The Incredible Story of Nek Chand’s Rock Garden

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The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is a 40-acre park full of plazas, waterfalls and thousands of unique creatures made from recycled materials. It’s a truly impressive sight, but even more so is the story of how Nek Chand spent four decades creating it and how he kept it a secret, for years.

In 1958, Nek Chand was a road inspector for the Public Works Department, and was making rafts and boats to be sail upon the recently created Sukhna Lake, but peddle boats were soon made available for rent by authorities, and his craft was banned. This allowed Nek to devote more time to his passion for rocks and stones, and he began gathering them from the nearby Shivalik Hills, and the Sukhna Cho, Patiala Rao and Ghaggar rivers. It was around this time that the Swiss architect Le Corbusier was asked to design the city of Chandigarh, the first planned city of India, and the small villages around the area were demolished. This provided Nek Chand with plenty of material for his increasing collection of rocks.

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The Bullet Hole Paintings of Viktor Mitic

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One of the most controversial artist of our time, Viktor Mitic paints his artworks with semi-automatic rifles, hand-guns and shotguns.

Although he was acquainted with firearms from the time he spent in the National Service for the Serbian Army, in the former Yugoslavia, Viktor Mitic first got the idea of using guns in his art, after an art critic said his art needs to be more penetrating. Then, just before the war in Afghanistan started, he saw a report on a military group who destroyed 2,000-year-old statues of Buddha. ‘I wanted to use similar energy. The weapons had been around for a number of years, but no one has used them to paint with yet. I wanted to use it as a tool of creation, rather than of destruction’ Mitic says.

His bullet hole paintings include a replica of Picasso’s Gurnica, as well as portraits of popular figures the likes of JFK, Marylin Monroe, John Wayne, John Lennon and many others.

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The Recycled Collage Art of Derek Gores

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Florida based graphic-designer Derek Gores takes old magazines, labels and other materials and recycles them into impressive collage artworks. The artist hand rips the magazines, maps or schematics and puts them together randomly to create impressive collages focused mostly on women and female fashion.

Here’s what Derek Gores has to say about his collage art: ‘I like my pictures to barely come together with teasing little details. Sort of like how the mind can’t help but wander, even when trying to focus on one thing. In the collages, some of the little bits I use are deliberate, but in most I’m trusting randomness to help build an end result more interesting than I could have planned. One friend calls it a Zen Narrative’.

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The Edible Masterpieces of Confectioner Jean Zaun

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They might look like common oil paintings, to the untrained eye, but these are actually edible masterpieces created with chocolate and food coloring, by artist Jean Zaun.

57-year-old Jean Zaun has always had a passion for oil painting, but working in her family’s chocolate shop, in downtown Lebanon, Pensylvania, she started getting bored and started experimenting with chocolate as an art medium. “I was literally ‘stuck’ in a puddle of chocolate eight hours a day. This was a coping mechanism to alleviate the boredom of being a candy coater and also remind myself that I was an artist” Jean says about her beginnings as a chocolate painter.

After 22 years of working in a chocolate shop, Jean Zaun has now dedicated herself completely to painting in oil, pastels and chocolate. Using white, dark and milk chocolate, food coloring, sugars and confectionery glaze, she is able to reproduce famous paintings like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, as well as create her own original works. Mrs  Zaun works up to five days on a single painting, after which she encases it in a chocolate frame and covers it with a special glaze.

Although they are made from the world’s most popular sweet, Jean Zaun says her chocolate paintings are to be consumed by the eye, not the stomach. “They are works of art in their own right and are to be kept and cherished as keepsakes”, she adds. That’s easier said than done, especially when you have a sweet tooth and a chocolate painting is the only sugary delight in the house.

Her works have sold for up to $1,440, and they can be found in the private collections of people like Sharon Osbourne or Al Roker, as well as in museums across America.

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Space Battleship Yamato Built Out of Zen Magnets

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The anime icon that inspired franchises like Star Wars and Battleship Galactica has just been recreated out of hundreds of Zen Magnets.

To celebrate the launch of the “Space Battleship Yamato” movie, in December of 2010, a fan of the anime classic created a replica of the famous battleship out of Zen magnets and a few nails. It’s not exactly clear how many  of them tend2it used, but I’m sure it was a pretty tough job, considering the limitations of magnetic balls. He admits this is his toughest work yet, and that he had to improvise in order to give his creation a more realistic look. For example, he couldn’t get the Zen magnets to look like turrets and tower spines, so he used various sized nails and paper clips.

Check out more photos of the Zen magnet Space Battleship Yamato, on tend2it’s Flickr stream.

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Brass Van – Probably the World’s Heaviest Art Car

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The Brass Van is a unique art car completely covered with various brass items. Also known as the “California Fantasy Van”, this artwork on four wheels took 22 years to complete.

Hunter Mann is the present owner of the Brass Van, but it was actually his late godfather, Ernie Steingold, who crated it. A vacuum-cleaner repairman, Steingold first started adding brass to his 1975 GMC van, in the early 1980s and continued doing so for the next 20 years or so. It all started one day, when he decided to attach three brass elephants to the hood, as ornaments. Then he got it into his head to cover the vehicle with brass coins, and he did just that – around $15,000 worth of coins, at the time he finished the job. From there on in, he just kept adding brass.

Mann, the current owner of the Brass van, says there are around 5,000 pieces of brass presently attached to his vehicle, weighing about 10,000 pounds. In fact, this car is so heavy, its tires have to be changed every 4,000 miles, and I don’t even want to think about the mileage…

As you would expect, Hunter Mann gets pulled over by police, about once every five days. Most of the officers just want to ask him about his Brass van and take photos with it. Even though he gets asked the same questions every time, Mann never gets tired of answering them.

When it’s not on tour, the Brass Van can be found at ArtCar World, a museum for art cars, in Douglas, Arizona. Just in case you were wondering about how much such a unique vehicle costs, the Brass van was appraised at $350,000.

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The Giant Sand Drawings of Jamie Wardley

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Sand sculptor Jamie Wardley transforms beaches into canvases for his art, as he tries to send important messages through his giant sand drawings.

Jamie first came into contact with the world of sand sculpting, as a young boy, on a trip in Norway. He met a sand sculptor who managed to turn two sand blocks into The Queen and Mr. Bean, in just a few hours, and Jamie was amazed by his talent, so he started asking the master all kinds of questions about his art. One thing led to another and before he knew it, the young boy had sand carving tools in each of his hands and was working on his very first sculpture. The sand sculptor was very impressed with his work, and told Jamie he could attend some of his classes, if ever returned to Norway.

It was years before Jamie Wardley contacted the talented sculptor, but when he did, he was welcomed back to the land of fjords, to start his apprenticeship as a sand sculptor. Along the way, the young Brit started making ice sculptures as well as impressive sand drawings, and now he’s one of the world’s most famous beach artists in the world.

Basically, Jamie and his team create these spectacular sand drawings by raking the sand while coordinating themselves perfectly, but he admits there are some trade secrets he only reveals during workshops. He and his team at “Sand in Your Eyes” create incredibly detailed sand drawings, up to 800 meters large. While they only last a few hours, before the tide sweeps over them, Jamie’s works can clearly be seen from the air and on the ground, during this short period of time.

Jamie Wardley’s company creates commercial sand drawings, like for companies who want to promote their products, but also takes interest in preserving the environment, and honoring history. Over the years they’ve created various sand drawings in protest to global warming and pollution.

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The Wonderful Kinetic Sculptures of Casey Curran

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Seattle based artist Casey Curran creates some of the most interesting artworks I’ve ever seen – kinetic installations that look like they belong in a fantasy world. Feathers, artificial flowers and wire-made shapes are all controlled by a simple crank, located at the bottom, and it takes just a few strokes of the hand to set in motion a small unique world.

Truth is words and photos just don’t do these artworks justice, so make sure you see them in action in the videos, after the jump.

 

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The Photorealistic Paintings of Denis Peterson

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Denis Peterson is a New York based artist of Armenian descent known around the world for his incredible photorealist artworks.

A few weeks back, I posted some incredible artworks by Tom Martin, and I started looking up more hyper-realist artist. That’s how I first found out about Denis Peterson and his mind-blowing paintings. Widely regraded as the father of hyperrealism, Peterson has exhibited his creations in galleries across the world, from the US, to Italy or France.

Denis Peterson starts the creation process by taking a photo of his subject or scenery, magnifies it up 1 – 2000 times, to capture every small detail, and begins painting. As you can imagine, this kind of painting takes a while to complete – around a month, to be exact – but the artist’s efforts are well compensated, as he receives around $46,000 for each of his artworks.

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The Unique Crayon Art of Christian Faur

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Looked at from afar, Christian Faur’s artworks look like common pixelated photographs, but as you draw near, you notice the thousands of colorful wax crayons used to create them.

‘I can still remember the pleasure of opening a new box of crayons, the distinct smell of the wax, the beautifully colored tips, everything still perfect and unused.’ says Christian Faur, but unlike other kids that used crayons, he stuck with them all the way to adulthood. Bored with using the usual paint and pencils, Faur turned to his childhood favorites, after seeing his young daughter playing with them.

The artist, from Granville, Tennessee, starts every one of his artworks by scanning a photo and breaking it down into color blocks. That’s when he starts placing different color crayons into a grid and finishes off by adding a wooden frame. The end result is truly awe inspiring. While they may not look like much from up close, the further you are from them the clearer they get. I dare you to get off your chair and take a few steps back and notice the difference.

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The Mind-Blowing Book Carvings of Long Bin-Chen

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You’ve probably seen book carvings before, but Long Bin-Chen’s works are definitely in a league of their own.

Taiwanese artist Long Bin-Chen uses discarded old books to create incredibly detailed sculptures that look like they’re made of marble or wood. Although all his artworks are made out of several books, he carves them all in such a manner that they fit together in a seamless manner. While he could use any books he gets his hands on, Long Bin-Chen only uses those that are relevant to his sculptures. For example, for one of his Buddha heads, he used New York telephone books. This way, the head will represent a caring Buddha from the East who came to take care of the west.

Bought from trash collectors or collected directly from the streets, the books and magazines are first carved with a band or chain saw and then with a dental sander, for finer details.

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Historic Defense Tower Becomes Modern Home

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With the intention of salvaging this building of historical value, industrial designer and owner Duncan Jackson paired up with a team from Piercy Conner Architects and managed to transform an old defense tower into a modern comfy home

The Martello Towers were built all over the coast of Great Britain in Kent, Sussex, Essex or Suffolk, in the 1800s, during the Napoleonic wars. They were meant to stop the French navy from reaching Britain’s shores, and were able to shoot cannon balls one mile out, but after Napoleon’s defeat, they became redundant.

Duncan Jackson and architect Stuart Piercy had their work cut out for them as this “make-over” of Tower Y was never going to be an easy job. Piercy admits: “When we first walked round, the cellar was five-foot deep in water, while the roof was covered in soil blown across the fields over the years. But the underlying structure was as strong as a battleship.”

“We made friends with the conservation and planning people. We needed them on our side. There are people who say the towers shouldn’t become homes because this takes away from their historic role. But if they aren’t going to be lived in, what’s to happen to them? Those that hadn’t been blasted away during target practice by the military have often been left to rot, and then demolished,” says Jackson.

Seen from the outside, the tower doesn’t inspire comfort, however imaginative you might be, but everything changes as soon as you walk through the door. The talent, skill and joined efforts of those who worked at this restoration have really payed off, as they managed to transform this tower into one of the most original modern homes of Great Britain.

It took 10 years to complete, but the end result really is breathtaking – a one of a kind home, combining a historic brick fort with the comfort of a palace-like home.

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Gingerbread Car Is the Sweetest Ride You’ve Ever Seen

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If you thought elaborate gingerbread houses were impressive, wait until you see the life-size gingerbread car a team of chefs have created, in California.

I’ve seen quite a number of gingerbread houses this holiday season, and don’t get me wrong, some of them were pretty cool, but I was definitely looking for something a little more original. Luckily, the chefs at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, California came up with a brilliant idea – create an edible replica of a 1948 Ford Woodie. Unless you’re a big car fan, you’ve probably never heard about this model, but who cares, it’s an edible car!

The 8-foot-long, 6-foot-wide and 5-1/2-foot tall masterpiece was built from 150 pounds of gingerbread, and covered with 300 pounds of royal icing and thousands of M&Ms. Chef Brian Sundeen and his team spent approximately 800 hours working on the gingerbread house, but you can see their efforts paid off, just by looking at the car.

The gingerbread 1948 Ford Woodie will be on display until December 31st, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, after which it will probably broken into pieces and given to children.

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El Chupacabra Found in Kentucky?

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It happened in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, where this strange looking creature appeared in Mark Cothren’s yard and got itself shot Now, all over the internet, people are wondering if this is just an animal suffering from a skin disease or the fabled chupacabra.

The legend of “el chupacabra” (Spanish word for “goat sucker”) began back in the 1990s, when when more and more stories told by people claiming they had seen this creature started circulating in Puerto Rico and rapidly spread throughout the Americas.

“I was like ‘every animal has hair, especially this time of year!’. What puzzled me is how something like that could survive through a winter with no hair. Everybody is getting very curious, you know. The phone is ringing off the hook. It’s kind of a mystery right now,” said Mark Cothren.

Opinions differ from one person to another, as some assume it is a cat, maybe a dog or a raccoon, but if it’s one thing they all agree on, it’s that it’s really strange looking. “It’s hard to tell what an animal is from just a photograph. This is an animal that’s native to our area, most likely that is suffering from some type of disease,” said Sam Clites from the Louisville Zoo.

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7 Weirdest Christmas Trees of 2010

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There’s nothing like an old fashion Christmas tree, full of colorful decorations and twinkling lights, but this doesn’t stop people from using the strangest materials to create their own unique Christmas tree. This happens every year, and 2010 makes no exception, so I thought it would be a great idea to make a list of the wackiest, most outrageous Christmas trees of 2010.

Tree-Cycle Christmas tree

Made out of 100 recycled bicycles, the Tree-Cycle Christmas tree, in Sydney’s The Rocks, is definitely one of the coolest Christmas trees of all time. The seven-meter-tall installation took eight weeks to design and complete, and could be admired until December 28, when it was dismantled, and the bicycle parts recycled, once again.

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