The Paintings of a Congenitally Blind Man

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Esref Armagan was born blind, in a poor family, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a successful artist, with a unique painting style.

As a child and young adult, Esref didn’t receive any kind of education, but he somehow managed to teach himself how to read and paint. For the last thirty-five years he has developed a unique painting technique and is always perfecting it. The Turkish artist needs absolute quiet when he paints, in order to be “inside” his artworks. First he uses a Braille stylus to etch out the outline of his paintings. When he is satisfied with the drawings, be begins applying the colors, using his fingers.

In the beginning, he was forced to apply one color every two or three days, in order to allow them to dry and prevent smearing, but he later discovered acrylic paints, which dry much faster and allow him to paint directly on canvas. Believe it or not, his style of painting is unique in the art world, and allows him to complete his paintings without any help whatsoever.

For his portrait paintings, he asks a sighted person to draw around a photograph. Then, using his fingers, he draws what he feels onto a sheet of paper and later applies colors. He has painted portraits of his country’s president and other high-ranking Turkish officials. Esref Armagan works have been exhibited in galleries across Europe, and he was featured on popular TV channels like the BBC and ZDF.

After seeing his artworks, few are those who believe Esref paints all by himself, or doubt he was actually born blind. Scientists who examined the eccentric Turkish artist have confirmed he is congenitally blind, and were baffled by the ease with which he represents space.

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The Paper House Is All Wrapped in Newspapers

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Built by Elis Stemnan, the mechanical engineer who invented the machine that makes paper clips, the Paper House of Rockport is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Massachusetts.

The Paper House was built in 1922, with a common wooden structure. But like all amateur inventors, Mr. Stemnan was curious, so he decided to use his new house to find out if paper offered good enough insulation. He covered an entire wall with layers upon layers of rolled newspapers, held together by his very own glue, made from water, flour and apple peals. One thing led to another, and Elis Steman ended up wrapping the whole house in rolled newspapers. The interior of the house is also completely made of paper, including the furniture, window curtains and decorations. The piano alone is real and wrapped entirely in newspapers.

With the help of neighbors who supported him in his efforts, and always brought him their newspapers, Elis Stemnan managed to cover his house in around 100,000 rolled newspapers. He coated it all in varnish to protect it from weathering away. On the outside, where the varnish wore off, visitors can spend hours reading headlines and snippets from articles almost a century old.

One question no one has ever been able to answer is why Elis Stemnan went through all the trouble to create the paper House. Most people say he did it to be thrifty, and because newspapers were abundant and cheap, back then.

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The Wooden Sculptures of Randall Rosenthal

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The things you’re about to see might look like just a bunch of uninteresting everyday items that don’t deserve any attention, but every one of them has been hand carved from a single piece of wood.

Carving a piece of wood into a bunch of newspapers, or books is hard enough, but using trompe l’oeil painting techniques, Randall Rosenthal manages to make his works look just like the real thing. Trying to keep his audience guessing, he normally just allows just one of his sculptures to be touched, while leaving them to discover if the rest are also made of wood.

His “Lunch Money” sculpture, representing stacks of hundred dollar bills in a corrugated cardboard box took six weeks to carve and another six to finish painting. To get their hands on that kind of wooden cash, art lovers had to pay $25,000, the real kind.

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The Brown Tape Paintings of Mark Khaisman

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By applying layer upon layer of brown packaging tape on plexiglass light boxes, Mark Khaisam creates amazing paintings.

Philadelphia-based Mark Khaisam used to work on stained-glass windows, before discovering the packaging tape, and though the two art forms seem unrelated, the artist says they are just different ways of painting with light. As he uses up to ten layers of tape for the darkest spots on his paintings, Mr. Khaisam needs around three 100-meter packaging tape rolls per week, to complete his artworks.

The artist doesn’t sketch out the images first, as you might imagine, he simply works with stills from his favorite films, increases them to actual size, then starts adding pieces of packaging tape directly on the light boxes. Using different number of layers to create darker areas and shadows, and thinner pieces of tape to achieve brush strokes, Mark Khaisman manages to create detailed paintings that look amazingly loose.

The packaging tape paintings of Mark Khaisman sell for as much as $10,000.

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Meet the Thermometer Man

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Richard T. Porter has earned the nickname “The Thermometer Man” by putting together a collection of around 5,000 thermometer of various shapes and sizes.

The small village of Onset, in Wareham, Massachusetts, may not be among the world’s top travel destination, but Richard T. Porter has been working long and hard to put this settlement on the tourist map. He spent decades putting together his thermometer collection and opened the Porter Thermometer Museum. The founder, curator and educator of this unusual museum has been featured by Ripley’s Believe Ir or Not, and is in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s largest collection of thermometers.

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Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch

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The Bottle Tree Ranch created by Elmer Long is one of the most impressive attractions along Route 66, featuring hundreds with bottle-filled trees.

Elmer Long is the quirky artist behind the now famous Bottle Tree Ranch. He looks a lot like one of the guys from ZZ Top, but he’s really a fascinating man who loves greeting and getting to know the people who visit his roadside masterpiece. As a kid, Elmer used to travel through the desert, with his dad, who would collect any objects they found, and keep extensive notes about their location.

After Elmer’s dad died, he was left with a sizable collection of colorful bottles, but he had no idea what to do with it. One day, it hit him – he decided to build his first bottle tree. He got to welding and after he completed his work, knew that he had to go on. Elmer Long started the Bottle Tree Ranch in 2000, and since then has created over 200 scrap metal bottle trees.

Visiting the Bottle Tree Ranch of California’s Mojave County isn’t just about admiring the beautiful art installations, or hearing the sweet melody created by the wind going through the bottles, it’s also about meeting the artist. Elmer Long is just as fascinating as his bottle ranch, always welcoming guests and willing to strike up a conversation. He always complains about how people now prefer the interstates, even though they are completely soulless, compared to the old routes. He longs for the old days when people also traveled to discover the towns and wonders along the roads.

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Toro Jubilo Festival Makes Bullfighting Look Like Child’s Play

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If you thought bullfighting was cruel and barbaric, you’ll soon learn there are far worse ways to kill an innocent animal in the name of primitive entertainment.

Every year, on the second weekend of November, a horrific show takes place in the streets of Medinacelli, an otherwise picturesque Spanish town. As soon as the sun sets, bulls are brought into the town square, surrounded and restrained by the “bravest” of participants. Big balls of pitch are attached to the bull’s horns and the animal is set loose through the town.

This savage bull run is known as Toro Jubilo, and the bull is called Toro de Fuego, which translates as “bull of Fire”. As the pitch burns like a bonfire on the horns, it scorches his eyes and face causing it unspeakable pain. Disoriented and in agony, the bull often runs into walls and hurts himself even more, while the crowd run around him and cheers.

After hours of immense pain and eventually being blinded by the flames, the bull dies in agony. If this wasn’t cruel enough, the animal’s carcass is cut up and split among the participants to the event. Toro Jubilo is viewed simply as a form of entertainment by the people of Medinacelli, but this kind of animal cruelty doen’t qualify as such.

If you feel this is an old tradition that should continue, in the name of cultural diversity, just read this post, look at the photos and get back to what you were doing, but if you want to put a stop to it, make sure you sign this petition (I did) and share it with your friends.

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The Tattooed Baby of Jason Clay Lewis

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The Drill Baby is a bizarre artwork created by New York-based artist Jason Clay Lewis. It is inspired by the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Remember Sarah Palin’s famous “Drill, baby, drill” remark? Jason Clay Lewis named his artwork the Drill Baby in respons to her infamous line. The Drill Baby is a peaceful looking baby made of vinyl rubber, mohair, plaster, oil paint and aluminum armature, covered with tattoos inspired by the BP disaster.

Oil covered seaguls and pelicans, a Koi fish swimming in dark waters and an isolated island surrounded by oil – these are the victims of the oil spill depicted on the infant’s tattoos, while the perpatrators are reprisented by a dark ship followed by floating oil barrels. Even the Virgin Mary is depicted holding a dripping gas nozzle.

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Ghosts of a Dream – Recycled Lottery Ticket Art

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Lottery tickets don’t mean much after you’ve scratched away the glittering layer only to see your hopes go up in smoke, but that doesn’t mean the little paper slips can’t serve a brand new purpose.

Ghosts of a Dream is an artistic duo made of Adam Ecksrom and Lauren Was, two talented graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design. They take the used lottery tickets and recreate what people usually dream of winning when they buy them. You could say the tickets go from dreams to complete garbage and finally turn into something (sort of) real.

Everything Ghosts of Dreams creates is made of various salvaged objects and thousands of discarded lottery tickets.  Among their most impressive projets are the Dream Home, a make-belief home made from $70,000 worth of lottery tickets, the Dream Car, a Hummer mockup made with $39,000 worth of lottery tickets, or the Dream Vacation created with $29,000 worth of tickets.

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The Sugar-Cube Structures of Lionel Scoccimaro

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French rtist Lionel Scoccimaro creates unique art installations by working with unusual mediums, such as sugar cubes. A big fan of Evil Knievel, skateboarding and surfing, Scoccimaro employs a great deal of fun into his art, but he says “I’m very serious about the way I ‘have fun,’ because it’s my only way of renewing myself and finding pleasure in my studio.”

Throughout the years, Scoccimaro has  created a variety of artworks, but his sugar-cube structures are definitely the most impressive. His Snow Landscape installation was 40 square meters in size, while White Lanscape was done using 400 kilograms of sugar.

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V8 Hotel – A Car Enthusiast’s Ultimate Accommodation

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Featuring automotive-themed rooms and beds made from famous cars, the V8 Hotel, in Stuttgart, is the ultimate retreat for any car fan.

Located in the center of Stuttgart’s Meillenwerk – one of Germany’s hot-spot for car dealers – the V8 Hotel is a regular tourist magnet. Practically everyone who comes to Meillenwerk wants to spend the night at this classy auto-themed hotel. At $490 per night, the rooms at the V8 are not the cheapest, but that doesn’t stop guests from booking them. Even Stuttgart locals come here to spend at least one night in the uniquely styled rooms of the hotel.

Built inside the old Boblingen Airport, the V8 Hotel has 34 rooms, each with its own unique interior, including one three level suite, set up in the old airport tower. The four star establishment uses antique accessories and original car parts as decorations for its rooms, and the car beds are made from classic cars like old Cadillacs, Mercedes or Moris Minor.

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Now This Is Real Advertising

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A bike shop owner in Germany attached over 100 bicycles to his shop’s façade in order to draw attention to his business.

Alreadythe owner of  one of the most popular bike shops in Atlantsberg, north-east Berlin, offering over 1,000 bicycle models from both children and adults, Christian Petersen came up with an original advertising idea to get even more exposure. Somehow, he managed to get 120 bicycles attached to the front of the shop. Now, bike lovers can spot his business from a mile away.

It’s a good thing this bike shop is in Germany, if someone did something like this in my country, those bikes would probably get stolen in one night.

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The Soon to Be World’s Longest Bench of Littlehampton

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With a capacity to seat up to 300 people, the bench of Littlehampton Beach is already the longest bench in Britain, but is preparing to snatch the title of longest bench in the world.

Designed by the guys at Studio Weave, the 324-meter-long bench of Littlehampton is definitely a sight to behold. It was made from tropical hardwood, salvaged from landfills and old seaside groynes, thus making it a monument to modern recycling.

Built along the promenade, the unique bench twists and turns, bends around trash bins, meanders around lampposts, and even goes into the ground to allow easy passage between Littlehampton’s Blue Flag Beach and the green that surrounds it.

The project may have been executed by the designers of Studio Weave, but it was initiated by locals and entrepreneurs of Littlehampton, who wanted something special for ther beloved venue. Students from a local school provided valuable insight about what makes Littlehampton Beach unique, and offered ideas about the color pallet used on the bench.

With its one-of-a-kind design and color scheme, the Littlehampton bench is already a famous British landmark, but the residents of the seaside resort have their sight set on a place in the record books. They are preparing to extend Littlehampton bench to 621 meters, and make it the longest bench in the world.

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The Intricate Paperworks of Simon Schubert

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By carefully folding simple pieces of paper, German artist Simon Schubert creates amazing 2D masterpieces.

Cologne-based Simon Schubert creates two-dimensional architectural sceneries by simply folding paper sheets, and without any pen or pencil. His artworks are definitely colored enough without drawing instruments. While subtle, his folded paper artworks invite you to appreciate the level of craftsmanship that went into making them.

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God-grilla – The World’s Biggest BBQ

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Measuring 16 feet across and weighing a whopping two tonnes, the God-grilla claims the title of world’s largest barbecue. It would probably get the title of all around largest BBQ, if it weren’t for the Big Taste Grill, a giant truck converted into a traveling barbecue. More on this amazing contraption, soon, for now let’s discover God-grilla.

God-grilla was designed by 31-year-old Jack Henriques, owner of the Bespoke BBQ Company. It is fitted with hinged pannels that allow easy access to add more logs, and has seven separate coal trays that allow you to cook up to seven whole lambs, at once. You can also use the God-grilla to grill 1,000 sausages or 500 hamburgers.

But, as you would expect, using a cooking monster like the God-grilla comes at a high cost. You need 14 bags of coal to get this beast started, so you better make sure your frinds pitch in at the next barbecue party.

Jack Henriques spent three months and over $15.000 to create God-grilla, and says he’s already working on an even more impressive cooking machine.

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