Upcycled Action Figures Made by a Soldier in Afghanistan

This wonderful collection of junk action figures was put together by Private First Class Rupert Valero, who is stationed at a forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A former oil rig engineer, Valero has been collecting and customizing action figures for years, but ever since he was sent to Afghanistan, he had to create his own action figures from recycled materials like bottle caps, soda cans and fabric. The artists/soldier says he has the mind of an engineer and never stops thinking about building things, whether they be robots, buildings, or anything else for that matter. It’s just his way of staying sane in a dangerous place like Afghanistan.

Because toys are universal, people react to them the same whether they are in the middle of the desert or in America, and Private Valero says they have allowed him to interact with the locals. By giving a child one of his upcycled action figures he puts a smile on his face and maybe takes his mind off doing something that he shouldn’t do.

You can buy Rupert’s upcycled action figures at reasonable prices, on his Etsy shop, and you can find an extended interview with him, here.

 

Read More »

Newspaper Delivery Man Shows Off His Military Vehicle Fleet

44-year-old Shaun Mitchell, from West Lynn, Norfolk is a newspaper delivery man with an unusual passion for military vehicles. He likes them so much he put together a regular fleet of tanks, anti aircraft guns, jeeps and other vehicles, right in his backyard.

Shaun became obsessed with military vehicles when he was 18 years old, and he remembers the first one he saved money for was a World War 2 Austin Champ army jeep. Since then, this self-taught mechanic has bought and restored an impressive collection of vehicles that includes tanks, tankettes and anti-aircraft guns. He stores most of them in his back garden and when the weather allows it, he drives them through his local village.

”I get a thrill from working on something that’s totally different and the adrenalin pumps when you drive them out onto the road. It’s the smell and the whole atmosphere, people look at you and wave, everyone is interested in the vehicle.” Shaun says about his passion, but while his friends and family approve of his unusual hobby, because they get to ride around in his military vehicles, he admits it has affected his love life in a negative way. Because of his obsession with military vehicles, he had to end a 12 year relationship and is now looking for a girl who actually likes tanks as much as he does.

Shaun’s impressive collection of military vehicles includes an 8.1 tonne street-legal Sabre tank that reaches 50 mph, a WWII 1945 GMS Bolster Truck, a Polsten 20 mm anti-aircraft gun, a 1929 Carden-loyd machine-gun carrier, a Self-Propelled Abbot fighting vehicle and two Ferret Scout cars. Asked about how much they’re all worth, the collector said the Sabre alone is worth around $32,000.

”I don’t drink or smoke, I have no bad habits apart from the compulsion to buy military vehicles.” claims Shaun, who works as a newspaper delivery man, but spends two days a week restoring other military vehicles for a local tractor dealership.

Read More »

The Tree of Life – A Mysterious Natural Phenomenon

Standing alone in the heart of the desert, miles away from any water source and other vegetation , the Tree of Life, in Bahrain, is one of the world’s most remarkable phenomena.

The Tree of Life is located 2 kilometers away from Jebel Dukhan, atop a 25-meter-high sandy hill, overlooking a golden sea of sand. The mystery of its survival in such harsh conditions has made it a legend among the people of Bahrain, and has attracted people from all around the world curious to see it first hand. The 400-year-old natural wonder has baffled biologists and scientists for years, and even though they’ve come up with several theories, it remains an enigma. Seeing this is a mesquite tree, some say its roots spread very deep and wide, reaching unknown sources of water, but no one has been able to prove it.

Locals have their own explanations when it comes to the secret of the Tree of Life, but theirs have little to do with science. Many of them believe this is the actual location of the Garden of Eden, while Bedouins are convinced the tree has been blessed by Enki, the mythical God of water. Whatever the explanation, it’s amazing how Sharajat-al-Hayat, as the Arabs call it, has kept growing continuously for around 4 centuries.

While the Tree of Life is one of the most famous attractions of Bahrain, visitors are instructed to double check their gear and make sure their car doesn’t get stuck in the sand, as we are talking about the middle of a desert.

Read More »

Arthrobots – Steampunk Insects by Tom Hardwidge

Using nuts and bolts to connect various bits of metal, English artist Tom Hardwidge creates beautiful steampunk insects he calls Arthrobots.

They may look like metal toys, but Tom’s arthrobots are actually intricate steampunk sculptures inspired by real insects and built from various recycled metallic parts. The Manchester-based artist starts by drawing up a series of sketches, then starts looking for parts on sites like eBay, and local small shops. The assembling happens on the dinning-room table, to make sure no actual dinning takes place there.

In case you’re wondering what arthrobots are made of, Tom says most of them start off as pieces of deactivated ammunition, that are later covered with sheets of copper, brass or aluminum. Limbs, wings and antennae  are then attached, and no respectable steampunk creation would be complete without some old pocket watch gears and springs.

Arthrobots come in a cool-looking wooden box, together with a small leaflet which includes a series of details like the sculpture’s name, the phylum, order and class it belongs to and some of the early sketches. If you’re a fan of steampunk, head over to the arthrobots official site, for more details.

Read More »

Wayne Kusy and His Impressive Toothpick Fleet

Chicago-based artist Wayne Kusy uses thousands of ordinary toothpicks and gallons of glue to create impressive-looking models of famous sea vessels.

50-year-old Kusy remembers he built his first toothpick model when he was just a child in the fifth grade. It was an Indian tepee and it got him a B+ in class, but toothpicks were to play a much bigger part in his life. He moved on to build a house out pf toothpicks, then a year later he started working on a ship that didn’t come out perfectly, but wasn’t far off the mark either, so he decided to build another one. And, before he knew it, he was pretty much obsessed with toothpicks.

Wayne Kusy’s amazing toothpick fleet began to take shape when he bought a plastic Revell model of the Titanic, studied the blueprints and deck plans, and spent the next three years recreating it with 75,000 flat and square toothpicks. It was impressive to look at, but it was so big that his small Chicago apartment could barely accommodate it, and there was no way to move it out without hitting the corners of his home and damaging the ship. The Titanic lost a lot of toothpicks on its maiden voyage out of Wayne’s apartment, but it taught the artist a valuable lesson – from there on he designed his ships so they could be reassembled from multiple segments.

Read More »

Shopping Mall Creates Perfect Place for a Romantic Dinner – A Room Made of Chocolate

A shopping mall in Vilnius, Lithuania, decided to surprise its shoppers on Valentine’s Day by offering them a unique visual treat – a room made entirely of dark and white chocolate.

“We wanted to create something special for Valentine’s Day. The chocolate room looks just like a traditional Lithuanian sitting-room,” Frederikas Jansonas, spokesman for the Akropolis shopping mall, said about the 17-square-meter space from floor to ceiling, and adorned with chocolate furniture and interior decorations, such as edible candlesticks, books, flowers and paintings.

A team of seven Lithuanian food artists used 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of chocolate to create this one-of-akind chocolate room, which sculptor Mindaugas Tendziagolskis says is “the best place for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner”. What’s for dinner, you ask? Well, just look around and I’m sure the answer will come to you naturally.

But visitors will have to wait a little longer to have a taste of the chocolate room, as it will remain on display through March 8th – International Women’s Day – when it will be broken into pieces and distributed to visitors.

Read More »

The Crocheted Portraits of Jo Hamilton

Portland-based artist Jo Hamilton has a house full of balls of yarn,which she uses to create amazing crocheted portraits and landscapes.

Jo remembers she was only six when her grandmother taught her to to crochet, but it wasn’t until ten years later that she really dedicated herself to the old craft and started crocheting in a crafty way. She attended the Glasgow School of Art, where she experimented with both painting and drawing, but she felt that she needed an original medium to help her express her talent.

She was inspired to use crocheting as an art form after seeing an exhibition at the Portland Craft Museum that inspired artists to use techniques that are originally considered to be art. Happy that she had finally found a means of expression that she was comfortable with, Jo immediately started crocheting a cityscape made of six blocks, named “I Crochet Portland”. She now spends anywhere from forty five hours on a portrait, up to three years on one of her cityscapes, but the most important thing  is she never gets bored of crocheting.

The portraits Jo creates are incredibly detailed, and many people have speculated about the techniques and stitches she uses, but the artist claims her pieces come alive from the inside – it’s an organic process that implies no graphs, plans or charts. Of course, this means she doesn’t know the exact outcome of her effort, but Ms. Hamilton says she has learned to trust her way of working.

Read More »

Aokigahara Forest – The Suicide Woods of Mount Fuji

Referred to as “the perfect place to die” in Wataru Tsurumui’s bestselling book – The Complete Manual of Suicide – Aokigahara is a thick, dark forest located at the base of Mount Fuji, famous as a popular suicide spot.

No one knows exactly how many bodies go undiscovered among the trees of Aokigahara forest, but the ones uncovered so far have already earned this place an eerie reputation. In 2002 alone, 78 bodies were located in Aokigahara, and by 2006, another 16 suicides were reported. Some of the victims even carried copies of Tsurumui’s book with them, which makes this even creepier. The whole place is dotted with signs that read “please reconsider!” or “please consult the police before you decide to die!” but these have little power on those determined to die here.

“We’ve got everything here that points to us being a death spot. Perhaps we should just promote ourselves as ‘Suicide City’ and encourage people to come here,” says the mayor of Aokigahara exasperated by the high number of suicides registered in the area. Locals claim they can always tell who is going into the forest to admire its natural beauty, and who isn’t planning on ever coming back. They say part of the reason people decide to commit suicide in Aokigahara forest is because they want to die at the foot of the sacred Mt. Fuji and because it’s so dense and thick that sounds from just a few kilometers inside can’t be heard outside the woods.

Read More »

Pixelated Self-Portrait Is Made from Over 10,000 Nails and Screws

Inspired by the work of mosaic art masters like Saimir Strati, artist Shannon Larratt has created a unique self-portrait from thousands of different nails and screws.

Shannon used a four foot sheet of heavy 3/4″ plywood as canvas and six different kinds of nails and screws space roughly 5/16″ apart. He estimates there are around 20,000 pixels in his project, and over 10,000 nails. The whole thing weighs around two hundred pounds, and the artist plans to hoist it up from an I-beam, in his studio.

The first thing Shannon did was take a photo of himself, which he then manipulated in Photoshop, so the colors would match the general range of the nails, and then converted it into an indexed color image using a custom palette that matched his nail set. He stacked up all these conversions as layers, and then started the manual labour, occasionally changing or shifting the nails slightly, to improve translation.

The result of his work is just incredible, although the artist says he has learned a lot from this project and he will do a lot better next time. But, because the process of creating one of these pixelated portraits is so time-consuming, Larrat doesn’t know exactly when he will start work on another one.

Read More »

Artist Builds One-of-a-Kind Imperfect Boats from Discarded Materials

John Taylor is a self-taught artists who uses scrap wood, computer parts, hockey sticks and various other discarded materials to create unique replicas of famous sea vessels.

John has been fascinated with ships ever since he saw a photo of his great-grandfather standing on the deck of a vessel, during the Spanish-American War. He was only a child, but the obsession stuck with him throughout the years, and, as an adult, he began creating these unique models of ships he saw in old photos. Working from his garage in San Juan Capistrano, he turns buckets of junk (computers chips, nails, copper wire, lawn chairs, drift wood, staples and more) into imperfect interpretations of old sea vessels.

A landscape architect by trade, John Taylor will use any materials he can find that will give him the old, tattered results he aims for. “If it’s an exact replica, there’s no room for you to really wonder about it,” he says, trying to explain why he creates models that look like they’ve been fished from the bottom of the ocean, instead of making perfect replicas of the ships that inspire him.

The 3 to 5 feet long models are based on real boats, from Civil War river boats to World War II battle ships, John finds in old photographs.They are an authentic rendition of memory, rather than accurate historical replicas.

 

Read More »

Controversial Rent-a-Girlfriend Website Proves Big Hit in France

Spoil yourself, rent a girlfriend! This is the line French site Loueunepetiteamie.com uses to convince male visitors to legally rent a female friend, for an hour, an evening, a night or for a weekend.

Tired of being alone? Are you looking for a female companion who can spoil you and make you feel relaxed? Have you tried a bunch of dating sites that left you disappointed? Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away – Loue Une Petite Amie, which translates as “rent a girlfriend” actually allows guys to rent female companions, legally! The French website assures its clients they have nothing to fear from the law, because this isn’t actually prostitution, but a simple case of renting a person…which apparently isn’t illegal in France.

According to the controversial website, men using Loue Une Petite Amie can find the most beautiful women, invite them to dinner, a song…a nice evening…and more, for anywhere between 20 euros and 540 euros. The site is apparently addressed to all kinds of men, from bachelors who need a break from social pressure regarding their status, married men who are bored of the routine of their private lives, and even people who dislike their sons’ girlfriends and want to find them someone more suitable.

Read More »

Andrew Myers – An Artist Who Literally Screws His Artworks

Laguna Beach based Andrew Myers is the only artist in the world who uses screws as the main medium to create three-dimensional artworks. Simply put – he screws art.

The young artist didn’t always work with screws, the idea just came to him one day, while working on a church’s bronze relief depicting the life of Saint Catherine. And, like most artists, once he got it into his head to work with a certain medium, he just had to find out if he could actually make it happen. It sounds like a screwy concept, but it turned out to be brilliant.

Unlike other artists who create similar art, Myers doesn’t rely on a computer to pixelate his works, he just makes a grid and drills in screws at certain key points (like the tip of the nose) to establish the depth of the artwork. “For me, I consider this a traditional sculpture and all my screws are at different depths. There’s nothing planned out. I draw out a figure on the board and figure out the depths,” the artist says. The screw holes have to be drilled beforehand, to make sure the screws go in straight, and the background of the portrait is made up of phone book pages, usually with listings from the area of the subject.

Read More »

Three-Penis Liquor – The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift from China

It comes in an unremarkable-looking bottle, but the “Tezhi Sanbian Jiu” rice wine is a Valentine’s Day gift your loved one will always remember, especially after you tell them it translates as “Three-Penis Liquor“.

I know what you’re thinking, many drinks have strange names like this to attract attention of customers, but in this case, the label is very accurate – this particular rice wine has various types of animal penis brewed in it to grant vitality to the drinker. The label on the back of the bottle says it contains seal penis, deer penis and Cantonese dog penis, all of them popular ingredients in Chinese traditional medicine, said to increase male potency and virility.

So if you’re looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift for your partner, look no further than Three-Penis Liquor; it’s cheap and it’s something they won’t soon forget. You can pick-up a bottle at supermarkets around Shanghai, just remember to make them have a sip before you reveal the secret ingredients.

Read More »

Cycle Ball – When Cycling Met Football

Cycle Ball is a niche sport that combines football and cycling in a unique way. It’s been around for over a century, but it’s still regarded as an unusual sport, especially in America.

Also known as “radball”, Cycle Ball was invented in 1893, by a German-American named Nicholas Edward Kaufmann, and steadily gained popularity around Europe. The first Cycle Ball championship was held in 1929, and the sport even reached far lands like Japan, but it never really caught on in the US. You’d think Yanks don’t fancy weird sports played on a bike, but how do you explain the increasing popularity of Bike Polo, or Unicycle Basketball?

Cycle Ball is played by two teams made up of two players riding around a basketball field and trying to shoot a ball through their opponents’ goal, using their heads, or the front wheels of the bikes. It may sound strange, but it’s a pretty simple and fun game to play. A match consists of two seven-minute halves, in which players must keep their feet off the ground to avoid a free-kick, and try to score more goals than their adversaries. While defending the goal, one of the players is allowed to use hands, but you’d be surprised how hard the ball is usually struck in one of these games, so using hands doesn’t help much if the ball is well directed.

Read More »

Feast on a Bloody Human Heart on Valentine’s Day

If you were looking to really hand your heart out on a silver platter for Valentine’s Day, Miss Cakehead has just what you need to make it happen.

Miss Cakehead, the mastermind behind the gruesome “Eat Your Heart Out” cake shop, has teamed up with The London Dungeon to offer lovers a real treat, on valentine’s Day. You can forget about red roses and heart-shaped gifts; if you’re visiting London’s most popular scary attraction, you and your loved one will be given heart ventricle cupcakes to feast on while enjoying the Blood & Guts exhibition.If you’re into sweets and gore, this is great news. Just imagine feasting on these delicious-looking desserts and watching a butcher surgeon perform bloody surgery in graphic detail. Now that’s what I’d call a memorable experience.

So if you’re up for a hearty meal, visit The London Dungeon on February 14 for a chance to eat your heart out, literally.

Read More »

Page 196 of 334« First...102030...194195196197198...210220230...Last »