Leo Sewell and His Incredible Junk Sculptures

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Using various junk items he picks up from around his home town, Leo Sewell creates junk masterpieces collected by museums and art enthusiasts around the world.

As a child, Leo Sewell grew up playing with objects he found at the dump near his home. He would take them apart, and his parents would encourage him to put them back together. He followed their advice long after he became a grown-up and he now has 50 years experience in creating beautiful sculptures out of junk.

He spends most of his time scouring the streets of Philadelphia for discarded materials, and brings them all back to his workshop. Right now, there are over 100,000 items in his shop, organized into 2,500 categories, from corn holders to gold-plated shark teeth. No matter how weird or useless an item seems, Leo will find a place for it in one of his beautiful artworks. Both the frame and surface of his sculptures are made of junk objects, assembled with nails, bolts and screws.

Throughout his career, Leo Sewell has created over 4,000 trash sculptures, from life-size models of animals, to a 24-foot-long dinosaur or his amazing 40 foot Torch. His art is displayed worldwide, including in over 40 museums and in both private and public collections.

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The Mind-Blowing Origami Sculptures of Eric Joisel

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Eric Joisel was one of the most gifted origami artists the world has ever seen, and even though he recently passed away, he lives on through his amazing folded paper masterpieces.

Eric Joisel dedicated most of his life to art, in many of its forms, including drawing and sculpting. He took up origami in 1983, and just four years later had his first exhibition, in Paris. It was proof of his immense talent, but the French artist knew that it took a lot more hard work to take his art to the highest possible level. Whenever someone asked him how long it took him to finish one of his paper artworks, he would say “35 years, because that is how long it has taken me to get to this level.”

Unlike the paper boats or birds people usually associate with the art of origami, Joisel’s works are more like paper sculptures created from a single sheet of paper. The blueprint for a single figure could take several years to complete, and the folding process lasted hundreds of hours, but the result was truly magnificent. By dampening the sheet of paper, the artist could curve it into intricate shapes, allowing him to create details like furrowed brows or veined hands. Some of his larger creations, like the paper rhino you’re about to see below, were created from giant sheets of paper, measuring 15 feet by 25 feet (about the size of a studio apartment).

Although his works sold for thousands of dollars, Eric Joisel lived in a modern farmhouse, and spent several hours a day working on his origami sculptures. He died on October 10, 2010, from lung cancer. He was just 53 years old, and had so much more to give to the art world…

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Tree-Cycle – The Recycled Christmas Tree of The Rocks

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Made up of 100 recycled bicycle parts, Tree-cycle is one of the most original Christmas trees this year.

For the past two years, Sydney’s The Rocks area has featured a mind-blowing Christmas tree made of recycled materials. In 2008, the chosen medium was chairs, 2009 was the year of recycled bottles, and this year organizers went for bicycle parts. The seven-meter-tall tree was constructed using the bicycle parts provided by a group called CMA Recycling, and took a total of eight weeks to design and build.

The Tree-cycle Christmas installation can be admired until December 28, when i will be taken apart. Once dismantled, the bicycle parts will be recycled once again, by CMA Recycling.

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If You’ve Ever Wanted to Live in a Church, Now Is Your Chance

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Saint Jakobus Church, a Christian sanctuary dating back to 1870 has been converted into a modern townhouse and is now for sale.

Known as “WoonkerkXL” or “The Residential Church XL“, this unusual home is located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is the only so-called “plasters” Gothic style church in the city. Once a soberly decorated church, Saint Jakobus became a beautiful, lively home, once the designers of ZECC Architects were done with it. Paying great attention to space, lighting and functionality, they managed to create a living space you’d actually want to live in, without messing with the exterior or the stained glass windows dating back to 1911.

While it doesn’t serve its original purpose, The Residential Church XL is an important municipal monument, due to the relationship to its surroundings. And apart from its unique design, it’s also very close to Utrecht main tourist attractions and nightlife venues.

Check out the wonderful photos below, and if you like what you see and can fork out 2.375 million euros, you can place a bid on The Residential Church XL, here.

 

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Malaysia’s Unique Oil Rig Hotel

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Once just another oil rig used to pollute the ocean, Malaysia’s Seaventures Dive Resort is now one of the most popular diving spots in the Pacific Ocean.

The waters surrounding an oil rig are probably the last place you’d imagine to find such an amazing array of coral reefs, and a diverse marine life, made up of hundreds of species of colorful tropical fish, sea turtles and other marvelous creatures. But this particular oil rig is actually a hotel where divers from around the world book rooms, so they can be close to Sipadan Island, known for its incredibly beautiful underwater scenery.

The oil rig sitting in the Celebes Sea is owned by Suzette Harris, an Singaporean business woman whose father in law bought the metal monster, in 1988. She says in Singapore you can buy a used oil rig, just as easy as you would an old boat. After buying it, he had it towed to Borneo waters and started this unique diving hotel.

While they tried painting it in lively colors, to give it a welcoming look, there’s just so much you can do with an oil rig, and visitors should not expect five-star accommodations. The rooms are tidy but tiny, there’s hardly any closet space and the air smells from the oil powering the generators. The food isn’t exactly gourmet either, but tourists who stay at the oil rig hotel, don’t care much about these details. To them it’s all about being at the heart of the Coral Triangle, an area with a rich marine diversity.

Seaventures Dive Resort may not be as luxurious as I’m sure many other hotels in Malaysia, but it’s unique setting, and the fact that it’s the only oil rig hotel in the world, make it one of the world’s most popular tourist resorts.

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The Edible Dresses of Sung Yeonju

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Sung Yeonju is a brilliant young Korean artist who took the art world by storm with her incredible series of dresses made of various foods, entitled Wearable Foods. Born in 1986, in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Yeonju graduated from the Hong Ik University in 2010, and has already made a name for herself by creating various garments out of foods like bread, red cabbage, tomatoes or spring onions.

She is a fine artist who uses photography as her main medium to create her vision. “Wearable Foods” series is the first long term project she started two years ago and it still continues to this day. This series deals with the concept of creating images that interchange the actual reality and the made-up reality on many levels. This body of work is her version of the made-up reality, which destroys the core meaning of clothing, which is the ability to be worn. This series of her work forces viewers to defy the actual meaning, functionality, and the aspects of what clothing signifies in our lives. The essence of clothing and food has been reinterpreted. Each element does not fulfill its own role and yet, each suggests an unconventional and even contradicting role – un-wearable clothing that is made out of the materials that do not last. Yeonju’s spectacular images make you believe and desire her made-up reality. She will be participating in an upcoming Korean Contemporary Art Group Exhibition in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit yeonju.me

I wonder if Sung Yeonju had something to do with Lady Gaga’s famous meat dress. Or maybe that was Dimitri Tsykalov’s work

 

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Quetzalcoatl Nest – Mexico’s Snake-Shaped House

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Quetzalcoatl Nest is an unconventional housing complex created by Mexican designer Javier Senosiain, and named after the Aztec snake/bird god of learning and knowledge.

After designing the amazing Nautilus House a few years back, Javier Senosiain strikes again with an even more ingenious architectural project. Located on an irregular piece of land, lined with oak trees and full of caves, some collapsed and some preserved, Quetzalcoatl Nest proved very difficult to complete. Especially if you consider that the designer wasn’t allowed to touch any of the plant life on the premises (which covered 98% of the terrain), and that the small flat surface had to be used as parking space. Under these conditions, Senosiain found an ingenious way of actually making great use of the ravine and came up with a snake-like design for the house.

While it looks like just an eccentric architectural prototype, Quetzalcoatl Nest is actually somebody’s home. Featuring an original design and sporting some really interesting features that allow its owners to live in perfect harmony with nature, Quetzalcoatl Nest is an architectural example to be followed.

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The Ledger Paper Buildings of Jill Sylvia

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Artist Jill Sylvia uses ledger paper sheets to create amazing replicas of famous buildings, like the US capitol or the White House. One thing is for sure, you don’t have to like accounting to fall in love with her art.

Usually used to compile accounting information, ledger sheets become a very original art medium, in the hands of Jill Sylvia. Using a drafting knife, she removes the spaces where numbers are supposed to be, by hand, leaving only the grid separating the boxes. She then uses the resulting lattice to create intricate artworks, including models of American structures. I’d say it’s a great way of reusing a now obsolete material to create timeless artworks.

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The All Saints Day Giant Kite Festival of Guatemala

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Every November 1st, the people of Santiago Sacatepéquez , Guatemala celebrate the Day of the Dead by flying giant colorful kites, during the All Saints Day Kite Festival.

Known as “barilletas gigantes” in Spanish, the giant kites of Santiago Sacatepéquez are masterpieces that take great skill and patience to complete. Months before the Kite Festival, teams of people begin work on the colorful kites that will bring them great honor and the respect of their peers, on the big day. A giant kite is made of cloth and paper tied to a bamboo frame, and features a colorful design, usually with a religious or folkloric theme. In recent years, designs have been hinting at the ever-growing corruption of the Guatemala government.

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The Chewing Gum Portraits of Jason Kronenwald

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Jason Kronenwald is an extraordinary artist who creates incredible celebrity portraits out of chewed pieces of bubblegum.

Gum Blondes” is a series of portraits of famous blondes, from Britney Spears to Madonna and even Hillary Clinton. Although I’m pretty sure he isn’t the first artist to do portraits of these stars, he is the first one to do it using only chewing gum. Jason Kronenwald executed his first chewing gum artwork in 1996, and over the years improved his technique to the point where you couldn’t guess the only medium is colored bubblegum. He recently opened a new exhibition of portraits, entitled “A Fresh Pack of Gum Blondes.”

While I’ll admit it’s hard to believe, Jason adds no dye to his chewing gum portraits. Colors and tones are obtained by simply chewing a variety of colored gum, regardless of their brand. He even has a team of chewers, so he doesn’t put any gum in his mouth, unless he absolutely has to. Each portrait is created on a plywood surface, which is then sealed with an epoxy resin that protects and preserves it for long periods of time.

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Japan’s Amazing Dekotora Trucks

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Known as Dekotora, Decotora, or simply as Japanese art trucks, these incredible masterpieces on four wheels have become a symbol of Japan.

Dekotora is an abbreviation for “decoration truck”, and if you can say something about these trucks it’s that they are very decorated. That’s basically what defines the Dekotora art movement – adding as many decorations to your truck, as you possibly can, while keeping it operational. And making use of the ingenuity that defines the Japanese, they have been able to create some truly impressive rigs that blow your mind. Neon lights, flashy spoilers, manga and kabuki artworks are all part of a Dekotora artist’s arsenal, in his quest of creating the flashiest truck possible.

The Dekotora movement was born in 1975, when Toei released the first of its 10-movie series called “Trucker”, which featured a trucker who drove his overly-decorated truck all over Japan. The movie was a huge success, and people started tuning their own big rigs to resemble what they saw on screen. Dekotora truckers are very passionate about what they do, and money is no object when it comes to turning their vehicles into flashy masterpieces. They often form communities where they can show off their creations and interact with other art-truck enthusiasts. Most of them try to adorn the trucks with as many decorations as possible, while keeping them street legal, but there are those who go over the limit and create impressive Dekotora beasts that can only be admired in exhibitions.

There are three main Dekotora styles – Kansai, Kant and Retro, and starting with the late 1990s, the Gundam franchise has had a huge influence on the world of Dekotora. I guess the Japanese love robots and sci-fi,even when it comes to big flashy trucks.

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The Intricate Paper-Cut Maps of Karen O’leary

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They may not be as helpful as conventional maps, when you need to find your way through a metropolis, but Karen O’leary’s hand-cut paper maps are simply stunning to look at.

Karen O’leary is definitely one of the most patient people on the planet. She spends most of her days cutting away at thick white watercolor sheets of paper, until she creates jaw-dropping replicas of conventional city maps. While you could easily mistake Karen’s hand-cut maps with laser-cut ones, the amount of time and patience she puts into every one of her works makes them unique masterpieces. For each one of her maps, the artist spends a great deal of time drawing it in detail, and only after begins the painstaking process of cutting.

If you’d like to own one of Karen O’leary’s intricate hand-cut paper maps, you can find a wide range of cities, from Madrid to Sydney, at her online Etsy shop. While the $1,100 price tag may seem a bit discouraging, judging by the amount of effort Karen puts into her art, you’ll find it’s a bargain.

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Khalid Nabi – Not Your Average Cemetery

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The Khalid Nabi cemetery, in northern Iran has become a popular attraction for both locals and tourists, because of its strange tombstones shaped as male and female sexual organs.

Scientists say the bizarre cemetery is around 1,400 years old, and judging by the number of headstones, it’s the final resting place of at least 600 people, the most important of which is Khalid Nabi, a prophet born 40 years before Muhammad. You’d be inclined to be believe most people come to the cemetery as pilgrims to a prophet’s grave, but you couldn’t be more wrong; they actually come to see the penis and breast-shaped tombstones.

Nobody knows exactly what the 6-foot-tall columns shaped like phalluses and the smaller, cross like-headstones that resemble female breasts are meant to symbolize, but the mere fact that a wacky attraction like the Khalid Nabi cemetery gets this kind of attention, in a country like Iran, is weird enough. Some scientists say the weird tombstones could have been influenced by the phallic religion practiced in India and central Asia, but most of the visitors don’t even care, they just came here to see some funny penis-shaped rocks.

I’m just not sure who Iran is going to blame for this, but I’m sure they’ll somehow relate the phallus stones to some “capitalist pigs”.

 

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Sharpie-Painted Car Looks Sharp

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A Mazda Miata owner used a number of sharpies to give his favorite car some really cool-looking tattoos.

“Mighty” Mike Niemann of Team Miataka Racing spent 22 days and $100 in sharpies giving his 1992 Mazda Miata a radical new look. After carefully drawing the entire thing by hand, he added a clear coat so his impressive masterpiece doesn’t get ruined by the first falling rain drops.

Mike’s sharpie-painted Miata is definitely impressive, but it’s not the first sharpie-tattooed car. That probably goes to this gorgeous Lamborghini.

 

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Prince Saint Vladimir – The World’s First and Only Chapel Boat

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The Prince Saint Vladimir is basically an old boat converted into a floating church that could make the sacred relics on board accessible to people in remote areas along the Volga River.

This isn’t the world’s first floating church, communities living on water have built plenty of them all around the world, but the Prince Saint Vladimir (named after the saint who baptized Russia) is the world’s first self-propelled chapel boat. Built back in 2004, the unique church was designed to reach even the shallowest waters, so that all the people of the Volvograd region could have access to a church and priest. There were two other similar churches built before, but because they were practically converted barges, they could only be moved by tugboats. The Prince Saint Vladimir is, however, a self-propelled craft.

On September 13, 2010, the great river voyage of the Prince Saint Vladimir began. The floating church will travel around 3,000 kilometers along the shores of the Volga, from the river mouth, all the way to Moscow. It will make stops in both cities and small communities along the shores, allowing people access to relics of eight great saints from the era of the Undivided Church. Its voyage will take the sacred ship to areas that have suffered from drought and terrible wildfires, and the Russian Church hopes it will bring comfort to locals.

Along with the captain and ship crew, a priest will be on board the Prince Saint Vladimir at all times, and he will celebrate the Sacred Liturgy at every stop.

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