Street Artist Hailed as China’s Chalk God

Mr. Hou is an average Joe who recently became popular thanks to a few photos of his chalk art being posted on Chinese forums.

The first photos of Mr. Hou’s 3D chalk art first appeared late last month, and Chinese netizens quickly gave him the nick name “Chalk God” and compared him to the architects from the sci-fi blockbuster Inception, for his ability to create unbelievably realistic-looking landscapes.

Because his works first appeared on a Chinese forum, his identity had to be dug-up by the media, and everyone was surprised to discover the talented chalk artist was just an average citizen who exercised his talents for the fun of his little boy. The humble Mr. Hou said he doesn’t believe his artwork are that impressive, but actually the ideas behind them.

Check out a video of Mr. Hou in action, at the bottom.

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An Art Eggcident in Leeuwarden

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if giant eggs started falling from the sky, right in the middle of your city? Of course you haven’t, but Hank Hofstra has and he decided to show the whole world.

Dutch artist Hank Hofstra was tired of looking at boring old Zaailand, the main square of Leeuwarden and one of the largest in the Netherlands, and decided to do something about it. There had been lots of topics on making the landmark more appealing, but nothing had really been done about it. Remembering an old Dutch saying, “To lay down the first egg, you have to start with the first egg”, Hofstra decided to lay the first eight giant eggs, himself.

After meeting with local authorities and companies involved in the Art Eggcident, the artist and his team spent two days spray-painting the eggs, each one around 100 meters in diameter. As you can expect, the giant sunny-side-up eggs immediately drew the attention of passers-by, but reactions were very different. Hours after the Eggcident’s completion, 80% of people who saw it said it was hideous, but now, weeks later, 80% of people say it’s brilliant. Shops around Zaailand Square definitely appreciate Hank’s work, since it bought in tons of tourists and boosted their sales.

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Quetzalcoatl Nest – Mexico’s Snake-Shaped House

Quetzalcoatl Nest is an unconventional housing complex created by Mexican designer Javier Senosiain, and named after the Aztec snake/bird god of learning and knowledge.

After designing the amazing Nautilus House a few years back, Javier Senosiain strikes again with an even more ingenious architectural project. Located on an irregular piece of land, lined with oak trees and full of caves, some collapsed and some preserved, Quetzalcoatl Nest proved very difficult to complete. Especially if you consider that the designer wasn’t allowed to touch any of the plant life on the premises (which covered 98% of the terrain), and that the small flat surface had to be used as parking space. Under these conditions, Senosiain found an ingenious way of actually making great use of the ravine and came up with a snake-like design for the house.

While it looks like just an eccentric architectural prototype, Quetzalcoatl Nest is actually somebody’s home. Featuring an original design and sporting some really interesting features that allow its owners to live in perfect harmony with nature, Quetzalcoatl Nest is an architectural example to be followed.

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Raisin Monday at St. Andrews University

Freshmen have always had it a little rough in college, but at the St. Andrews University, in Scotland, their plight at the hand of senior students has become a celebrated tradition called Raisin Monday.

The traditions of Raisin Monday date back to the early days of St. Andrews. New students (also known as “bejants” and “bejantines”) had to show their gratitude to seniors, for showing them the ropes around campus, and a pound of raising was considered an expensive and tasty enough sign of appreciation. With the passing of time, some freshmen started ignoring the custom, so senior students came up with of receipts written in Latin acknowledging the receipt of the pound of raisins. If one of the freshmen students didn’t have such a receipt, he would get doused in one of the local fountains. Another reason for a dousing was the challenge of the receipt, by a senior, for mistakes in written Latin.

Throughout the years since St. Andrews University opened its gates in 1410, the traditions of Raisin Monday have changed according to the times. Nowadays, new students have to buy seniors a bottle of wine as a token of gratitude, and the dousing in water fountains has been replaced by a general fight with shaving foam.

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The Ledger Paper Buildings of Jill Sylvia

Artist Jill Sylvia uses ledger paper sheets to create amazing replicas of famous buildings, like the US capitol or the White House. One thing is for sure, you don’t have to like accounting to fall in love with her art.

Usually used to compile accounting information, ledger sheets become a very original art medium, in the hands of Jill Sylvia. Using a drafting knife, she removes the spaces where numbers are supposed to be, by hand, leaving only the grid separating the boxes. She then uses the resulting lattice to create intricate artworks, including models of American structures. I’d say it’s a great way of reusing a now obsolete material to create timeless artworks.

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Chinese Stuntman Munches on Light Bulbs

Zhang Yujian, a Chinese stuntman from Mudanjiang City, Heilonjiang Province, has eaten two light bulbs during his performance, on Monday. XInhua reports the glass-eating master has a record of three light bulbs eaten in just 120 seconds. Now, I’m not sure if he eats the entire thing, but he certainly made short work of the sharp glass, without any serious cuts.

I knew the Chinese had some pretty bizarre foods, at least for my taste, but Zhang Yujian is taking things a little too far. I wonder if he’d be interested in meeting Russia’s sand-eating woman, I bet they’d hit it off.

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The All Saints Day Giant Kite Festival of Guatemala

Every November 1st, the people of Santiago Sacatepéquez , Guatemala celebrate the Day of the Dead by flying giant colorful kites, during the All Saints Day Kite Festival.

Known as “barilletas gigantes” in Spanish, the giant kites of Santiago Sacatepéquez are masterpieces that take great skill and patience to complete. Months before the Kite Festival, teams of people begin work on the colorful kites that will bring them great honor and the respect of their peers, on the big day. A giant kite is made of cloth and paper tied to a bamboo frame, and features a colorful design, usually with a religious or folkloric theme. In recent years, designs have been hinting at the ever-growing corruption of the Guatemala government.

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The Chewing Gum Portraits of Jason Kronenwald

Jason Kronenwald is an extraordinary artist who creates incredible celebrity portraits out of chewed pieces of bubblegum.

Gum Blondes” is a series of portraits of famous blondes, from Britney Spears to Madonna and even Hillary Clinton. Although I’m pretty sure he isn’t the first artist to do portraits of these stars, he is the first one to do it using only chewing gum. Jason Kronenwald executed his first chewing gum artwork in 1996, and over the years improved his technique to the point where you couldn’t guess the only medium is colored bubblegum. He recently opened a new exhibition of portraits, entitled “A Fresh Pack of Gum Blondes.”

While I’ll admit it’s hard to believe, Jason adds no dye to his chewing gum portraits. Colors and tones are obtained by simply chewing a variety of colored gum, regardless of their brand. He even has a team of chewers, so he doesn’t put any gum in his mouth, unless he absolutely has to. Each portrait is created on a plywood surface, which is then sealed with an epoxy resin that protects and preserves it for long periods of time.

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China Showcases the World’s Largest Luminous Pearl

A mystery to the western world, luminous pearls are legendary in China, and people go to great lengths for a chance to even touch one of them. The largest luminous pearl has just been placed on display, in China’s Hainan province.

Very little is known about the giant green pearls of China. The few who actually have heard of these remarkable jewels refer to them as “Yemengzhu” and praise them to be rarities that bring good luck. They have been a part of Chinese legends for centuries, and people there believe that just touching them can bring great fortune and prosperity. But this kind of myths are all to common in a traditional country like China, and what makes Yemengzhu special has little to do with local lore.

Luminous pearls are wonders of the mineral world that shine in the dark without the help of ultraviolet light. This kind of Fluorite is so rare that western geology don’t even recognize its existence, and the Chinese only discovered the first one in 1982, at a Tungsten mine, in Guangdong. Since then, bigger and bigger deposits were discovered, and the largest one yet weighs 6 tons and is 1.6 meters in diameter. When it was discovered, it had an irregular shape, but was ground in the form of a sphere. The process took three years to complete, because of its tough nature, comparable to the finest grade of diamonds.

The largest luminous pearl is currently exhibited in Wenchang, China’s Hainan province, and has been appraised at 2.2 billion yuan ($331 million).

 

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Japan’s Amazing Dekotora Trucks

Known as Dekotora, Decotora, or simply as Japanese art trucks, these incredible masterpieces on four wheels have become a symbol of Japan.

Dekotora is an abbreviation for “decoration truck”, and if you can say something about these trucks it’s that they are very decorated. That’s basically what defines the Dekotora art movement – adding as many decorations to your truck, as you possibly can, while keeping it operational. And making use of the ingenuity that defines the Japanese, they have been able to create some truly impressive rigs that blow your mind. Neon lights, flashy spoilers, manga and kabuki artworks are all part of a Dekotora artist’s arsenal, in his quest of creating the flashiest truck possible.

The Dekotora movement was born in 1975, when Toei released the first of its 10-movie series called “Trucker”, which featured a trucker who drove his overly-decorated truck all over Japan. The movie was a huge success, and people started tuning their own big rigs to resemble what they saw on screen. Dekotora truckers are very passionate about what they do, and money is no object when it comes to turning their vehicles into flashy masterpieces. They often form communities where they can show off their creations and interact with other art-truck enthusiasts. Most of them try to adorn the trucks with as many decorations as possible, while keeping them street legal, but there are those who go over the limit and create impressive Dekotora beasts that can only be admired in exhibitions.

There are three main Dekotora styles – Kansai, Kant and Retro, and starting with the late 1990s, the Gundam franchise has had a huge influence on the world of Dekotora. I guess the Japanese love robots and sci-fi,even when it comes to big flashy trucks.

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The Intricate Paper-Cut Maps of Karen O’leary

They may not be as helpful as conventional maps, when you need to find your way through a metropolis, but Karen O’leary’s hand-cut paper maps are simply stunning to look at.

Karen O’leary is definitely one of the most patient people on the planet. She spends most of her days cutting away at thick white watercolor sheets of paper, until she creates jaw-dropping replicas of conventional city maps. While you could easily mistake Karen’s hand-cut maps with laser-cut ones, the amount of time and patience she puts into every one of her works makes them unique masterpieces. For each one of her maps, the artist spends a great deal of time drawing it in detail, and only after begins the painstaking process of cutting.

If you’d like to own one of Karen O’leary’s intricate hand-cut paper maps, you can find a wide range of cities, from Madrid to Sydney, at her online Etsy shop. While the $1,100 price tag may seem a bit discouraging, judging by the amount of effort Karen puts into her art, you’ll find it’s a bargain.

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Khalid Nabi – Not Your Average Cemetery

The Khalid Nabi cemetery, in northern Iran has become a popular attraction for both locals and tourists, because of its strange tombstones shaped as male and female sexual organs.

Scientists say the bizarre cemetery is around 1,400 years old, and judging by the number of headstones, it’s the final resting place of at least 600 people, the most important of which is Khalid Nabi, a prophet born 40 years before Muhammad. You’d be inclined to be believe most people come to the cemetery as pilgrims to a prophet’s grave, but you couldn’t be more wrong; they actually come to see the penis and breast-shaped tombstones.

Nobody knows exactly what the 6-foot-tall columns shaped like phalluses and the smaller, cross like-headstones that resemble female breasts are meant to symbolize, but the mere fact that a wacky attraction like the Khalid Nabi cemetery gets this kind of attention, in a country like Iran, is weird enough. Some scientists say the weird tombstones could have been influenced by the phallic religion practiced in India and central Asia, but most of the visitors don’t even care, they just came here to see some funny penis-shaped rocks.

I’m just not sure who Iran is going to blame for this, but I’m sure they’ll somehow relate the phallus stones to some “capitalist pigs”.

 

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Real-Life Barbie Suite Is the Ultimate Girls’ Pad

If you’ve always wanted to be like Barbie and live in her pink dream-house, you’re about to get your wish. A hotel in the Italian Alps has opened a series of rooms decorated just like Barbie’s miniature pads.

The owners of the Grand Hotel Savoia, at the Cortina ski resort, thought they’d celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary by decorating some of their rooms with real-life furniture and decoration you’d normally only find in Matel’s play sets. That’s right girls, you’ll get the chance to live it up like Barbie for as long as you or your parents can afford it, surrounded by the popular dolls favorite clothes and accessories, including skirts, lace-up dresses, corsets, toy-like chairs and even a sunburst mirror made from Barbie dolls

Italian interior designer described the recently inaugurated Barbie rooms as “the ultimate girls’ pad with details celebrating Barbie’s love of pink.” Barbie fans can book their stay in one of these life-size Barbie homes until the end of next March.

Yesterday the news about a Hello Kitty theme park in Japan, now this…This just hasn’t been my week!

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Sharpie-Painted Car Looks Sharp

A Mazda Miata owner used a number of sharpies to give his favorite car some really cool-looking tattoos.

“Mighty” Mike Niemann of Team Miataka Racing spent 22 days and $100 in sharpies giving his 1992 Mazda Miata a radical new look. After carefully drawing the entire thing by hand, he added a clear coat so his impressive masterpiece doesn’t get ruined by the first falling rain drops.

Mike’s sharpie-painted Miata is definitely impressive, but it’s not the first sharpie-tattooed car. That probably goes to this gorgeous Lamborghini.

 

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Just What the World Needed – Hello Kitty Theme park Opens in Tokyo

As if the world didn’t have enough of their annoying icon, Hello Kitty, the Japanese thought they’d open a new theme park as well.

If you’re a regular visitor of Oddity Central, you probably already know I’m not the world’s biggest Hello Kitty fan. I’ve featured quite a few strange Hello Kitty stuff, from a pink assault rifle to a Hello Kitty-themed Ferrari. Now, it brings me great…honor to present to you Hello Kitty’s Kawaii Paradise, a Hello Kitty theme park that just opened in Tokyo.

I guess the Japanese didn’t want to look bad, after their Chinese neighbors built a Hello Kitty castle, and a nice new pink theme park was just the thing. Located on Odaiba Island, Hello Kitty Kawaii Paradise opened on October 22nd, and hopes to attract as many as 700,000 Hello Kitty fans in its first year. While the despicable icon has tons of fans in Japan’s capital, not many of them bothered to check out the theme park, probably because Odaiba is quite a long way from central Tokyo, and many of them don’t care to make the long trip. Let’s just hope the place stays empty and they’ll be forced to close it down soon, because unless you’re the Pink Lady, human eyesight just can’t handle all that pink.

In case you’re interested, the 10,000 square-foot park features a big Hello Kitty shop, where you can find all kinds of accessories, toys and other pink junk, a Hello Kitty pancake restaurant, a small theater, a big statue of Hello Kitty and a whole bunch of other pink, girly stuff fans go crazy about.

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