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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Cong Langui – China’s One Legged Chalk Art Master

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Cong Langui is a talented Chinese chalk artist who travels across the country creating amazing artworks that make people stop in their tracks and stare in amazement.

Cong may not be the only talented chalk artist in the world, but the hardships he has had to cope with throughout his life, make him stand out as a truly impressive person. He was born in the Linyi countryside, Shandong, and was diagnosed with bone cancer, when he was just 16 years old, and had his left leg amputated. It was a terrible blow for a young man, but he found comfort in painting, and started making replicas of world-renown artworks, every day.

At the age of 21, Cong Langui left his home and began traveling from city to city, living off his amazing chalk paintings. Now at age 48, the artist says he’s been to every one of China’s provinces, except Tibet and Xinjiang. Life was never easy for Cong, especially with only one leg, but by painting chalk masterpieces on city streets, he’s always made enough money to get by and keep traveling. Always hungry for cultural knowledge, the one legged artist would visit the art museum of every city he traveled to, in order to improve his cultural accomplishment and level of chalk drawing.

Every one of his chalk artworks takes hours to complete, but Cong feels that his pastel technique is of relatively low difficulty, and his biggest dream is to study painting in oil, watercolor and ink. Well versed in the art of chalk drawing (he has drawn Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” more than 300 times), Cong feels the need for a new challenge.

After the earthquake of Sichuan, even though he could barely afford to survive, Cong Langui insisted that all the money people gave him, for his amazing street art, be donated to the Hubei Red Cross.

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People Actually Pay to Travel to Hell on Earth

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Trying to discover a “cool”, out-of-this-world spot for your next vacation? If you think you’ve seen it all, think again, because the Danakil Desert, in Ethiopia will blow you mind. Toxic gases, violent vulcanos, sulphurous lakes, fiery air temperatures make this place what many would call hell on Earth.

Although it’s among the most inhospitable places in the world, there are many “people happy to pay for a two-week tour,” as Tom Pfeiffer, German vulcanologist and founder of VulcanoDiscovery, said. It probably has something to do with man’s desire to travel to other planets, as this is exactly the feeling you get in this unearthly environment.

Judging by the “beauty” of the Danakil Desert, you’d think people would have to be paid in order to agree to come here, but in fact, daredevils pay over $4,600 for a three week tour that starts in Addis Ababa. There aren’t any four star hotels here, but tourists get to enjoy unique, incredible sights that can never compare to chilling by the pool. However, if you’re thinking about traveling to Danakil, you should know you’ll be facing harsh heats and some of the strangest smells imaginable.

 

photo credits

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Christmas Tree Built Out of Mountain Dew Cans

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If you’re looking for an original way of recycling your old soda and beer cans, a nice Christmas tree is probably your best bet. You can use this Mountain Dew can tree, as motivation.

Back in 2006,  a group of Mountain Dew drinkers decided to put their drinking to good use, for a change. It took three months to gather the 400 cans of soda needed for their monumental project, but it definitely paid off. After four days of drilling holes into a PVC pipe, sticking construction flags in it and attaching the Mountain Dew cans to them, the guys had built quite a Christmas tree, topped off by a big plastic bottle, instead of the usual star.

It’s been four years since the Mountain Dew Christmas tree was built and other unusual Christmas trees were created since then, but it remains very popular, and people seem to remember it, around the holidays.

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Meet the Real Life Tom and Jerry

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If you are a big fan of Tom and Jerry, like me, you will most certainly fall in love with this real life version of the famous duo.

It might look like it, but 51-year-old Carolyne Brading didn’t use a cat and mouse as decorations for the Christmas tree. Bumble, her 14-month-old cat, got tangled in the lights and tinsel of the Christmas tree, while chasing a mouse. And while the clever little mouse managed to get to the top, Bumble didn’t make it more than half way up.

The owners, Mrs. Brading and her husband Stan, are very proud to have had the chance to capture this unusual but hilarious moment on camera:

“When we walked into the room we found him perched in the branches about half way up, and the mouse was peering down on him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We grabbed the camera straight away because it’s certainly not something we think we’ll witness again. Despite the awkward position, Bumble looked quite comfortable. We lifted him out and the mouse scurried away.

‘The tree was a mess. The angel that had previously been on top of the tree was on the floor and there were baubles everywhere. It took me an hour to put everything back together again. Everybody who sees the pictures thinks it’s hysterical – just like a scene out of Tom and Jerry,” said Mrs Brading.

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Bugarach – The French Village That Will Survive 2012 Armageddon

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Armageddon, the end of the world predicted by the ancient Maya for December 2012, is  a very popular subject these days. In fact, it’s so popular that places considered sacred and safe have become the target of many esoteric outsiders.

This is also the case of Bugarach, a peaceful French farming village, located on one of the “sacred mountains” and, believed to be an “alien garage” where aliens await, underground, for the world to end. Many believe that by coming here, they have a chance to be rescued by the aliens, while the rest of the world goes down in flames.

It might sound funny to you, but for mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, this isn’t a joke, as he said in an interview “If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if necessary come December 2012.” And with all the sites and articles on the internet talking about the UFOs and advising people to go to Bugarach to seek shelter, the army may have their hands full when the time comes.

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