Self-Taught Artist Turns Beach Trash into Unique Works of Art

Mark Olivier, a self-taught artist from Berkeley, California, scours the beaches of East Bay looking for washed-up junk, which he then turns into beautiful sculptures.

For seven years, Olivier has gathered all kinds of trash from various East Bay beaches, but instead of throwing it all away, he decided to create one-of-a-kind artworks to display on his lawn. It all began one morning, when he was walking his dog Zsa Zsa at an old coastal landfill known as Albany Bulb. He was looking at all the huge amounts of trash on the beach and asking himself “why doesn’t someone clean this stuff up?’, when it suddenly hit him – why doesn’t he clean it up? he started out small, with just a few cigarette lighters and some pieces of plastic, but before long he had amassed an impressive collection of useless junk.

Although he has no training in art, and has spent most of his life working as a waiter, herbalist and now as a carpenter, Mark Olivier has found ingenious ways of turning detritus into something beautiful that’s stopping passers-by in their tracks. Some of his neighbors agreed to host his creations on their lawns when there was no more space for them on his, and say this work enhances the street. So far, Olivier has used umbrella handles, hats, worn-out shoes, lighters to create samurai, Buddha statues, Greek gods, and a whole lot of other interesting sculptures that have brought him local fame. His latest creation, a 5-foot-high blue poodle made from crabbing rope is the newest attraction on the self-taught artist’s lawn, but anyone can have it for $5,500. He has sold some of his older artworks, including one for $1,500.

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Artist Draws Portrait with His Own Hair

Human hair used as a medium has become rather common in the art world, and we’ve featured a few worthy examples on Oddity Central, but this man’s ability to manipulate his curls into a cool portrait is something I’ve never seen before.

Some artists use hair to make unique jewelry, others use it for clothes, but the artist you’re about to see cuts his own curls and uses them to draw a pretty good portrait of a woman. He starts out by giving himself a sloppy haircut with some scissors, than takes the hair and carefully shapes it into a portrait using only his hands and what appears to be a pencil, for the fine details. His work is somewhat similar to that of sand manipulating artists like Ksenyia Simonova so I’ve posted a video of one of her amazing performances, as well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out who the hair drawing artist yet, let me know if you know anything about hm or his hairy art.

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Indian Optometrist Creates Gold Plated, Diamond Encrusted Contact Lenses

Inspired by the jewels in his wife’s teeth, Chandrashekhar Chawan, an optometrist at India’s Shekhar Eye Research Center has created gold plated, diamond encrusted contact lenses that will bring that special twinkle in your eyes.

If you’re looking for the most extravagant trend in eyewear, look no further than the over-the-top contact lenses of Chandrashekhar Chawan. His wife had diamonds planted on her teeth recently and that made the optometrist realize people love jewelry everywhere and anywhere, so he decided to develop a series of diamond encrusted, gold plated contact lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses to hold the jewelry in such a way that it doesn’t touch the cornea, thus making the fashion accessory “very safe”.

Chawan says his invention got mixed responses; some people thought it was scary, but most of them loved it, and the optometrist believes this will be the next big thing in Bollywood. He admits his jewel-studded lenses are an accessory, not a necessity, but thinks they’re a must-have for people who want to attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.”

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Banana Oxidation Art Is Just Bananas

Australian artist Jun Gil Park has found a way of turning regular bananas into awe-inspiring works of art by drawing on them with a toothpick.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing banana artworks since I started Oddity Central, like the banana wall, or Jacob Dahlstrub’s banana boats, but Jun Gil Park’s oxidation art just makes me go bananas. Using a simple toothpick he scratches the designs into the banana, and the harder he presses/scratches, the darker the bruised part gets. It usually takes about five minutes for the oxidation to start showing, and after a day or two it gets really dark.

You’re probably wondering how Jun Gil Park came up with this simple-yet-impressive technique of turning bananas into organic works of art. It was pretty simple actually- he was just sitting at the table one day, talking to his family, holding a toothpick in his mouth, when he noticed a banana in front of him. He began scribbling on it as they talked and noticed what was happening to the banana. That’s when he decided he should try something more detailed next time.

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Safety Shorts – Radiation-Proof Underwear for Mobile Phone Users

Safety Shorts is a line of radiation-proof underwear developed by a team of young Austrian students, aged 18 to 23, that’s supposed to protect people from infertility and other medical problems caused by radiation from mobile phones and laptops.

Carry your phone in your pants’ pocket a lot? Than you’re already at risk, at least according to a series of tests that have proven cell phone radiation can be harmful. Luckily, a pair of Safety Shorts is all you need to be safe from serious and irreversible health issues like infertility and impotence. The material used to make these special garments contains silver thread which deflects 99% of the radiation emitted by mobile phones and laptops.

Rico Kogleck, one of the students involved in the project, says he came up with the idea one day, in class, when they were talking about radiation and its harmful effects. He started thinking about ways in which we could protect ourselves and came up with these radiation-proof shorts. He and four of his pals spent a year working on Safety Shorts, and even though they were disappointed a similar fabric had already been implemented in Germany, no one had used it to make boxers.

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Artist Makes Detailed Architectural Models from Paper

US-based artist Christina Lihan uses her experience as an architect to create detailed models of famous buildings and urban spaces, from paper.

Ms. Lihan received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and went on to get her Master’s in architecture, from Columbia University, in New York. She done internships in England, France and Italy, but it was the repetitive, monotonous rhythm of hundreds of soviet-built housing cities she saw in Czechoslovakia that most influenced the way she looked at building facades. After completing her studies, she decided to use all of the acquired knowledge in the name of art, by creating impressive architectural models from paper.

Christina Lihan first decided to dedicate her life to art during the time she spent living in Florida, designing hospitals for another architect. She was really bored, and realized she needed a creative outlet so she just started cutting paper, playing with it and trying to turn it into building models. It sort of grew from there and ultimately became her passion. Her impressive creations are made from unpainted, 300lb, watercolor paper. She carves, cuts and folds every little piece by hand until she assembles them into a completed composition. Ms. Lihan starts by photographing the site she wants to replicate, then moves on to sketching with charcoal, and finally enlarges the drawing to the desired size of the finished piece. She generally places the detailed pieces of paper directly over the drawing.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #4

10 Creepiest Abandoned Morgues on Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Couch Surfing, Literally (Metro)

Geeks Change Names for Super-Long Superhero Names (Anorak)

The Severed Child’s Hand iPhone Case (Geekosystem)

Shotgun with a Chainsaw Handle (Neatorama)

Alfie, the Mustache-Wearing Horse (Daily Mail)

Wannabe Superheroes Guard English Town (SWNS)

Mayor Drives Armored Vehicle over Illegally Parked Car (Newslite)

10 Beautiful Chinese Women Executed over the Past 30 Years (China Smack)

EVOL’s Hidden Cities (Dudecraft)

Talented Japanese Chef Makes Edible Star Wars Art

Okistugu Kado, a sushi bar owner from Osaka, Japan, creates detailed vegetable sculptures, inspired by movies like Star Wars.

Okitsugu, Oki to his friends, decided to combine his passion for cooking with a talent for carving and the result is nothing less than impressive. The talented chef spends countless hours carving all kinds of fruits and vegetables and putting them together with bamboo skewers and toothpicks to create popular Star-Wars characters. Why Star Wars? Well, he admits he’s always been a big fan of the franchise and he’s even part of a Japanese group that calls itself the Jedi Order.

39-year-old Oki has been carving vegetables for the last 15 years, and he has a background in ice-sculpting, as well. So far he’s created dozens of vegetable sculptures, and even though some take him over 10 hours to complete, he claims that doesn’t bother him because when he’s carving he forgets about time. Darth Vader, Yoda, R2D2 are just some of the famous Star Wars heroes he’s carved and served to his guests, over the years. If you fancy a taste of Star Wars veggies, head over to Okitsugu Kado’s Minayoshy restaurant, in Osaka. In the meantime check out more of his work here.

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Run For Your Lives – A Zombie-Infested Obstacle Race

If you’re a big fan of zombie movies and video games, and always wanted to experience a zombie apocalypse in real life, this is your big chance. Run For Your Lives is a unique 5k obstacle course race where contenders have to get passed man-made and natural obstacles while chased by brain-eating zombies.

This sounds like one of my biggest nightmares, and after seeing the presentation video, I’m definitely not signing up. But then again, I’m too scared to even participate in one of those harmless zombie parades, so…But anyway, back to the race. Unlike in a regular running competition, you’re not just running against the clock, but also against an army of bloody, virus infested zombies that want to kill you. Don’t worry though, they’re not really going to kill anyone, just steal all their flags, which represent life points. At the beginning of the race, runners will be equipped with a flag belt, representing their health. If they lose all their flags during the race, they “die” and the zombies win. Runners will still be able to complete the race if they so desire, but they will not be eligible for awards.

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Chinese Man Builds 600,000-Cigarette-Pack Fort

Wang Guanyi, a 46-year-old cigarette pack collector from Longnan, China, has recently built a fort model using 600,000 empty cigarette packs.

Wang is a famous person in his home city because he usually greets everyone with “hello, do you smoke? do you have cigarette packs?” He says he has been fascinated with cigarette packs ever since he was a little boy, and collected his first one off the street, when he was just seven years old. He was first attracted by the bright colors and nice images on the packs, and kept collecting them until he reached an impressive 600,000. As you can imagine, every corner of his house was filled with them, but just when he was running out of space, he saw a TV show about a man who had built a house out of wine bottles, and was inspired to do the same thing with his cigarette pack collection.

It took him about a month to finish his 30-foot fort-like building made with 600,000 colorful cigarette packs. It was 6.06m long, 4.68m wide and 1.68m wide, and won Wang Guanyi a certificate from the China Record Office for the world’s largest cigarette pack structure. Unfortunately, he had built his unique fort on rented space, and since the costs were apparently too high for him to handle, he was forced to tear it down as soon as his record was acknowledged.

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Chinese Craftsman Builds Functional Bicycle from over 10,000 Popsicle Sticks

A craftsman from Kaiyuan, northeast China, has created a rideable bicycle using more than 10,000 wooden popsicle sticks.

It took him four long months to finish it, but 35-year-old Sun Chao doesn’t regret one second of the time he put into the world’s first popsicle stick bicycle. At 1.5m long, 0.55m wide, 0.95m high and 25 kg heavy, it’s smaller than the average bicycle, but works just as well. Sure, those wooden wheels don’t provide the comfort of air-inflated ones, but Sun Chao rode it for 20 minutes, when he unveiled it in the city square, on June 1, and he didn’t complain. It’s worth noting he is 90 kg heavy, but the popsicle stick bike easily handled the weight. The only metal parts used on this unusual bicycle were the chain and bearings.

Sun Chao says he first became interested in working with wooden popsicle sticks 12 years ago, after seeing a guy make a ship model from them and giving it to his girlfriend, on TV. He was so inspired he started making a small desk lamp from popsicle sticks. Since then he’s made all kinds of stuff from them, including photo frames, building models, tissue boxes, but nothing nearly as impressive as this working bicycle. Just in case you were wondering, he didn’t actually buy 10,000 ice-creams, only the sticks.

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Beautiful Halftone Photos Drilled in Plywood

A 21-year-old Finish modder, who goes by the name Metalfusion, has developed an ingenious method of creating CNC routed halftone images on pieces of plywood.

Similar to printing newspaper images using dots of ink, the process thought up by Metalfusion consists of using a v-bit router bit to drill different size holes by plunging it at different depths. He has also created a special software that allows him to convert normal images into files that are ready to be cut on a CNC machine. Although the end result id definitely impressive, the drilling process takes over an hour, since each image requires thousands of individual dots.

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Zoo Owner to Spend Five Weeks Caged with Lions

Alexander Pylyshenko, 40, owner of his own private zoo, in the Ukrainian city of Vasylivka, will be spending 35 days caged with two lions, in a stunt he hopes will raise awareness to the poor treatment of lions held in captivity.

The brave zoo owner says he will live like a lion from the moment he enters the cage. That means he will sleep on hay on the floor and eat from the meat that will be given to the lions through the cage bars. As for personal hygiene, Pylyshenko has built a toilet and shower inside the enclosure, but he’ll have to restrain from using shampoo, shower gel or deodorant, as big cats hate sharp odours. While lioness Katya and her mate Samson seem to get along just fine with their caretaker, things might not be as peaceful when they share a living space 24/7, especially since the female is expected to give birth during the five week period, and lionesses are known to be quite over-protective of their cubs.

But Alexander Pylyshenko, who has studied lions his entire life, is confident he will survive this dangerous test, and draw attention to the problems of big cats in captivity. He also plans to paint portraits of the lions while living with them, and sell them to raise money for charity. His 35-day experience living with two lions will be recorded via four webcams, which will broadcast it on the Internet, here.

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French Town Inaugurates Bubble Hotel Rooms in Local Park

The French town of Roubaix, has recently opened a series of portable hotel rooms in a local park. They can be rented by people who want to feel close to nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

The bubble concept thought up by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas aims to redefine the term temporary leisure accommodation, and is based on the following principles: minimum energy, minimum material, maximum comfort and maximum interaction with the environment. The unusual bubble rooms were launched in 2010 and have since then been made available to people who want to enjoy a unique experience in the middle of nature, for around $700 a night.

In the French city of Roubaix, a series of bubble hotel rooms have been installed in one of the local parks. They come with a clear view of the sky and offer nature lovers to be close to their environment without having to travel to far away. The bubbles are made of recycled plastic and, once inflated retain their shape thanks to an airlock at the entrance and a silent pump which creates constant pressure. Outside noises are reduced to a minimum while inside noises are maximized, so the visitors are encouraged to whisper to each other, in order to create a peaceful atmosphere.

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Intricate Paper Carpet Drawn Only with Bic Pencils

Paris-based artist Jonathan Brechignac has created an awe-inspiring Muslim prayer carpet made of paper and drawn only with black Bic pens.

”I never really knew what I wanted from the beginning. Finding inspiration and learning through trials was key to the project,” Jonathan says about his amazing project. Made to fit the size of an actual Muslim prayer carpet, his intricate masterpiece draws inspiration from different types of art, including French roman, traditional Japanese, native American and Mexican, as well as camouflage elements and animal patterns. It’s a truly wonderful artistic achievement, but creator Jonathan Brechignac describes is as a fight with himself, inch by inch. Before even starting on it he spent long periods of time thinking and planning, followed by trials to find the perfect patterns.

Work on this detailed paper rug was done only in Jonathan’s spare time and took a total of 15 months, which really isn’t very much, considering the Muslim carpet masters of old spent a decade, even a lifetime working on a single piece. What is most remarkable about Brechignac’s carpet is the fact that all the intricate details have been done only with black Bic pencils. Looking at the patterns you probably think he went through dozens of pencils, but so far he really only needed two of them.

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