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Artist Creates Amazing Monochrome Paintings Using Smoke

Michael Fennel is an exceptional artist who uses a very strange medium to create art – smoke. For the last 16 years he has developed a special technique of manipulating smoke on wooden panels to create mesmerizing paintings.

Although Fennell’s smoke painting techniques remain a well-kept secret, the artist does reveal that “Smoke as a drawing medium is of course fundamentally flawed – it is tremendously volatile and a line cannot be drawn with it, but perhaps more importantly you can easily ignite your paper and burn down your studio! Smoke is a unique medium that is not drawn, painted, printed, rubbed, flicked, blown or sprayed on – so what could we say – air borne? It can create the most beautiful blacks, that are ‘luminous’ and have depth to the extent that charcoal is flat and pale next to it. It an also create melting, nebulous edges and a great range of tones to rival those of photography.”

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Artist Uses Her Fingers to Create Mind-Blowingly Realistic Paintings of Icebergs

Zaria Forman’s paintings of icebergs are so realistic that just looking at them actually gives me the chills. Her 2012 collection, Chasing the Light, is a tribute to her mother who died from brain cancer. She also hopes to raise awareness to climate change through her work.

Forman has a unique style of creating art. “When I travel, I take thousands of photographs and make small sketches. Once I am back in the studio, I draw from my memory of the experience, as well as the photographs to create large scale compositions. I add layers of color onto the paper, smudging everything with my fingers and hand,” she said.

Zaria-Forman

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San Francisco Artist Turns Disposable Coffee Cups into Stunning Works of Art

We love all kinds of unusual art here at OC, and Miguel Cardona’s unique paper cups fit the bill perfectly. The San Francisco-based illustrator and professor of design takes ordinary coffee cups and transforms them into stunning collectibles. His doodles cover a range of subjects – from aliens to sea creatures, and even the face of Walter White (of Breaking Bad fame).

Cardona’s love affair with cups began last year, when he happened to visit a café near his workplace. The barista tied a napkin around a takeaway cup, and Cardona thought it looked like a scarf. So he quickly sketched a hipster around it. On subsequent cups the scarf became a doo-rag and then a Ninja Turtles’ mask.

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English Artist Turns Dirty White Vans into Works of Art on Wheels

You don’t really need an expensive canvas to make beautiful art. Rick Minns, from Wicklewood in Norfolk, proves that a dirty old van will do the trick.

Seriously, if someone like Rick lived in my area, I’d never clean my car. I would  just leave it coated with layers of filth, hoping he’d find it and do his thing. Rick, or ‘Ruddy Muddy’ as he’s now being called, creates amazing works of art in the grease, mud and dust collected on unwashed vans parked in the streets.

Rick said that he had often wondered if people would like to find art on their cars, rather than the usual ‘clean me’ and other rude messages scribbled in the dust. That’s how he got the idea for ‘Graffilthy Art’. “I was a bit bored at work one day, with a bit of spare time on my hands and thought it would be like a bit of fun,” he said. When no-one complained, he took it as a good sign and kept going. “I played around with a few things and they sort of developed from there.”

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English Artist Creates Expensive Broaches Inspired by Pigeon Droppings

Pigeon droppings may be smelly and disgusting, but did you know they could also be an inspiration for jewelry? Don’t worry, no one’s actually putting droppings in jewelry. But an English artist is making broaches that resemble the shape, size and color of pigeon poo.

30-year-old Frances Wadsworth-Jones, from Ealing, West London, has created a new line of broaches called ‘Heaven Sent’. Each piece in the collection is made from crushed semi-precious and precious gems like black diamonds, sapphires and tourmaline. The gems are set together in imitation of splattered pigeon droppings.

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Artist Sews Portraits of His Family into the Palm of His Hand

This has to be one of the most bizarre art-forms I’ve ever seen. Spanish artist David Cata has taken ‘hand embroidery’ to a whole new level. Using needle-and-thread, he embroiders portraits of people who have impacted his life on to his palms. He calls the series of works ‘a flor de piel’, which means ‘Under the Skin’.

You have to be a pretty intense person to be able to do something like this. Granted, he only embroiders the top layer of his skin, but it’s still got to hurt when he accidentally pierces his flesh! I watched two videos of his work – one where he sews on to his palm and the other where he (rather brutally) rips out the stitches. I really couldn’t finish watching the latter. Let’s just say that there was some blood involved.

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Belgian Artist Steps into His Own Incredible 3D Drawings

Ben Heine, a 30-year-old Belgian artist, creates amazing life-size 3D sketches. He then takes pictures of himself stepping into his own drawings. So he creates incredible images of his real-life self walking a black-and-white tiger, being held at gunpoint, and staring at a hand-drawn self-portrait.

Ben makes use of a very interesting technique called anamorphosis. It requires the viewer to look at the sketches from a very specific angle, to see the complete effect. From a different perspective, these ‘illusions’ look slightly distorted. “It was very exciting to create these works because I like new challenges and I like to surprise,” Ben said. What’s amazing is that he sketches freehand, in just a single take, using a mixture of charcoal sticks and graphite pencils. The works are re-touched in post-production. It takes him a week to complete each drawing.

The sketches begin as pencil drawings and the shading is added using charcoal sticks. For large dark areas in the composition, Ben uses as many as 15 pencils and three charcoal sticks. “I’m actually using a mix of charcoal sticks for the large shadows and thick dark lines and graphite pencils for the smallest details and soft shadows,” he said. “Both materials are carbon based so they still belong to the same medium.

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Beautiful Film Noir “Paintings” Made with Packaging Tape

Something as mundane as packing tape, in the right hands, can be transformed into beautiful art. In this case, the ‘right hands’ belong to Ukrainian-born artist Mark Khaisman, who now lives in Philadelphia.

Mark uses nothing but packing tape and light to create his incredible artworks. He is a ‘painter of light’, as he puts it. Indeed, it is the play of light that brings out the true beauty of his ‘paintings’.

His process is simple – he sets Plexiglass sheets on a backlit panel that’s sort of like an architect’s box-light. This is the ‘canvas’ on which he uses the tape to construct images. He places strip after strip of packing tape on the glass, building up the image in layers. As he adds on the layers, less light shines through the glass, creating depth, shadow and definition in the pictures.

Mark-Khaisman

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Brian Lai’s Mind-Boggling Color Inverted Drawings

Brian Lai, a brilliant Malaysian artist, has invented his own technique of drawing called ‘Invert Art’. Using the technique, he is able to make rough sketches materialize into full-fledged realistic drawings, when the colors are inverted using a Photoshop filter.

Lai has created a time-lapse video to demonstrate exactly how he creates these drawings. He first sketches and shades ‘normally’. Then, he completes the drawing by shading it inversely. After this, he takes a photograph of the drawing (he’s in some of the pictures too), and inverts the colors in Photoshop. The details appear, almost magically.

Some of the pictures on the internet of Lai’s work show how he’s successfully used his technique to make a drawing of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. At first, I thought he was holding up a real poster of the movie. Only when I read about his technique, did I realize it was a drawing.

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Bread-Obsessed Japanese Artist Turns Loaves into Beautiful Lampshades

Yukiko Morita, a 27-year-old corporate employee from Kyoto, has a unique hobby. She combines her love for bread and her love for art into a special product: Pampshades.“‘Pan (Japanese for bread)’ + ‘lamp shade’ = Pampshades,” Morita explains on her website. These lighting fixtures made from real bread and can light up a room, filling it with the warm tones of a fresh loaf.

“I think loaves are really cute,” says Morita. “I love their round curves. I wanted a bread display in my room so I could admire it all the time. That’s how I came up with this shape.” The idea for pampshades first came to Morita when she was a student at the Kyoto City University of Arts. She was working on a project in a studio one day, playing around with a French baguette. She pulled out and nibbled on the soft parts, leaving the hollow outer shell intact. When she held it up towards the sunlight and let it stream in, that was her ‘aha!’ moment.

Pampshades

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A Void – The Famous 300-Page Book Written without a Single Letter “E”

‘E’ is the most commonly used letter in the alphabet. That’s why it’s so hard to believe that a whole novel exists without a single use of the letter ‘e’.

The book in question was originally written in French in 1969, by author Georges Perec. La Disparition (The Disappearance) is a 300-page lipogrammatic novel – a kind of book that consists of constrained writing or a word game.

There is absolutely no mention of ‘e’ throughout all 300 pages, except the author’s name of course. Even the most common word of the French language, ‘le’ (which means the), makes no appearance at all. La Disparition was later translated into English by Gilbert Adair, with the title A Void.

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French Artist Assembles Junk into Amazing Insect Sculptures

Where most people see useless pieces of junk, Edouard Martinet sees perfect parts for his incredibly detailed metal menagerie. The French artist uses everything from old bicycle chains to cutlery and clock parts to piece together his creation without any soldering.

We first featured Martinet’s work on Oddity Central three years ago, and it appears he’s been keeping busy, creating more of his marvelous metal creatures. Edouard’s artistic process doesn’t involve any welding or soldering. Instead, he chooses to pierce the components and screw them together by hand. As you can imagine, just figuring out how to best attach every piece can take a long time, so it’s not very surprising that the artist can spend anywhere from a month to several years on a single one of his works. But looking at how awesome every one of them looks, I’d say the effort is well worth it.

In order to allow viewers to identify all the different parts that make up his junk sculptures, Edouard Martinet accompanies every one of them with a list of components.

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Godfather Fan Builds Life-Size Sculpture of Al Pacino Exclusively Out of Matchsticks

There are two things Croatian artist Tomislav Horvat loves in this world – the Godfather series and matchstick modeling. Recently, he decided to combine his two greatest passions, and created a unique sculpture of Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone.

24-year-old Tomislav Horvat has to be one of the calmest, most patient people in the world. It took him 19 months to complete a sculpture of Al Pacino as Don Corleone sitting in his iconic armchair, during which time he spent between 8 and 10 hours gluing matchsticks. How many people do you know who would be capable of doing this day in and day out without going mad, because I can’t think of a single one.

The whole sculpture is made out of 117,000 matchsticks, but most of them were used to create the armchair (68,000). Tomislav says he learned the basics of matchstick modelling in school, where he studied technical drawing and design, and before he knew it, he was creating all kinds of cool things out of thousands of tiny wooden sticks. Before the Al Pacino sculpture, Horvat had built a bridge from 7,500 matchsticks, a castle from 4,500 matchsticks and a windmill out of 3,000 matchsticks, among others.

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The Truth about “Heaven’s Trail”, the Infamous Photo That Captured the Imagination of Millions

Heaven’s Trail is a breathtaking photograph that went viral almost the moment it was published online a couple of years ago. Like most good things on the internet, the original source was soon lost; no one had any idea where the picture was clicked, or even if it was real.

One explanation on the internet was: “There’s this place in Ireland where every two years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th to June 18th. It’s called Heaven’s Trail.” Many thought that the view in the picture was impossible. They assumed that the photographer had taken two completely unrelated shots and merged them together.

Heaven’s Trail was shared extensively on blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. One blogger wrote, “I feel pretty comfortable calling utter bullshit on this.” The photograph itself is pretty spectacular. I can understand why people would be curious to know its origins. The stairs in the picture lead up to pretty much nowhere. At the horizon there’s a surreal, heavenly light illuminating a man who appears to be running into the stars.

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This Portrait of Morgan Freeman Is Actually a Finger Painting Done on an iPad

26-year-old iPad artist Kyle Lambert has created an ultra-realistic finger painting of Hollywood star Morgan Freeman. If you put Lambert’s painting and Freeman’s photograph side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. The features are practically lifelike, down to the last freckle.

The British artist from Cheshire took one month and used 285,000 finger strokes on his iPad to complete the painting. He used an application called Procreate that allowed him to zero-in and layer his work. Using the app’s features, he reduced the brush size to only a few pixels for extra precision. This enabled him to zoom in to apply stroke after stroke, producing the amazing, photo-like portrait.

Lambert says that Procreate was crucial to his finger painting process. “It captures every brush stroke automatically and you can export it to the camera roll,” he explains. “It has the best canvas size and video export. It’s the most like Photoshop.”

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