Cyckisk – The Bicycle Obelisk of Santa Rosa

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California-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector used around 340 bicycles and a tricycle to built the Ciclysk – a 65-foot-tall version of the Washington Monument.

The newly installed Ciclysk may be perceived as a monument that encourages people to ride bikes instead of driving cars, but its funding actually came from the “1-percent-for-public-art” that Nissan paid to open a big car dealership just south of where the odd obelisk is now located. Santa Rosa currently has a law that requires one percent of every major construction project be donated towards public art.

Although the Cyclisk looks like it’s made of brand new bicycle parts, artist Mark Grieve says he only used parts that beyond being used on a functional bike. All he did was cover his creation in a special coating that will keep it looking nice and colorful for a long time. The bicycle parts were all donated by members of the Santa Rosa community who were excited to contribute to the creation of their city’s newest landmark.


The Wacky Ice-Cream Graveyard of Vermont

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Have you ever wondered where ice-cream flavors go to die? Well, believe it or not, they have their very own cemetery, in Vermont.

The New England city of Vermont is famous for its Ben&Jerry’s ice cream, and the company’s Waterbury factory is the most popular tourist attraction in the whole state. One of the things that makes Ben&Jerry’s special is the wide variety of flavors, but as new ones emerge every year, older and unpopular ones reach the end of the line. To honor their memory, Ben&Jerry’s built a cemetery just for them.

Located on a hill, behind the famous Waterbury ice-cream factory, the Flavor Cemetery features hundreds of plastic tombstones, for every wacky flavor ever launched by Ben&Jerry’s. Each tombstone has an artist-written epitaph and a list of ingredients of the “deceased” ice-creams. Since the birth of Ben&Jerry’s, 200 flavors that have failed to impress customers, ended up pushing daisies in the Flavor Cemetery.

But don’t start crying over the demise of your favorite ice-cream flavor, just yet. According to Ben&Jerry’s, you have the power to bring “deceased” flavors back from the dead, by asking for it on their official website. If a flavor gets enough votes to convince management, it will be exhumed and brought back in the world of the living.


Sokushinbutsu – Japan’s Self-Mummified Monks

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Sokushinbutsu were Buddhist priests who took their own lives in such a way that they became mummies and were revered for their spirit and dedication.

Popular in northern Japan, especially around the Yamagato Prefecture, the practice of becoming Sokushinbutsu is believed to a tantric ritual from Tang China, brought to the Land of the Rising Sun by the founder of Shingon Buddhism.


Eggcubism – The Art of Painting on Egg Cartons

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Using the unique shape and texture of the egg carton to his advantage, Dutch artist Enno de Kroon creates fragmented and multifaceted images. He calls this new art form “eggcubism“.

Enno de Kroon says he has always experimented with distortions of perspective, and has had egg cartons around his studio for a long time, but needed to build up the courage to work with such an unusual art medium. Since the hindrances of the egg carton offer such a different perspective, depending on the angle it’s viewed from, Enno de Kroon was forced to approach painting in a whole new way.

Inspired by famous cubism masters like Picasso and Braque, who showed everyone how to take an object, a person or landscape, and show it from various angles, Enno de Kroon made looking at his artworks an interactive experience, where viewers had to discover the perfect viewing angles. But unlike traditional cubism, where there is just one right angle to an artwork, eggcubism features various viewing options, that turn a beautiful smiling lady into a five-eyed freak.

Check out more of Enno de Kroon’s amazing eggcubism masterpieces on his Flickr stream.


The Suitcase Architecture of Yin Xiuzhen

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Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen creates her Portable Cities by carefully arranging discarded clothes and other pieces of fabric, in suitcases.

One of the most original artists of our time, Yin Xiuzhen says she first got the idea for her amazing Portable Cities while she was traveling. Looking at the conveyor belt, in an airport, waiting for her baggage, she felt like she was actually traveling with her home, and decided to use this idea in her art. According to Yin Xiuzhen, her Portable Cities represent the ease with which the modern man is able to travel from one city to the next.

In the expert hands of Yin Xiuzhen, old clothing articles worn by everyday urban citizens become unique pieces of architecture. So far, the artist has created some of the cities she’s visited throughout the years, including Berlin, Vancouver, Seattle and her home city of Beijing.


Cascamorras – The Dirty Festival of Granada

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Every September 8th, the Spanish towns of Baza and Guadix host the Festival of Cascamorras, an event unique to the Granada region of Spain.

According to legend, the origin of “La Fiesta del Cascamorras” can be traced back to 1490, when Don Luis de Acuña Herrera decided to built the Church of Mercy in the town of Baza, where a Moazarabic mosque had previously been erected. While chiseling a block of plaster, Juan Pedernal, a worker from the nearby town of Guadix, heard a soft, soothing voice coming from inside a cavern, which said “Have mercy!”. Upon examining the cavity he stumbled upon a statue of the Virgin Mary, that came to be known as “Our Lady of Mercy”.


The Incredible Wire Sculptures of Ivan Lovatt

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Artist Ivan Lovatt has recreated the faces of celebrities such as Michael Jackson or The Beatles, using nothing but chicken wire.

Ivan Lovatt is one of those artists who are always looking for new media to experiment with, and for him chicken wire proved to be just what he needed. Before starting to mold chicken wire into intricate portraits, Ivan used it to give structure to some of his earlier sculptures. At one point, he began creating wildlife out of the unusual medium, and as his skills developed, he moved to celebrity portraits.

Most of his wire portraits take over a month to complete and about one and a half times larger than life size. Somehow, he manages to twist, bend and pin the wire in such a way that his portraits end up so detailed you can actually see every hair on their head. He became a professional sculptor six years ago, and since then , his works have been displayed in galleries and museums all around the world.


Robosteel Creates Awesome Replica of Bumblebee

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After they took the Internet by storm, last year, with their stunning replica of Optimus Prime, the guys at RoboSteel have done it again. This time, it’s Bumblebee.

RoboSteel came up with the idea for a steel replica of Transformers hero Bumblebee, at the MPH Top Gear Show, back in 2009, where their 2.5 meters-tall Optimus Prime made an appearance. Looking at a gorgeous yellow Camaro, the boys just thought it would be a great challenge, and that good ol’ Optimus deserved to be reunited with his long-time partner.

The 2.2 meter-tall replica of Bumblebee was created from pieces of recycled steel, and weighs a whopping 400 kilograms. While it may not be as awesome as the life-size Bumblebee showcased at the 2010 Cybertron Annual Meeting, in Shanghai, this is one of the coolest Transformers replicas I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few.

As for what Robosteel is planning for the future – they’re giving the Decepticons a chance for a change, with a replica of Megatron.


The Typewriter Artworks of Keira Rathbone

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British artist Keira Rathbone uses typewriters, instead of brushes and pencils, to create amazing portraits and drawings.

27-year-old Keira Rathbone, from London, first started experimenting with typewriter art, when she was in university. She baought an old typewriter, from a flee market, in the hope that she would soon use it to write something. By the middle of her first year at the university, she hadn’t come up with anything to put down on paper, so she decided to use it as a drawing tool. The first results were promising, and young Keira quickly realized she would be exploring this new art form much further.

Fast forward to present day and Keira Rathbone is an established artist with her very own niche, praised by the entire artworld. She now has an arsenal of 30 typewriters which she has used to create unique portraits of Barrack Obama, Kate Moss, Marylin Monroe, and others.

Keira Rathbone says she simply turns the roller to move the sheet of paper, and uses different characters to create the shapes she wants. It might sound easy enough, but creating detailed artworks from simple letters, numbers and punctuation is definitely not the easiest thing to do.


Jeremy May Creates Jewelry from Book Cutouts

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We’ve seen books used as an art medium before, but never as material for unique pieces of jewelry. Jeremy May manages to capture the beauty of paper and makes it available to everyone, in the shape of various fashion accessories. His Littlefly jewels are made from hundreds of laminated sheets of paper, covered by a layer of gloss.  As each of his pieces are impossible to replicate, they are all unique.

The pages for Littlefly jewels are carefully selected, and the finish products are shipped with the book they were created from. It’s not like you can read it anymore, but it make a great packaging.


Toy Car – Pretty Much the Most Amazing Car EVER!

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That’s how the owner of this unique car describes his creation on his Flickr stream, and the geek in me agrees with him 100%.

The Toy Car is a one-of-a-kind vehicle covered with thousands of toys that the owner most likely collected as a child. Probably eager to show off his massive collection, or just wanting to give his Saab a second life as a cool art-car, the man behind this crazy creation glued all these toys all over the body of  his old ride.

I’m sure he can’t go too fast in that car anymore, for fear of his toys flying off the hood, but who needs speed when you can just cruise around town flaunting your geek spirit for everyone to see.

Check out more photos of the awesome Toy Car on AzyxA’s Flickr stream.


The Wood Veneer Paintings of Rob Milam

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Using an artform known as “marquetry”, Rob Milam creates beautiful paintings with wood veneer.

Marquetry is defined as the composition of an image using natural wood veneer, cut into pieces and glued on a substrate, sort of like a puzzle. Every one of Rob Milam’s marquetry paintings start with a photograph. He uses Photoshop to create a black-and-white image showing the dark and light values and uses anywhere from four to sixteen different wood veneers to recreate it.

Every species of wood has a distinctive grain pattern and colors range from creamy white (holy and English sycamore), to dark brown (Brazilian rosewood) and even black (bog oak). Though he usually uses only naturally colored wood, Rob Milam sometimes makes use of artificially colored blue and green veneer, for replicating the eye’s iris.

The pieces of wood veneer are cut into pieces by the artist himself, using chisels, knives and saws.


The Cardboard Cameras of Kiel Johnson

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Cardboard is apparently one of the most popular art mediums of our time, and Kiel Johnson’s cardboard cameras are the latest in a series of impressive cardboard artworks.

From the cardboard-made Cakeland to the wonderful sculptures of Chris Gilmour, I’ve posted my share of cardboard creations, and to help me keep the tradition alive are Kiel Johnson’s amazing cardboard cameras. The American artist has crafted a whole series of cardboard cameras, from the “ancient” 8mm, to point and shoot, Polaroid, and even the latest DSLRs.


Panjat Pinang – A Slippery Tradition of Indonesia

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Dating back to the Dutch colonial days, Panjat Pinang is one of the oldest, most popular traditions in Indonesia.

Panjat Pinang is a very unique way of celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day. Every year, in towns and villages around the country, tall nut-trees are chopped down and their trunks placed vertically, in the center of each settlement. A wheel full of prizes is placed on top, before the trunk is covered with oil or other lubricants, and young men are invited to try and reach the prizes.

This type of pole climbing was introduced to the Indonesians, by Dutch colonists, who came up with it as a form of entertainment. Every time an important event took place (like a wedding, or national holiday) they would install a Panjat Pinang pole and watch the natives attempt to reach the prizes.

Since the nut-tree poles are fairly high and very slippery, a single climber would have almost no chance of reaching the top, so contestants usually work together and split the rewards, if they succeed. Prizes consist of foods, like cheese, sugar, flour, and clothes. You might not think them worth the trouble, but for poor Indonesians, these are luxury items.

There is some controversy surrounding Panjat Pinang. While most Indonesia believe it is an educational challenge that teaches people to work together and work hard in reaching their goals, there are those who say Panjat Pinang is a degrading display that sends the wrong kind of message to Indonesia’s youth. There’s also the environmental issue of cutting down a significant number of nut-trees for such a hedonistic celebration.


The Shocking Fireball Festival of Nejapa

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The Fireball Festival is an old tradition celebrated each year, on August 31st, in the town of Nejapa, El Salvador.

“Las Bolas de Fuego”, as the locals refer to this bizarre event, is actually a reenactment of the fight between San Jeronimo and the devil. In 1922, the people of Nejapa and the surrounding area were forced to evacuate, by the eruption of a nearby volcano. As they were leaving, locals saw great balls of fire spewing out of the volcano, and believed their patron saint was actually fighting the devil with them.

Ever since they witnessed the fight between good and evil, the people of Nejapa have celebrated it each year, by organizing their very own fireball fight. If you didn’t know this was an organized celebration, you’d be tempted to think you’ve been dropped in the middle of a war-zone. Two teams of young men, with their faces covered by war paint, throw flaming fireballs at each other, surrounded by hundreds of bystanders who watch their every move.

Equipped with gloves and clothes soaked in water, the brave combatants throw and at the same time, evade the flaming fireballs made from rags and dipped in fuel. Some of their clothes do catch on fire, and some of the participants are often hit right in the face, at point blank, but despite all the health hazards, few injuries have been reported during the Fireball Festival.

It’s definitely a shocking display, but un a country like El Salvador, where gangs and violence are everywhere, getting hit by a flaming fireball, during “Las Bolas de Fuego” is the least dangerous thing that can happen.


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