and protect against disease and death.

Many Khmers believe a powerful force is embodied in the Ting Mong, which will keep spirits from coming inside, and to make them even more effective, they equip the life-size dolls with real or sculpted weapons. Some carry machetes and swords, while other carry modern weaponry like revolvers, AK47s and even sculpted bazookas. Even a bad-ass spirit wouldn’t dare approach a Ting Mong carrying this kind of firepower.

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Chefchaouen – The Blue City of Morocco

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One of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations, Chefchaouen is most known for its blue-rinsed buildings and alleys, an old tradition leftover from the city’s Jewish population.

Chefchaouen was founded by Moorish exiles from Spain, in 1471, as a small fortress to fend off the attacks of invading Portuguese forcess in northern Morocco. After the Spanish Reconquista, the small mountain town became one of the largest Moriscos and Jews  refuge sites, and during their stay they managed to leave their mark on it, one that makes the modern city so special.

The name Chefchaouen comes from “chauen”, which is Spanish for horns, and refers to the shape of the two mountains overlooking the settlement. But it’s not its strange name, the beautiful and unique handicrafts sold by local craftsman, or the delicious goat cheese that attracts the majority of tourists to Chefchaouen. It’s the blue-painted houses and buildings of the city, a tradition inherited from the former Jewish inhabitants. In the Bible, Israelites are commanded to dye one of the threads in their tallit (prayer shawl) blue, with tekhelel. This was an old natural dye, processed from a species of shellfish, but in time its production collapsed and the Jewish people eventually forgot how to make it. But, in honor of the sacred commandment, the color blue was still woven into the cloth of their tallit. When they look at the dye, they will think of the blue sky, and the God above them in Heaven.

While the Jewish population of Chefchoauen isn’t as numerous as it one was, practically everyone in the city still follows this old tradition and frequently renew the paint job on their homes.

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Tony Orrico – The Human Spirograph

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American artist Tony Orrico uses his entire body as an instrument to create massive artworks that are both highly precise and organic, at the same time.

Orrico manages to blend his background in dance and choreography with a passion for drawing in a unique process that starts off with dance-like movements and ends with an abstract illustration. Holding a pencil in each hand, the young artist approaches a massive paper canvas, and using the symmetry of the human body to create various abstract shapes. Whether he’s spinning his entire body or just his wrists, Tony Orrico sets a specific motion that is repeated throughout the performance, until his work is completed.

The abstract images Tony creates can be quite stunning, but to fully appreciate and understand his talent, one must witness the creative process. Seeing him lying face downward on the paper, rotating his torso in full circles, with his arms outstretched drawing a variety of shapes really is a unique sight. Tony Orrico spends between 15 minutes to as long as 7 hours to complete one of his artworks.

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The Written Portraits of Anatol Knotek

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Anatol Knotek is a talented young Austrian artist whose  visual poetry artworks revolve around the written character.

Knotek’s interest in visual poetry arose around a decade ago, after a meeting with an Austrian poet. Until that time he had only been interested in painting and the classic fine arts, but after his first contact with visual poetry, he realized how fascinated he was by it, and started working primarily in this field. Since then, Anatol Knotek has become one of the world’s most celebrated artists and has had his works displayed in many art galleries around the world.

The purpose of his “written images” is to express ideas strongly bound to the written, spoken and visual language. Out of all of his works, the written portraits stand out with their complexity and level of detail.

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Azerbaijan Clinic Uses Crude Oil Baths as Therapeutic Treatments

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A clinic in the town of Naftalan, 160 miles noth-west of Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, has found a therapeutic use for its abundant quantities of crude oil.

Azerbaijan is one of the world’s leading oil exporters, and in the country’s western plains “black gold” has been seeping out of the ground for centuries. In fact, they have so much of the stuff, that in the town of Naftalan, they use the excess crude oil as a cure for various illnesses. It all goes down at the famous Naftalan Clinic, where people from all over the former Soviet Union and even from the Emirates and Europe come to treat various skin diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and even their nerves with crude oil. Doctors here say their miraculous oil therapy is used to trat up to 100 different conditions.

The most popular treatment at Naftalan is the crude oil bath. Patients lower their bodies into 35 gallons of crude oil, at a temperature of 40 degrees. Many of them say the warm oil relaxes their joints and they’d love to spend more than 10 minutes soaked in black oil, but since it contains almost 50% naphthalene, a hydrocarbon deemed potentially carcinogenic by EU regulations, longer sessions could be hazardous to their health. The clinic’s doctors claim millions of people have been treated at Naftalan over the years, and none of them have suffered any complications, as a result. Still, to be on the safe side they limit the sessions to 10 minutes, and no more than a bath per day, during a 10-day treatment.

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Sandy Sanderson’s Beer Can Automobiles

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Sandy Sanderson is a resourceful New Zealand artist who uses empty soda and beer cans to create detailed models of famous automobiles.

England-born Sandy was trained as a draughtsman, but later became a Technology teacher and emigrated to far away New Zealand. Here he pursued his interest in building airplane, car and bike models, until the age of 40, when he joined a local band and started playing bass guitar. This made him change from building models to making electric string instruments.

Unfortunately, a bike accident shattered one of his wrists and his dream of retiring as a luthier. After surgery, he was still able to use his hand, ride a bike, but the sensitivity and fine control needed to play bass and follow his dream were gone. But it was during his recovery period that he discovered a new hobby – looking at some Coruba and Coke cans he remembered seeing some beautiful aircraft models made from aluminum cans, only they had the plain silvery side on the outside. This didn’t make any sense to him, as the whole point of using such a resource would be to show it to the world and celebrate it instead of hiding it.

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Unbelievably Realistic Starcraft 2 Papercraft Models

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Korean Starcraft 2 fan “Constable” has created a series of paper models inspired by units in the video game that will probably blow your mind.

The fact that the dude who made these is from South Korea really doesn’t come as a surprise, since the Starcraft franchise is really popular there, but the level of detail in Constable’s work is pretty unbelievable. Looking at the photos, I had a rough time convincing myself these were anything more than 3D computer generated images, but that was only until I visited Constable’s blog and saw what he can do with a few paper slices.

I’ve posted some awesome paper models on Oddity Central, like the unique papercraft castle Wataru Itou spent 4 years creating, or the paper masterpieces of Taras Lesko, and Constable’s models are right up there with the best I’ve ever seen. If you’re not convinced they’re real, check out his blog and put your mind at ease.

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Card-Throwing Master Slices through Cucumbers

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Bai Dengchun is a 23-year-old card-throwing artist whose lightning-fast plastic cards can slice through fruits, vegetables and eggs. The young master doesn’t look very strong, but then again, neither do most of the Chinese martial arts experts, yet they kick ass in every cheesy kung-fu movie I’ve ever seen. Okay, so that wasn’t the best comparison, but the point is despite his skinny appearance, Bai Dengchun is able to throw a plastic card through a cucumber from two meters away.

Bai has been practicing his throwing card technique since he was just six years old, constantly improving his skills, and he is now able to slice through cucumbers, watermelons and eggs. His unique talents earned him a spot on China’s Got Talent, and even though he didn’t win, he got some well-deserved exposure.

While some say a plastic playing card turns into a lethal weapon in the hands of a master like Bai Dengchun, I doubt even he could actually kill a person with it. Maybe it would pierce the skin, but the structure of the human body doesn’t exactly resemble  that of a cucumber.

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