Artist Creates Hauntingly Realistic Portraits with Tulle Netting

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The tulle is that netting fabric you usually see on wedding dresses and other pompous gowns, but British artist Benjamin Shine folds and presses it to create these incredible portraits that look almost three-dimensional.

Armed with a household iron, Benjamin Shine uses a single piece of tulle, sometimes as long as 50 meters to make his mind-blowing masterpieces. He uses the transparent qualities of the netting to create tones and shadows that make his portraits look like photographs when seen from afar. While paints and pencils can also be used to create that illusion of a three-dimensional artwork, the tulle really gives a portrait more texture and depth, as you can see in the photos below. We’ve seen the old clothes iron used as an art tool just a few months ago,  but Benjamin Shine is on a completely different level.

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The Amazing Rice Grain Artworks of Chen Forng-Shean

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Taiwanese artist Chen Forng-Shean uses little things like grains of rice and sand to create awe-inspiring miniature artworks. The self-taught artist spends up to several months in front of a magnifying glass, working on a single piece.

Chen Forng-Shean has gained international recognition for his amazing talent of making incredible works of art out of the simplest and tiniest things, but the 58-year-old Taiwanese wasn’t always a miniature artist. Although he had an interest in the arts from a very young age and developed an interest in drawing and calligraphy, after his military service Chen got a job at the Central Engraving and Printing Plant, a division of Central Bank of China. It wasn’t a dream job, but it introduced him to various engraving tools he would later use in his artistic career. Each day after work, for 10 years, Chen Forng-Shean ran into his art studio, located on the second floor of his house, where he would work on his miniatures. Since miniature making was a disappearing art, he had no masters to consult with and learn from, so he had to not only develop his own tools and techniques, but also his very own style. It was a painstaking and time-consuming practice, but Chen slowly started to create amazing works of art, and the world began to notice.

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Return of the Invisible Man – New Stunning Camouflage Works by Liu Bolin

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Liu Bolin, the man who took the international art world by storm, in 2009, with his incredible ability to merge with the environment, has returned with a new series that makes him even harder to spot.

Nicknamed the “Invisible Man”, Liu Bolin is a master of camouflage art who spends up to 10 hours blending into various backdrops, with the help of paint. He puts on a suit and waits patiently as his helpers cover him in paint matching the colors of the background, until he becomes almost impossible to spot. Passionate about his art, this human chameleon he tries to get every little detail, every crack and crevice just right for that one perfect snapshot.  His latest exhibition, Hiding in the City, at New York’s Eli Klein Art Gallery, features some of his best works yet. It wasn’t for the shoes sticking out of the backdrops, I probably would have needed to really look at the photos to figure out where he was hiding. My favorites are the panda camouflage, the magazine stand and the toy aisle, but every one of his creation is simply mind-blowing.

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Tibetan Sand Mandalas – The Sacred Art of Painting with Colored Sand

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Demolishing sand castles can be great fun. But what if you had spent weeks creating it painstakingly, only to have it destroyed at the end? Heart breaking, isn’t it? But for the monks of Tibet who create exquisite sand paintings, dismantling their work is the only way. This is said to signify the impermanence of life.

Sand Mandala, the art of creating intricate artworks using colored sand, is practiced by Tibetan monks as a part of tantric tradition. In the Tibetan language, the art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor (mandala of colored powders). As a part of the sand mandala, millions of sand grains are laid painstakingly into place on a flat platform. Several monks work on a single piece, which can take days or weeks to complete. The word Mandala means ‘circle’ in Sanskrit and is said to represent the cosmogram of a Buddha or bodhisattva. This could be the monk’s own, or of the one he wishes to appease. The art includes geometric figures and several Buddhist spiritual symbols. A sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for blessing the earth and its inhabitants. It also provides the monk who practices the art a visual representation of the enlightened mind of the Buddha.

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Illustrator Documents Her Shopping for the Last 6 Years by Drawing Her Everyday Purchases

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From everyday groceries to household appliances and rare souvenirs, artist Kate Bingaman-Burt, from Portland, Oregon, keeps track of everything she buys by making silly drawings of something she purchases every day. She started this habit six years ago and has since then published two volumes of a book on the topic, called Obsessive Consumption – What Did You Buy Today?

Kate Bingaman-Burt is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University, but she’s also interested in modern consumerism. In 2002, she started documenting her shopping by photographing everything she purchased, and continued doing so every day until 2004. Then, she decided to combine her artistic talents with her interest in everyday consumption by replacing the photos with drawings she did herself. For the last six years, she has been making drawings of at least an item she buys every single day. The six years of the project have been compressed in two volumes of a book entitled Obsessive Consumption – What Did You Buy Today? published by Princeton Architectural Press, but can also be viewed online, on Kate’s official website.

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Russian Artist’s Paintings Are Made with Dead Butterfly Wings

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Vadim Zaritsky, a former police officer turned artist and entomologist uses a very strange medium for his artworks – butterfly wings. The subjects of his unique paintings range from landscapes and still life to portraits of political figures and famous artists.

I know it sounds cruel, but before you label Vadim Zaritsky’s art as a crime against nature, you should know he only uses the wings of dead butterflies that died en masse he finds on the paths and roads around his home city of Lipetsk, 438 kilometers southeast of Moscow, and dead specimens donated by fellow butterfly collectors. “Butterfly collectors know that some wings are considered – collectors call it trash,” Zaritsky says. “If the wings are damaged, if they have partially faded, specialists would usually put them aside. It’s a shame to throw them away but you cannot use them either. In time, the bits may become infested with pests and you have to throw everything away anyway.” One day it occurred to him that these pieces could be recycled into art instead of simply throwing them away. So he began using these discarded wings as a medium for his art, and in the last five years he has created over 100 works of art of varying size and theme. The Russian entomologist takes between a week and several months to complete a single butterfly wing painting.

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Designer Creates Fashionable Dresses Out of Thousands of Colorful Rubber Bands

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Bulgarian-born designer Margarita Mileva spends around 90 hours painstakingly knotting rubber bands together to create wearable dresses. Her latest creation numbers 18,500 rubber bands.

The first time we featured Margarita Mileva on OC was back in 2011, when she created a stunning pastel dress out of 14,235 pieces of rubbery office supplies. She beat that record by knotting together a 10-kilogram garment from orange and black rubber bands, inspired by the spirit of Polynesia and the tattoos of the Maori. It took 150 hours to complete, and comes with matching rubber band shoes. “I always had an eye for jewelry and love to design clothes, knit and make collages,” 49-year-old Mileva says. “So when I started making jewelry from reusing paperclips, punched business cards and rubber bands, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Rubber band dresses were the next step – I am trying to create unique pieces that I would like to be seen as conversation openers.”

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Mind-Blowing Landmark Artworks Are Made Exclusively with Doodles

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If you think doodling is just child’s play, you definitely haven’t seen Sagaki Keita’s works yet. This amazing Japanese artist can recreate virtually anything from classic statues and paintings to famous landmarks using thousands of tiny doodles.

We first discovered Sagaki Keita’s talent two years ago, when he took the art world by storm with his doodle recreations of famous masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, and now we’re featuring his work for the third time. The Tokyo-based artist has recently created a series of international landmark drawings, which when seen from a far seem to be really god pen drawings. But a closer inspection reveals countless entertaining characters doodled on to the canvas. It obviously takes mountains of patience to fill every inch of the white canvas with goofy drawings, and even to create well-placed shadows, but the final result is nothing short of awe-inspiring. His latest works include doodle recreations of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and The Great Wave, by Hokusai.

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Orlan – The French Performance Artist Who Used Plastic Surgery to Challenge Beauty Standards

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We’ve heard countless stories of women who go through procedure after procedure in an attempt to improve their looks, but when I first read about Orlan, a French performance artist, I was shocked. She has also undergone several surgical alterations to her face, but for a different reason – to challenge the standards of beauty that society has set for women. She makes use of plastic surgery as a part of her art, to transform her face and body in such a way that it questions traditional perceptions of beauty.

Orlan has done things to herself as bizarre as reshaping her face to resemble Zimbabwe’s Ndebele giraffe women. The whole purpose of her art, she says, is ‘to shock’. “The whole point is to be against the idea of social pressure put on a woman’s body,” Orlan is reported to have said. Her present day career is inspired from an incident that occurred in her life, way back in 1978. She was preparing to speak at a symposium one day, when she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency surgery. “I almost died because I had an ectopic pregnancy,” she said. “They had to operate to save my life and remove what they told me was a non-viable fetus.” What was most unusual about this incident was the way Orlan chose to handle it. In what can only be called the beginnings of reality television, she took a camera crew along with her to film the operation as it happened. She also insisted that she remain conscious throughout the procedure. “I wasn’t in pain and what was happening to my body was of profound interest to me. Pain is an anachronism. I have great confidence in morphine.”

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Natural Canvas – Artist Etches Beautiful Illustrations on Mushrooms

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If you like unique art mediums, you’re going to love Corey Corcoran’s work. The Boston-based artist uses mushrooms as canvases for his original illustrations.

Creating really good illustrations is hard enough on paper, but on the surface of Ganoderma applanatum (also known as Artist Conk mushroom) is even harder. You can erase a mistake on a piece of paper, but once something is etched into the skin of the mushroom, it can’t be undone. But that doesn’t seem to bother Corey Corcoran, on the contrary, it’s probably one of the things that attracted him to this weird choice for a canvas. He has to be very precise when engraving the fruits of his imagination into the mushroom, using the changing shades of brown to create truly unique works of natural art. The size of his works ranges from six inches to two feet, depending on the mushroom canvas, and the theme mostly revolves around plant life, insects, and people.

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Sweet Art – The Gummy Bear Artworks of Johannes Cortes

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Gummy bears are a favorite treat for millions of people, young and old, but for German artist Johannes Cordes they are a muse, an art medium and his trademark. Cordes uses thousands of delicious gummy bears to create colorful works of art.

Johannes Cordes, from Meppen, Germany, somehow resists the temptation to stuff his face with the thousands of gummy bears in his studio and instead uses them to create unique works of art, including portraits and recreations of famous paintings. The idea of using the gelatinous medium came to Cordes by accident. A few years back, he was building  a custom painting for a friend in his Nuremberg studio, but when he was done, it turned out the frame was too big for the artwork. He was disappointed, but when he spotted an open bag of gummy bears next to the now-seemingly useless frame he realized all the colorful treats would make a nice composition. So he started piecing together an image from the differently-colored sweets on a canvas, and put in on display in the window of his workshop. It was supposed to be a gag to amuse passers-by, but after a few days that “joke” was sold, and JohannesCordes had found a unique art medium…

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Living Art – Museum Masterpieces Painted on Human Bodies

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Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector have found an ingenious way to combine their passion for 19th century art with modern body-painting. The artistic duo recreate classic paintings from museums around the world on to Chadwick’s body, in a special art collection aptly named “Museum Anatomy“.

We’ve featured some pretty impressive example of body-painting in the past, but nothing like what Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector create. The two artists from Austin, Texas, contact museums across the world, asking for permission to access and photograph their 19th century paintings. According to Peta Pixel, they’re always looking specifically for works that haven’t been exhibited in the last 50 years (if ever). After they’ve found a painting they would like to recreate, they either take a photo of it, or ask the museum to send them a professional documentation. Then the real work begins – repainting the artwork on Chadwick’s body. They start by projecting an image of it on to his body, while he tries different positions until they find the perfect pose. Once that’s done with, Laura spends between 8-15 hours in one sitting trying to reproduce every detail, using special-effects makeup. But the painstaking process yields some mind-blowing results.

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The Matchstick Fleet of Bernardo Cassasola

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Argentinian artist Bernardo Cassasola has spent a large part of his life building ship models exclusively out of matchsticks. Now, he’s the proud owner of an entire fleet of incredibly detailed wooden vessels.

“It’s related to life. When I want to be somewhere I just sit down and I can fix my gaze on what I do. I feel wonderful sensations. I can be anywhere in the world because I’m just working with matchsticks,” Bernardo Cassasola once said, in an interview with Reuters. The 63-year-old artist from Argentina has been creating matchstick models since the age of 13, and as the years past, his creations became larger and more detailed. His impressive collection numbers millions of matchsticks, and includes musical instruments like guitars, banjos and violins, architectural models and impressive ship replicas. Throughout his life, Cassasola created a number of extremely accurate matchstick galleons, but his most noteworthy masterpiece is, without a doubt, the 10 feet six inches (3.2 m) war ship he worked on for 7 and a half years. This painstaking labor of love features stunning details like a tiny wooden helm, a scope, down to the handles of the ship’s doors. The multi-decked galleon was unveiled in 2008, when Bernardo Cassasola also announced his next challenge – a 10-meter-long replica of the Titanic made from matchsticks. This guy should definitely meet Wayne Kusy, the man who builds ships with toothpicks, I’m sure they’d have a ball.

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Mind-Blowing Portrait Made by Hand with 2.1 Million Dots Hides an Amazing Story

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The portrait below was painstakingly done by hand, in 138 hours, using a technique called stippling, which required the artist, Miguel Endara to “draw” it with around 2.1 million ink dots. As amazing as that may be, it’s the story behind this incredible work of art that’s really mind-blowing.

The man whose face Endara recreated with millions of dots is Benjaman Kyle. You probably don’t know who he is, and believe it or not, neither does he. Back in 2004, he was left unconscious behind a dumpster at a restaurant in Richmond Hill, Georgia. He had no belongings, no ID, suffered from severe sunburns and was almost blind from cataracts. The hospital he was taken to already had a Jon Doe, so they named him Benjaman Kyle, using the initials of the fast-food restaurant where he was found. Benjaman had no idea who he was, and didn’t really remember anything about his life before the incident. After months of medical evaluation, he was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia. Authorities coudn’t find out who he really was, so Benjaman Kyle became the only missing person in America whose whereabouts were actually known. Worse still, without a social security number and a valid ID, his life was about to become even more complicated.

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English Artist Creates Masterpieces by Painting with Tea

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Liverpool-based artist Carne Griffiths creates magical artworks by combining traditional mediums like ink with drinks like tea, vodka, brandy, whiskey and other alcohols.

39-year-old Carne Griffiths relies on drinks to make his art stand out. He isn’t the only artist to find his inspiration in drink, famous masters like Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali enjoyed a glass of alcohol to release their creative talents, but Mr. Griffiths has a very different approach – he uses them as paint. “I have drawn with fountain pen for many years, often with plain water washes. When I decided to leave my post of creative director at an embroidery firm to pursue a love of drawing I experimented with liquids such as brandy,” Carne said in an interview about his medium choices. “I liked the effect this had on the inks I was using but decided that an alternative that wasn’t such a wasteful crime would be a better option so I started experimenting with different types of tea.” Using a combination of ink and tea allows the English artist to create repeating layers which he then partly washes out with various types of tea, and making new drawings out of what appears beneath.

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