The Wonderful Can Sculptures of Canstruction 2010

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Every year, dozens of teams of architects and engineers compete in creating the most impressive can sculptures for the Canstruction exhibition.

This year, 25 teams did their vest to arrange around 100,000 cans of food into detailed sculptures that would ultimately win them the title of Canstruction champions. The intricate works of art are on display at the World Financial Center Garden, in New York City, until November 22, and visitors are encouraged to donate canned foods like tuna, beans or vegetables. Once the exhibition closes, all the cans are donated to the poor people of New York, by City Harvest.

Last year’s Canstruction winner was a piggy-bank sculpture made from 3.024 cans of salmon and 24 cans of tuna, but this year, judges have a tough decision to make. They have to pick between mosaics of Marylin Monroe and Super Mario, a can-made van and several other mind-blowing creations.

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T’Spookhuys – Probably the World’s Spookiest Restaurant

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Known also as the “House of 1,000 Ghosts”, the T’Spookhuys Restaurant was designed to scare the hell out of its customers, with a truly creepy interior design and bizarre menu.

Located in the city of Turnhout, Belgium, T’Spookhuys was founded by Karl Hendrix and Bjorn Leys, as a place where people could experience the horrors of a haunted mansion. When it opened its gates to the public, on October 1st 1997, it shocked pretty much everyone with its creepy interior decorations, squeaky doors, smoke coming down from the ceiling, moving paintings, and other special effects. Soon everyone wanted to “dine in hell” and witness the weird spectacles and cameos that took part at the T’Spookhuys Restaurant.

Some of the foods on the menu included mud pie and spicy worms served in skull-shaped bowls, by waiters dressed as vampires and devil worshipers, but instead of driving people away, this incredibly spooky atmosphere brought in more curious clients. Not even the rumors about satanic rituals being performed on the restaurant’s upper floor didn’t scare anyone.

In 2008, eleven years after they opened this crazy establishment, the owners of T’Spookhuys decided to close down the place and open a whole new club, in the city of Zandhoven. To the joy of urban explorers, T’Spookhuys was left intact, allowing them to explore and take photos of what used to be probably the spookiest restaurant in the world. As you’d expect, there are dozens of stories of ghost and tormented spirits living in the abandoned restaurant, saying that they are the real reason the owners decided to close shop and move away, but no ghost sightings have been reported yet.

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The Hyperrealistic Paintings of Tom Martin

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Tom Martin is a young English artist who  makes use of acrylic paint to create the most amazing paintings. Looking at them you could swear they are simple photographs, but in reality they are painstakingly painted by hand.

Hyperrealism evolved from the “photorealism” movement of the 1970s, and it’s dedicated to making artworks that are “more real than real”. Hyperrealists try not just copy a photograph with paint, but emphasize elements that were not evoked by the original. 23-year-old Tom Martin is already one of the most respected hyperrealist artist in the world, with works featured in art exhibitions all around the world.

Just have a look at his amazing super-sized paintings and tell me if you’d have known they aren’t simple photos or computer generated images.

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The Excel Drawings of Danielle Aubert

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Usually, Microsoft Excel worksheets look like endless rows and columns of important data, but artist Danielle Aubert makes them look like pixelated works of art.

By repurposing data software in a whole new way, Danielle Aubert manages to transform a tool into an original art medium. For each of her Excel paintings, Aubert crated a brand new worksheets, which were automatically set up as grids, and began tying with cell background color, fill pattern, border styles, as well as insert comment boxes, letters and characters.

So far, Danielle Aubert has created three series of her unique Excel drawings. She published a 16-day series as a book, she published a 58-day series on the Internet and created a time-lapse video of her 4.5-month series. You can view all of them on her official website.

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Meet Tubby the Recycling Dog

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A Labrador Retriver called Tubby has helped his owner gather and recycle around 26,000 plastic bottles, in the last six years. The canine’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as Guinness offered him a spot in their famous book of records, for the most bottles recycled by a dog.

Tubby and his owners live in Pontnewydd, Wales – one of the best performing recycling authorities in the country, and it’s no wonder, considering both people and pets like to lend a hand…or paw. On every one of his two daily walks, Tubby picks up at least three plastic bottles, crushes them with his teeth, and brings them to his owner, Sandra Gilmore. She says Tubby has had a nose for plastic bottles ever since he was a young pup. He would crawl under things, jump into bushes and even leap into water to fetch the bottles.

Sandra suspects her beloved Labrador loves to collect plastic bottles because of the sound they make as he bites down on them, but regardless of the reason, Tubby has proven his commitment to making our planet greener. Come to think of it, the fact that he likes to chew on them makes recyclers’ lives a lot easier, as the bottles are already crushed.

Miss Gilmore tries to do her part as far as recycling is concerned, and she admits Tubby has helped her quite a bit. During the six years that he’s been “on the job”, he managed to collect 26,000 plastic bottles. I’d say his Guinness Records mention for the “most plastic bottles collected by a dog” is well deserved. Still, it’s pretty sad that dog does more for the environment than most humans bother to.

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Unreal 3D Murals by Eric Grohe

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Eric Grohe is a well known artist who makes use of a technique known as trompe l’oeil to create jaw-dropping murals.

American artist Eric Grohe transforms common-looking structures into unbelievable works, and since uses keim mineral paint, his masterpieces can last for over a hundred years. He takes bland looking buildings, derelict walls and manages to give them a whole new life as unbelievable artworks. Each of the murals take Grohe and his two assistants up to a year to complete, as they spend a huge amount of time analyzing Google Earth and Global Imaging Satellites data, in order to get the shadows just right. He often also ads various real items to his 3D murals to make the illusion more believable.

 

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British Artist Turns Lost Hub Caps into Amazing Animal Sculptures

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Ptolemy Elrington spends his time collecting hub caps lost on the streets of Britain, and transforming them into impressive-looking animal sculptures.

To prove that “one person’s junk is another man’s treasure”, 43-year-old Ptolemy Elrington has chosen to use reclaimed materials, like hub caps, as the main medium of his art. After finishing college, the Bradford-based sculptor lived close to a sharp curve where cars would often lose their hub caps. He began collecting them from the roadside ditch, and planned to turn them all into an original suit of armor, but noticing they had a marine look about them, he decided to mold them into fish.

After he gave his first sculptures to his family, as gifts, friends started coming to him asking for some hub-cap sculptures of their own. Elrington realized the business potential of his art, and now spends most of his time creating animal sculptures in his workshop. Because his work materials are practically free, he only charges customers for his time, about 75 British pounds per day. His most expensive work so far, a 10 meter tall dragon made out of 200 lost hub caps cost 3,000 pounds, but most of his works are sold for a few hundreds.

A strong supporter of recycling, Ptolemy Elrington only uses discarded materials. He never buys hubcaps, he always uses lost ones, and even the wire used to tie the hubcap pieces together comes from the junkyard.

After seven years of hub cap sculpting, Elrington says he is a fan of luxury car hub caps, from BMW or Mercedes, because they can be flexed more,and hardly ever snap.

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The Scrap Metal Sculptures of Edouard Martinet

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French artist Edouard Martinet transforms metal pieces found at flea markets and car-boot sales into beautiful works of art.

Using a series of common metallic objects, from rusted kitchen pans, to old typewriter keys and car lights, Martinet manages to create intricate sculptures of fish, reptiles and insects. Without any soldering or welding whatsoever, the artist first draws up a few detailed sketches of what he wants to create, then begins a painstaking process of piecing the metal parts together, like a puzzle. As you can imagine, his scrap metal masterpieces take quite a long time to complete, but they are definitely worth the effort.

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Designer Turns Old Refrigerators into Beautiful Couches

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The Fridgecouch is the original concept of Canadian artist Adrian Johnson, who came up with the idea of combining used leather car seats with old refrigerators.

Adrian Johnson came up with the idea for his Fridgecouches in 2006, while searching for some stylish outdoor seating, for a wedding. It had to be relatively cheap and encourage people to relax and, as the artist puts it: “break free from the typical cliquey wedding scene.” A car enthusiast who’s always been trying to keep old cars running, Adrian went on one of his frequent trips to the junkyard, looking for spare parts. He stumbled upon a two-door BMW coupe, and noticed the cherry-red leather back seat was practically brand new. That’s when he knew back seats were exactly what he was looking for.

With part of his problem solved, Adrian spent that night thinking of something to put the car seat in that would have the same aesthetic look and could be found at a dump. His mind stopped at a refrigerator, and the next morning he rushed to the local dump, with a tape measure in hand. As he kept looking through the junk, his eyes got stuck on an old, almost perfectly preserved green olive refrigerator. The Fridgecouch was already born in his mind.

Fast forward to 2010, Adrian Johnson has only built three of his impressive-looking Fridgecouches, but hopes they will soon turn into a profitable business that will also teach people the value of reusing, instead of contributing to our world’s waste problem, by constantly buying brand new furniture from the store. Fridges and car seats are large scale wastes that are practically un-reusable and take a great deal of energy to crush and recycle. Through his concept, Adrian turns them both into a whole new product without wasting any energy at all.

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The Cats’ House – A Real Feline Paradise

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An American couple decided to drastically modify their home to fit the needs of their pet cats, transforming it into a modern-day feline temple known as The Cats’ House.

Bob Walker and Frances Mooney are both mad about cats. They proved it on their wedding day, when they adopted their first cat, who ended up sharing a bed with them that night. But that was only the beginning of their obsession with purring balls of fur. Knowing that cats love to climb to high spots, Bob first built a giant scratching column, using 395 feet of rope. The cats would just run up it at full speed and stop at ceiling. That’s when he realized that to keep his beloved pets happy, he and his wife needed to expand their installation throughout the whole house.

Bob and Frances ended up creating multi-level staircases, a 140-feet-long cat highway and a colorful catwalk, all connected by cat-shaped holes in the walls.They even fitted them with neon lights, so the cats could see where they were going, at night. I thought cats could see purfectly in the dark…but I guess some help couldn’t hurt, right? The Cats’ House also features scratching poles of various sizes, cat shaped statues, portraits and paintings of cats, and even carpets printed with leopard and tiger models.

The Cats’ House started out as the wish of two people to enrich the lives of their pet cats, but it became something much bigger than that. Cat lovers from all around the world started following Bob and Frances’ example and transformed their house into a feline paradise, and The Cats’ House soon became one of San Diego’s minor tourist attractions. The last time the couple opened up their house for visitors, they received 900 guests in four hours.

Since the unusual home became famous, Bob Walker has become an author and photographer, and has written successful books on his amazing cat abode. He admits it’s amazing how trying to change their cats’ lives for the better, ended up changing their lives completely, as well.

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The Fat Monkey of Sao Paolo

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A giant sculpture looking like a fat, colorful monkey lying on its back, has become one of the most popular attractions of Brazilian city Sao Paolo.

The curious landmark has been featured on many spammy photo blogs around the Internet, in the last few days, but hardly any of them provided any real information about it. Luckily, I was able to find a link to the site of Fat Monkey’s creator, designer Florentijn Hofman.

Fat Monkey is a very interesting art installation simply because it’s made out of 10,000 colorful flip-flops, a true symbol of Brazilian beaches. It was created during the 2010 Pixelshow Design Congress, with the help of local art students. A part of the Obestias art series, Fat Monkey can now be admired on a lawn, close to the Pixelshow venue.

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Roadkill Toys Are Absolutely Adorable Yet Seriously Creepy

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You might think a nice plush teddy bear is the ultimate Christmas gift, but for the savvy sociopath, there’s no better alternative than the ever so adorable roadkill toys.

Roadkill Toys are the brainchild of designer Adam Arber, who made sure they look like the kind of thing you’d normally find squashed on the highway, only slightly more adorable. His collection of roadkill plush creatures currently numbers three characters, Twitch the Raccoon, Grind the Rabbit and Splodge the Hedgehog, each with its very own body bag and name tags.

Complete with tire tracks across their backs, tongues rolled out, goggling eyes and guts coming out of their stomach,  roadkill toys are the perfect traumatizing gift for your child. Another cool thing about them is you can simply tuck in their innards and keep them there by pulling a zipper, so your kid doesn’t freak out the first time he sees them.

Adam Arber came up with the idea for his “Squash-plush” toys while looking at his mother-in-law’s ugly dog. One of his friend’s had taken some photos of roadkill, so he had all the inspiration he needed. He believes roadkill toys will appeal to anyone with a healthy sense of humor, and I tend to agree.

If you think this sort of toys are cute, you’ll love Martin Kittsteiner’s mentally ill toys.

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Spice Skulls by Helen Altman

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Using common spices most of us put in our food, American artist Helen Altman creates all kinds of “spicy” lifesize skulls. She glues the various seeds together and molds them into human skulls that can be hanged as ornaments. I don’t now who would want to have this sort of thing around the house, but I’m sure they’d come in handy if you need to add some flavor to your food.

According to Designboom, her series of spice skulls explores “notions of reality versus artificiality in everyday life and the boundary between authenticity and absurdity”.

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5Pointz Aerosol Art Center – The World’s Premiere Graffiti Mecca

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5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is an outdoor art exhibit space where graffiti artists can exercise their artistic talent, legally. Dubbed a “an institution of higher burnin’ “, 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is viewed as the Mecca of the graffiti art world.

If you’re interested in discovering one of New York’s off-the-beaten-track attractions, 5Pointz should definitely be at the top of your priorities. An old factory converted into an outdoor graffiti museum, the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center features 200,000 square-feet of art covered space that will probably blow your mind. Practically every square inch of this once bustling industrial complex has been covered with colorful layers of graffiti paint, depicting everything from peace messages written in WildStyle to portraits of The Notorious B.I.G.

Provided they receive the approval of Jonathan Cohen, the curator of 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, any artist from around the world can leave their mark on the largest graffiti art exhibit in the world. Artists from Japan, Brazil and the Netherlands have contributed to the space, and if you visit here on weekends, between noon and 7 pm, you’re likely to catch graffiti artists at work.

So if you happen to be in New York, head to Long Island City and visit 5Pointz. It’s always free, it’s always open, and it’s always has some new art exhibits for you to discover.

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A Trip to the Museum of Broken Relationships

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The Museum of Broken Relationships has to be one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in the world. Here, visitors can admire all kinds of memorabilia donated by people with broken hearts, from all over the world.

Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic, two Croatian artists who broke up in 2006, decided to open the Museum of Broken Relationships when they realized how hard it was to give up items symbolizing lost love. This way, they could keep the items together, and before they knew it, the two artists started receiving all kinds of items from other broken-up couples.

Before settling permanently in Zagreb, and becoming the first private museum in Croatia, The Museum of Broken Relationships toured the world over, from Istanbul to New York, showcasing its collection of hundreds of bizarre items. Teddy bears, fluffy handcuffs, photographs, watches are among the most common items in found in the museum, but you can also see bizarre things like an axe, a pair of edible underwear and even an artificial lower leg, donated by a man who broke up with a nurse.

Olinka Vistina says the majority of donated items come from Great Britain, which means there must be many broken hearts there. The recently opened Museum of Broken Relationships is apparently a great success, welcoming up to 1,000 visitors every week.

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