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Meet the Man Who Artistically Carves Entire Caves by Hand with a Pickaxe

Sculptor Ra Paulette has a phenomenal hobby – he digs caves in New Mexico’s sandstone cliffs. Not plain, rocky, boring ones. Ra’s caves are smooth, artistic, and breathtakingly beautiful, and he creates them with his bare hands. His only tools – a pickaxe and a wheelbarrow.

67-year-old Ra came into his unusual profession after years of being a drifter. He was a college dropout, was discharged from the U.S. Navy and hitchhiked his way across America. He worked on a series of odd jobs – postal employee, security guard, janitor, and even farmer and one point.

Ra learnt the art of digging in the summer of 1985, when he worked in Dixon as an excavator. He would dig outhouses and build wells, giving him a longing to do something artistic with his hands. One thing led to another and soon, he was digging caves.

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Artist Mom Creates Amazing Mosaics Out of Thousands of Play-Doh Dots

Who said Play-Doh is just for kids? In an amazing display of pointillism, mother-of-three Lacy Knudson puts together over 10,000 Play-Doh dots to create beautiful mosaics.

It all started when Knudson was putting away her kids’ clay one day. She began mushing it into little balls when she realized that these tiny, colorful dots could be put together to create great artwork. And the best part – she could spend time with her children while working.

Knudson has a unique name for her process – Dozayix. It’s a combination of playDOh and moSAICS. And of course, a whole lot of fun. Her first piece was called A New World, for which she used 23 pounds of Play-Doh. She split it all into 10,000 half-inch dots (called ‘dozaic tiles’) and perfectly arranged each dot to build her mosaic.

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Keep Away from Fire: Belarusian Artist Paints with Petroleum

A true artist can create outstanding art from almost anything, even ugly, greasy oil. Who would have ever imagined that petroleum could be used to paint breathtaking images? Belarussian artist Ludmila Zhizhenko, that’s who.

Ludmila was a designer at a petroleum company for years before she invented this new technique of painting in 2009. She would use watercolors earlier, but petroleum is now her material of choice. Ludmila’s paintings have are elegant, with an old-world charm. They resemble vintage, yellowed photographs from the last century. Photo artist Sergei Kholodilin says, “This is a synthesis of photography and painting.”

For her paintings, Ludmila uses petroleum produced in the Gomel region. To make one ‘heavy oil’ painting, she needs about 10 grams of the stuff. And there are only two types of petroleum she can make use of. Ludmila lets us in on a few of her trade secrets: “It is important not to stop putting stroke after stroke. Otherwise, if the oil dries out,  it will be very difficult to fix something,” she says. Due to the chemical composition of petroleum, she mostly paints outdoors.

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David Foster’s Amazing Hammered-Nail Portraits

Who would have ever thought that fine art could be created out of something as crude as a hammer and a bunch of nails? I’ve seen several art forms made using Pointillism before, but former architect David Foster’s work is quite unique. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that his breathtaking portraits were once a plain box of nails.

David’s art covers a range of subjects: celebrities, animals, flowers and get this – even a hammer and nail! The level of precision and realism in his art is a result of years of practicing and perfecting his technique. On his website he says, “I have always been fascinated with how little information the brain needs to interpret a picture.” He loves the simplicity of a picture just made out of dots.

When he started making portraits, David worked only with ink. He began experimenting with nails only in the past couple of years. He starts with a photograph of the subject, which he painstakingly reproduces by stippling with an ink pen. He enlarges the inked drawing to mark out where the nails go. Then the nailing begins, and many thousands of nails later, the piece is complete. On an average, his smaller drawings number about 5,000 nails, while larger ones can have as many as 30,000. David’s prize winning piece made from 16,000 nails is called Lashes and Nails.

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Feast Your Eyes on the Most Amazing Wood Carving Ever Created

China has a long-standing tradition in wood carving. For centuries, its chisel-wielding masters have been turning bland pieces of wood into awe-inspiring masterpieces, but none as impressive as the mind-blowing creation Zheng Chunhui. This talented Chinese artist spent the last four years painstakingly carving a detailed replica of Along the River during the Qingming Festival, a famous traditional Chinese painting, into a 12-meter-long tree trunk. The breathtaking beauty of his work simply cannot be expressed into words, you just have to see it for yourself.

As you can imagine, Zheng Chunhui needed mountains of patience to complete his wooden masterpiece, but it was all worth it. Apart from the praise of everyone who got to see the artwork up close at its recent unveiling, the Chinese artist was also honored by the Guinness Book of Records with the new world record for the longest wood carving. It measures 12.286 meters long, 3.075 meters high and 2.401 meters wide.

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Michael Volpicelli’s Incredible Word Art

Young American artist Michael Volpicelli specializes in creating detailed portraits of people and animals exclusively out of written words related to them. After serving in Iraq and suffering a serious back injury, Volpicelli says art helped him recover and now he wants to share his talent with the world.

Ever since he was just a child, Michael Volpicelli loved to draw. While still in junior high-school, he enrolled in college courses to improve his drawing skills, and even though it was nerve-racking being the youngest person in the classroom, he says the experience really helped him flourish as an artist. During college, Michael started attending a fine arts school and an artistic career as an artist seemed like the only logical next step in his life. But then September 11 happened, and instead of pursuing his dream of becoming an artist, he ended up in war-torn Iraq. But even in this hostile environment, the talented young man couldn’t stay away from art. He started designing certificates of appreciation, and creating works of art for his Sergeant Major’s, drill sergeants, and even fellow soldiers. He was the “combat artist” of his infantry division. After leaving the Army and suffering a major back injury, Michael Volpicelli used art to help him recover. He enrolled into Oklahoma State University and studied fine arts. Today he uses his talent for drawing to create all kinds of beautiful artworks, but his forté is definitely word art.

Michael-Volpicelli

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Banana Tattooing, an Increasingly Popular Art Form

Up until a few years ago, people rarely looked at bananas as anything more than delicious fruits, let alone as an art medium. But that was before artists started taking advantage of the banana peel’s oxidation process to create amazing artworks. Today, more and more artists are becoming specialized in banana oxidation art, also known as banana tattooing.

Banana peel may seem like a strange canvas too some, but it’s also one that can yield some pretty impressive results. Case in point, the amazing artworks of End Cape, a young Japanese artist who specializes in bruising bananas. Using a sharp tool like a simple needle or a thumbtack, he spends up to five hours puncturing the peel of the tropical fruit and creating breathtaking masterpieces inspired by popular anime, traditional Japanese art and famous landmarks. The process is very similar to that used by regular tattoo artists, only without the paint. In contact with air, the bruised sections of the banana turn brown, revealing artist’s designs. Apparently, the colder the fruit is, the faster it oxidizes. By controlling the density of needle holes, End Cape is able to create different textures and shades of brown.

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Artist Sculpts Celebrity Portraits in Expensive Lipstick

Ever dreamed of having your face immortalized in expensive lipstick? No, well, you can, thanks to Singapore-based artist May Sum, who has made a name for himself by carving expensive lipsticks from top brands in the makeup industry into detailed busts of various celebrities, from Lady Gaga to Audrey Hepburn.

Some women would kill for a stick of lipstick from established brands such as Yves Saint Laurent or Estee Lauder, but artist May Sum doesn’t think twice before butchering them into oily busts of popular fashion icons. It’s not clear what kind of tools he uses during the carving process, but considering the size of his medium, they must be pretty tiny and precise. Although his lipstick busts aren’t exact replicas of the characters he aims to depict, the Singaporean somehow manages to always nail he details that define his muses. For example, Lady Gaga is easily recognizable by her unmistakable hairdo and large glasses, while Coco Channel can be distinguished by her signature hat and pearls. May Sum can carve sticks of lipsticks into anything from animals to sceneries and customs portraits, but she is most famous for her “Strong Women” series.

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Jack O’Lantern Event Features Awesome Life-Size Dinosaurs Made from Carved Pumpkins

One of the most memorable events of the year takes place around Halloween at the Van Cortland Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Here, literally thousands of incredible jack o’lantern carvings are lit up in a spooky exhibition of giant spiders, flying pumpkin ghosts, skulls, skeletons, bats and other hair-raising entities, all handmade from pumpkins. This year’s main attraction are some awesome life-sized dinosaurs which give the place a very spooky prehistoric feel.

According to HudsonValley.org, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze takes place throughout October and early November lasting for a whopping 25 days. 5,000 hand-carved, illuminated jack o’lanters are displayed along a pathway open to anyone lucky enough to get one of the fast-selling tickets. For only $16 (or $20 in the weekends), you can “stroll through the Tunnel O’ Pumpkin Love and witness the incredible sight of gourd-filled Jack-in-the-Boxes springing up and bouncing around. See slithering ground snakes, a giant spider web, and go gaga over a collection of shrunken Little Monsters. Gaze in amazement at a towering pumpkin bonfire and a working doomsday grandfather clock.”

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Artist Trains Pigeons to Smuggle Cigars from Cuba

Some artists are willing to do anything for their masterpieces, including risking their freedom. American Duke Riley is one such artist. He walks the fine line between legal and illegal in his new project called “Trading with the Enemy” which involves smuggling cigars from Cuba to Key West using pigeons specially trained for this shady task.

For “Trading with the Enemy,” Riley, who makes a living as a tattoo artist, started off by training 50 birds. Some were taught to carry cigars from Cuba to their destination – which, if you don’t already know by now, is illegal, and some were given special cameras to document their trip back and forth over the boarder. The spying equipment was engineered by Riley himself who worked for several years to make them as light as possible so the pigeon’s wouldn’t even notice them. According to the New York Times, the artist’s concept was a commentary on “the long history of pirating on the southern border.” Riley also wanted to dismiss the government’s very expensive high-tech spying gear by using homing pigeons instead of drones. “I wanted to subvert this billions-of-dollars high-tech system with things that were being used in ancient Sumeria. A lot of the work I do seeks to create some sense of possibility or empowerment, in a humorous and romanticized way, using the simplest means possible,” Riley says.

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The Incredibly Realistic Colored Pencil Drawings of Adolfo Fernandez Rodriguez

Although he started drawing with pencils after the age of 40, Adolfo Fernandez Rodriguez – a Madrid based artist, quickly mastered this technique. Using only colored pencils, he now draws life-like characters, bubbles, reflections and ripples of water that often get confused with hyper-realistic oil paintings and even photographs.

His mind-blowing creations include incredibly realistic waves and drops of water, distorted reflections as well as some very accurate depictions of statues and extremely detailed complex pieces such as two hands on a pile of hay with every straw carefully contoured, or the pages of a book where the artist really took the time to fill the pages with words and drawings. “I only recently discovered this Spanish artist and, really, what else is there to say about his work except – ‘WOW!’ Done in a very realistic style, all of his drawings look like paintings and many of them are almost impossible to tell apart from a photograph. I find not only his work, but also his interpretations and expressions of the love he feels for his many subjects, to be incredibly inspiring,” fellow pencil artist Lissa Rachelle Robillard wrote about Rodriguez’s work.

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Who Needs Paintbrushes? Argentinian Artist Paints with His Eyes

Did you know the human eyes could be used as a tool for painting? Argentinian artist Leandro Granato recently invented the bizarre technique by snorting paint through his nose and squirting it through his eyes and onto the canvas.

Leandro Granato, 27, uses a very unique variation of drip painting which involves snorting watercolor through his nose and then pushing the liquid out from his eye socket. As impossible as this may seem, he uses up to a pint and a half (800 ml) for each piece. The young artist first discovered his talent during his childhood. “Ever since I was a kid I knew I had a special connection between my eye and my nose,” he explains. “As I grew up I started realizing air and liquids could go out of my eye if I put them through my nose.” By combining his special ability with his passion of art, Leandro started putting liquid paint up his nose and became the inventor of a new painting technique he suggestively calls eye-painting. “When I decided I would do this for a living my whole family thought I was going crazy – as well as many other people,” the artist remembers, but in the end he proved them all wrong. His eye-painting creations take between 10 minutes and 10 months to complete and sell for up to £1,500 ($2,400). Read More »

Azerbaijani Parking Attendant Turns Dusty Cars into Awe-Inspiring Works of Art

For most artists, any surface can be used as a canvas, as this Azerbaijani man beautifully demonstrates by creating complex urban landscapes in the collected dust on cars. He discovered his talent and passion for drawing in dirt at his job as a parking attendant which he has been doing for over 10 years.

During work hours on one of the busiest streets of Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, parking attendant Rafael Veyisov wipes off the dust on cars with his fingers, slowly contouring the shapes of tall buildings and flying birds. In his artwork, he generally illustrates real towns to educate people about other countries, but sometimes he also lets his imagination run wild and produces impressive original works. Surprised by his talent, the car owners who regularly leave their vehicles in Rafael’s care, often leave them dirty just to give him an excuse to play around, and take photos of his beautiful artworks.

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Incredibly Detailed Portraits Created Exclusively with Black Ink Dots

Armed with nerves of steels, artist Pablo Jurado Ruiz creates incredibly detailed portraits by adding thousands of tiny ink dots to a white canvas. Talking about his creative approach, he explains: “With a creative concept based primarily on human representation, I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision. My current work is focuses on a simple but realistic drawing and worked in an impressionist technique, complex and very accurate as pointillism or stippling art. “

Born in 1973, in Malaga, Spain, Pablo fell in love with graphics at a very early age, after discovering American and European comics. Later, while studying art history and artists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Georges Pierre Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, he became fascinated with painting. Today, Pablo Jurado Ruiz is known for his ultra-realistic portraits done with techniques like pointillism and stippling. The Spanish artist uses countless black dots on a white piece of paper to create amazing works of art inspired by his favorite themes: love, disappointment, nature and childhood.

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Lethal Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Stone Statues

When photographer Nick Brandt first visited Lake Natron, in Northern Tanzania, he was shocked by the macabre animal statues he saw aligned across its shoreline. He later found out something even more shocking – those were real animals calcified by the lake’s alkaline water.

Natron, which gives the lake its name, is a naturally occurring compound found in volcanic ash. It’s the same mineral the Egyptians used to preserve their mummies. The lake’s alkalinity is similar to that of ammonia, with a pH between 9 and 10.5, and the temperature of the water can reach 60 °C. No animal can withstand this caustic environment and venturing into the alkaline environment is usually fatal. As soon as birds and bats plunge into the waters of lake Natron, the minerals start turning their flesh into stone and preserving them exactly as they were in their final moments. Flamingos sometime use the predator-free salt islands that sometimes form on the lake for nesting, but it’s a risky gamble, as the photos below clearly show. Only invertebrates, a few algae invertebrates and some fish that live near the edges of the lake can survive this environment.

Lake-Natron

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