Artist Creates World’s Largest Lite-Brite Image

Rob Surette wanted to create something unlike any artist’s tribute to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, so he turned to one of his favorite childhood toys, Lite-Brite pegs, and managed to create the world’s largest Lite-Brite image.

Known for his quick brush strokes, the self described “fastest portrait artist in the world” once painted a portrait of Albert Einstein in just 60 seconds, but while his lighting speed hasn’t won him a place in the record books, his latest artwork, made from hundreds of thousands of Lite-Brite pegs, surely will. “It wasn’t like I wanted to beat that world record, I wanted to create something to add to the healing of Sept. 11,” Surette says about his 10 feet by 20 feet Lite-Brite creation entitled World Peace. Made from 504,000 pegs, and weighing around 1,750 pounds, it depicts 100 faces of different races, cultures and religions and is meant to promote world peace.

“I felt that with my inspiration, to have it be a world record will help catch more people’s attention and help it travel and be seen around the world,” Surette said about his work. He first got the idea of creating the largest Lite-Brite image after seeing a picture of the current record holder on an art blog. It was the Lite-Brite recreation of a training sneaker made by Lori Kanary, with 374,004 pegs. As a matter of fact Kanary actually shared some trade secrets with Rob Surette after hearing the motivation behind his work of art, and he apologized for breaking her world record.

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Woman Pays $10,000 for Non-Visible Artwork

The Museum on Non-Visible Art, or MONA, houses a variety of non-visible works of art that can only be admired by reading the artist’s description. Sounds weird, but believe it or not, someone actually paid $10,000 for one of these ‘masterpieces’.

I have to admit I’ve always wondered why some people spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on abstract art pieces that look like the work of someone who has nothing in common with art. But then again, I’m not very art-inclined. Anyway that doesn’t seem so strange to me anymore, not since I read this article about a woman who paid $10,000 for an artwork she can’t even see. “Fresh Air” was just one of the works exhibited at the Museum of Non-Visible Art, a strange project supported by actor James Franco that tries to take conceptual art to a whole new level. There is an official website and even an explanatory video, but basically this museum hosts works of art that don’t exit in the physical world, instead they are imagined by the artist.

So when someone buys one of these unusual creations all they get is a card with a description of the artwork made by the author and a letter of authenticity. You can place the card on a blank wall in your house or an art gallery and describe it to visitors, so they may enjoy it as well. Here’s the description for Fresh Air, the recently sold artwork:

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10-Year-Old Girl Is World’s Youngest Sake Expert

Akane Niikura, 10, has passed the Sake Institute of Japan’s expert test even though she’s 10 years too young to even taste the traditional rice wine.

Akane was already considered a child prodigy in Japan, for her cooking skills, but now that she’s an official sake expert, her notoriety is expected to grow even more. Although it will be around 10 years before she is allowed to taste sake, the 10-year-old connoisseur can already tell what dish will complement a certain variety of sake, simply by smelling it and observing the way it clings to the glass. Her small nose proved so accurate an instrument that the Sake Institute of Japan had to acknowledge Akane Niikura as a sake expert, after she passed their tests without drinking a drop of rice wine.

As the daughter of a sake bar owner, Akane was always around different types of rice wines from various regions of Japan, and in time managed to tell them apart and learn what foods they best go with. After school, this amazing fourth-grader helps her mom in the bar by recommending sake to customers. Most of them seem pleased with her choices and that’s when the little girl feels happiest. When she grows up, she wants to be a sake bar owner, just like her mother.

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Italy Mixes World’s Largest Mojito Cocktail

We all love Mojito, and the bigger the cocktail glass the better, right? Well they don’t come much bigger than the one prepared by Italian cocktail experts, near Lake Pusiano.

Thousands of liquor lovers gathered in Italy’s Lombardy region, near Lake Pusiano, to watch cocktail connoisseurs prepare the world’s largest glass of Mojito, and hoping to sample some of it. On July 14, during the historic event, bartenders mixed large quantities of rum, sugar cane juice and mint and managed to create a 1,300 liter version of the delicious Cuban drink.

Bartenders from Raptor Ltd and Cafe Eupili spent around 75 minutes adding and carefully mixing the ingredients in a giant glass, while a thirsty crowd of 4,000 cheered them on. A Guinness Records representative acknowledged the new world record, which beat the previous one of “only” 877 liters, set in 2010, in Italy. I guess Italians have a thing for Mojito cocktails.

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Woman Grows Nails for 22 Years Trying to Become Famous

Jazz Ison SInkfield, 48, from Atlanta, Georgia, hasn’t cut her finger nails in the last 22 years, in the hope that they might one day bring her the fame and glory she’s always been dreaming of.

Although she has difficulties performing the easiest of household chores, Jazz claims she feels “very, very blessed”. The nail-obsessed grandmother thinks she has a talent for growing and taking care of her long nails, because it’s not something anyone can do. I’m not very sure that’s true, considering she regularly visits the nail salon, for five-hour nail care sessions and spends over $500 every time; I’d say most other people choose not to spend their time and hard-earned money like that and avoid the complications that come with such “trophies”.

Mrs Sinkfield considers her long fingernails “a girl’s best friends” and can’t even conceive ever having to clip them. “I just can’t stop loving my kids, so how can I stop loving my nails?” she asks. Her longest fingernail is 24 inches long, and all of her painted “babies” add up to 19 feet. She’s very proud of what she’s accomplished and of the attention she draws whenever she goes out, but admits that not everyone is impressed. Some women will turn their nose up to her, but according to Jazz that’s only because they’re jealous. She feels everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they don’t have to be mean about it.

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Dangerous Railway Therapy Practiced in Indonesia

While it might look like they are protesting against something or staging a gruesome mass suicide, the people of Rawa Buaya are actually looking to cure their illnesses by laying on the train tracks.

In western countries, most people think high levels of electric energy cause cancer, but to the inhabitants of Rawa Buaya, in Indonesia’s West Java, electricity is the ultimate cure. From young children to old folk, they all lie on train tracks passing through their settlement, hoping the electric energy from them will cure their various sicknesses. Not even the potentially lethal trains passing on opposite tracks don’t seem to be scaring these Indonesians away.

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Daredevils Compete in Annual Bee-Wearing Competition

Two brave Chinese beekeepers competed in the annual bee-wearing contest, yesterday, trying to attract as many bees on their bodies, in just 60 minutes.

42-year-old Wang Dalin and 20-year-old Lc Kongjiang were the only contestants registered for the event that took place in Shaoyang City, China. Wearing only shorts, goggles and nose plugs, the two bee enthusiasts competed by each standing on a scale and using queen bees to attract as many regular buzzers on their bodies, in one hour. The queen bees were locked in small cages and tied around their bodies, and it was only a matter of time until the swarming bees picked up their scent and formed living suits around the competitors.

In the end, Wang Dalin won the bee-wearing competition, by attracting 26 kilograms of bees onto his body, while his younger fellow beekeeper only manged to attract 22.9 kilograms of live bees. Despite their valiant efforts, the two weren’t able to break the world bee-wearing record, of 39.5 kg (350,000 bees), set by American Mark Biancaniello.

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Vampire Husband Drank Wife’s Blood for the Last Three Years

Deepa Ahirwar, a 22-year-old woman from India’s Madhya Pradesh state, has recently accused her husband of drinking her blood on a regular basis, for the last three years.

Although it sounds like the story of a cheap vampire movie, young Deepa swears she’s telling the truth and even bears the scars to prove it. She and her husband, Mahesh Ahirwar, an agricultural worker, got married in 2007, in Shikarpura village. A few months later, he started drawing blood from her veins, emptying the contents of the syringe into an empty glass and drinking the contents. He threatened he would do terrible things to her if she dared tell anyone about his habit, and she kept quiet for about three years.

Mahesh claimed drinking his wife’s blood kept him strong and boosted his virility, so he didn’t stop playing the vampire even when Deepa was pregnant. After she gave birth, seven months ago, she started protesting for the first time, because she would feel weak and nauseated after each blood extraction. Every time she resisted, her husband beat her, and when she couldn’t take it anymore, she ran to her parents, who after hearing her disturbing story, alerted the authorities.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week

Since it’s nearly impossible for me to cover every cool story I come across, I’ve decided to start posting a weekly link roundup every Friday, so you guys can check the articles for yourselves. Enjoy!

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Designer Makes Jewelry from Real Human Bones

Columbine Phoenix is a talented jeweler with a taste for the macabre. She makes unique jewelry from human bones collected from medical schools and museums.

We’ve covered some pretty bizarre jewelry collections in the past, some were made from insects, others from nail clippings, and even human hair, but Columbine’s “Churchyard” line is the weirdest one yet. She uses various human bones donated for educational purposes and transforms them into unique pieces of jewelry that actually celebrate life rather than death. “Death is a part of life” the designer says in an interview with Vice Style “You can’t die unless you’re alive, and if we weren’t going to die eventually, a whole lot of us would never get around to living.” Strangely enough, that makes sense.

As a child, Columbine Phoenix loved shiny things, and she remembers playing pirates with her brother by stealing her grandmother’s rhinestone button collection from each other. Later she tried making embroidery-floss friendship bracelets and seed beads woven on a loom, but quickly lost interest in things everyone else was doing. She started making jewels from seashells, feathers and other stuff provided by nature, and when a friend from medical school asked her if she wanted to buy some small human bones for her work, she decided to give it a shot. His department was consolidating the bone collection and when he showed them to her for the first time, she knew they were just perfect. Human ivory she called them.

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Wanna-be Wizards and Witches Flock to Austria’s Real Life Hogwarts

Thanks to the hype created by the release of the final Harry Potter movie, an Austrian school for wizards and witches is expanding its range of courses and student base.

When IT expert Andreas Starchel decided to jeopardize his job, change his name to Grand Wizard Dakaneth and open the International School for Wizards and Witches, in 2003, most people laughed and probably called him crazy, but he proved them all wrong after students from all around the world joined his school and made him a rich and famous man. Now, with the recent release of the last Harry Potter movie, Starchel and his partner Sonja Kulmitzer are expanding the school’s range of courses and attracting new waves of aspiring wizards and witches.

Instead of mastering impossible spells and learning to fly on brooms, students at of the International School for Wizards and Witches study subjects like astronomy, potion-making, history of magic, botany, herbology, channeling of magical energy, fortune telling and so on. The two founders have managed to put a modern twist on witchcraft, which basically requires looking at basic sciences from a different perspective and perceiving information that is filtered out by most people. “I’ve learned that everything is explainable” Andreas Starchel says, “and magic is magic only until it is explained. If you understand the psychological aspects behind it, the magic disappears”.

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Dog Yoga Helps Pooches Find Their Inner Peace

Sniffing backsides, taking naps and feasting on daily treats can apparently be pretty stressful for dogs, so in order to relax they have to take dog yoga classes, or doga.

Invented by American Suzi Teitleman, who noticed her spaniel enjoyed taking part in her daily exercise routine, doga has become very popular in Asia, where owners take their pets to specialized classes like that led by renowned yoga instructor Suzette Ackerman, in Hong Kong. It’s believed dog yoga helps strengthen the bond between canine and owner, and also does wonders for their circulation, digestion and joints.

Doga sessions include all kinds of poses, stretches, massages and even meditation that help both owners and pets get into tip-top shape. I’m sure it’s a pleasurable experience for yoga practicing humans, but I’m pretty sure the dogs would much rather prefer a visit to one of those luxury dog hotels, or better yet some Phydough ice-cream.

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Pencil Shaving Portraits by Kyle Bean

Artist Kyle Bean has created a series of unique portraits made with pencil shavings, for the new Handmade Issue of Wallpaper Magazine.

We’ve already featured Brighton-based Kyle bean a couple of times, for his intricate matchstick insects and eggshell chicken, and he continues to amaze us with more original works. Having been asked to contribute on the Handmade Issue of Wallpaper, he has created a series of beautiful portraits using only pencil shavings from colored pencils. A time-lapse video of the process of making one of these incredible works of art is also in the works, and will appear in the online edition of Wallpaper Magazine.

With such incredible projects under his belt already, I wonder what Kyle Bean has in store for us, in the future.

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Pippa Middleton Portrait Made from 15,000 Crumpets Looks Good Enough to Eat

British artist Laura Hadland used 15,000 English crumpets and over 100 jars of jam and Marmite to create a delicious portrait of Princess Catherine’s sister, Pippa Middleton and her much-talked-about derriere.

28-year-old Laura Hadland came up with the idea of making this tasty representation of Pippa after she came first in a Beefeater Grill poll to find the female celebrity Britons would most like to “wake up to breakfast with”. She won 21% of the vote cast by 2,000 people and the honor of being recreated with one of Britain’s favorite snacks.

Along with more than a dozen helpers, Laura spent 24 hours arranging the 15,000 crumpets into a 13 meter by 21 meter mosaic of Pippa Middleton’s face and the backside that captured the imagination of millions of men around the world, on the day of Princess Catherine’s wedding. The crumpets, which weighed over a ton, were covered with jam and Marmite, for shading. Now Pippa really does look good enough to eat.

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The Cut-Away Leaf Art of Lorenzo Duran

Some artist sculpt stone, others carve wood, but Spanish artist Lorenzo Duran decided to express his artistic talent by cutting tree leaves.

Even if Lorenzo Duran’s artworks were created digitally, like they appear to be, they’d still leave you impressed, but the skilled artist cuts his intricate models into real leaves, using a very sharp scalpel. He believes every natural object and living thing has a bit of art in it and is a good medium to experiment his creativity. Inspired by the old paper-cutting techniques of Chinese and Japanese artists, he decided to try them out on leaves, and although he still has a long way to go, he has created some truly impressive pieces. Whenever he gets an idea for a motif he first puts it on paper, then places it over a leaf and uses the scalpel to cut.

Duran has experimented a lot with cutting various types of leaves, and admits that most of his early works ended up in the trash, but he learned from his mistakes and developed a whole process of preparing leaves and cutting them so they don’t break as often. He has to pick just the right leaves (thicker ones are better), then come the washing, drying, pressing  and cutting. The last part is obviously the most delicate, because fragile leaves can break right at the end, and the artist loses days of work in an instant. Pretty frustrating, but nothing beats the feeling of fulfillment when he actually completes one of his cut-away artworks.

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