French Freediver Is Capable of Blowing Bubble Rings Underwater, Like a Dolphin

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French freediver David Helder has his own unique superpower – he can blow massive bubble rings, whirling vortices that manage to maintain their round shape for a surprisingly long time underwater. Although he appears to perform these tricks effortlessly, anyone who has ever tried freediving knows that it’s no mean feat.

“I had always seen people blowing vertical rings, I just gave it a try and all I can tell is that it’s a vortex and the air is coming out from your mouth,” said David. “It just spins in one direction creating a vortex. At the beginning, they were not good, after a couple of weeks, they were quite okay. And then I started to make some combination, trying to make some tricks.”

“Now, I’m doing some kind of figures when two rings are connecting. And I love doing those kind of rings in the sea. Laying on the surface of the sea, I just blow one ring and I can see the fishes – they are kind of eating the ring. It’s another way of interacting with the life in the water.”

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Alzheimer-Suffering Artist Drew His Self-Portrait for Five Years until He Forgot How to Draw

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When American artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1995, he decided to make the best use of his limited time and memory. He began to use his art to understand himself better – for five years, he drew portraits of himself before he completely forgot how to draw.

Through this unique series of self-portraits, viewers can observe the London-based artist’s quiet descent into dementia. As the terrible disease took control of his mind, his world began to tilt and his perspectives flattened. The details in his paintings melted away and they became more abstract. At times, he seemed aware of the technical flaws in his work, but he simply could not figure out how to correct them.

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Young Taxidermist Sparks Controversy For Eating the Animals She Stuffs

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22-year-old British taxidermist Elle Kaye has a pretty unusual eating habit, even by taxidermy standards – she actually consumes the meat of the subjects she stuffs for her art. Kaye mostly uses roadkill or animals that have died of natural causes, and she tries to eat as much of them as possible, as long as the meat is fresh.

The attractive young woman who studied art at Loughborough University said that she decided to eat her subjects because she wanted to recycle and minimize waste. “For me, it’s a lifestyle choice,” she says. “Doing what I do ensures I recycle a deceased animal, as a meat eater, there is no logic in wasting perfectly edible meat. It’s important to me, because it upholds all of the notions that underpin taxidermy, and it means that I do the animal justice in recycling all of it.”

“I’m a big meat eater and I believe strongly in the idea of recycling,” she says. “It doesn’t make sense for me to preserve the specimen then throw the meat away. If I can determine that it’s fresh, I wouldn’t hesitate to eat it. I’m very careful.”

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The Photo-Like Paintings of Hyung Jin Park

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Korean artist Hyung Jin Park uses photographs as inspiration to create equally realistic paintings of young Asian women. He generally paints bust-length portraits of a monumental scale, up to seven feet high, depicting women at close range. The hair, lips, eyes and skin are painted with a high level of precision, making them unbelievably real. His photorealistic technique is so accurate that once he completes a piece, it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a high-resolution photograph or a painting.

But Park’s work can be identified if you are aware of his signature style. He often makes distortions of the women he’s painting, like enlarging the eyes or shrinking the chin, to give them an otherworldly look. He also gives the women a universalized, glazed appearance, softening features just like in Oriental ceramics. So his paintings do appear to be like photographs, but they’re also rather surreal. And although the artist chooses his subjects from among his students, the women in his paintings are really quite different from the real-life inspiration.

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The Delicate Tree Leaf Carvings of Omid Asadi

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With just a craft knife and a needle, talented Iranian artist Omid Asadi can breathe life into dry, fallen leaves. The 35-year-old, now based in the UK, carves breathtaking silhouettes into fragile brown leaves, creating exquisite pieces of art. Right from celebrity portraits to wild animals, or even random patterns – Omid is an expert at using the natural shape of a leaf to transform it into a wide range of subjects.

“Art for me is the way of looking differently to this world and around myself,” Omid said. “I started to think why nobody paid attention to these beautiful leaves and trod on them, because of their name – if they were called flowers we wouldn’t tread on them at all! I wanted to give the leaves another life and make art from them.”

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English Designer Creates Furniture That Looks and Feels Like Human Skin

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Gigi Barker, a British furniture designer and owner of Studio 9191, has come up with a new range of seating that looks and feels a lot like the human body. The seats are designed to mimic bulbous, podgy human flesh. And they’re oddly comforting, as Gigi’s customers reluctantly admit.

Although the seats are made of leather – the closest material to human skin that she could find – they’re so oddly shaped that they aren’t instantly recognisable. And that’s exactly the effect that she was hoping to achieve with the project, which she calls ‘A Body of Skin’.

Through the project, Gigi wanted to explore people’s reactions to furniture that is strangely familiar to the sight, smell and touch, but not recognisable. “That made the viewers question how to interact with the shapes and to form their own conclusions,” she said.

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Japanese Botanical Artist Launches His Bonsai into Space

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Japanese botanical artist Makoto Azuma’s flower arrangements are, quite literally, out of this world. His beautiful plants were recently launched into outer space as a part of his latest project, ‘Exobiotonica’. The launch took place on July 15 at the Nevada Black Rock Desert, with the help of Sacramento-based independent space program, JP Aerospace.

“I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” said Azuma, who is well known in Japan for his extravagant performances involving flowers. There was this one time when he stomped on hundreds of flowers during a musical performance. Once, he stuffed flowers into glass jars and filled them with water-like sardines. He has also created office chairs and Hello Kitty dolls entirely covered in green grass.

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Meet Paintboxer – The Dutch Artist Who Paints with His Fists

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It’s hard to imagine boxing and painting combined to create something artistic. But Dutch boxer Bart van Polanen Petel demonstrates that it’s really quite possible to mix a brutal sport and a delicate art form. He puts on his boxing gloves, dips them in paint, and throws punch after punch at a blank canvas wrapped around a punching bag until it is completely covered in chaotic color patterns.

“If life is ultimately a Darwinian struggle for survival, then boxing at least has the virtue of being open about it,” says the philosophical boxer. Inspired by its primal nature, painting is Bart’s way of paying tribute to the sport of boxing. “Instead of crushing bones and shattering teeth, I use my fists to create,” he explained.

Bart says that when he’s boxing, he feels a deep connection with the men of the Stone Age and the Middle Ages. He feels a certain animal within him, an aggression that he learned to curb in boxing. But with painting, he’s able to let out all that aggression on to the canvas.

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Photo-Like Monochromatic Portraits Created with Thousands of Tiny Holes

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Norwegian artist Anne-Karin Furunes’ portraits might look like black-and-white photographs, but that’s just your eyes playing tricks on you. They’re actually paintings made with of thousands and thousands of tiny holes. Anne creates them by punching perforations into large canvases, creating the effect of monochromatic hyper-realistic portraits.

Anne has been perfecting her unique perforation technique since the 1990s, when she was a student of architecture and art at the Art Academy of Trondheim. All the main painters back then used a lot of paint on the canvas, she said, but she wanted to ‘enter the canvas’ in her own way.

“So I tried to find my own language,” she explains. “At that time, I was really interested in photos – old photos, albums, private albums – and I think it was the idea of trying to transform these photos to something physical, something bigger. And to give it a kind of soft treatment so it was, in a way, a memory. Something that is coming and disappearing at the same time.” The holes, she said, are symbolic of memories – how they disappear exactly when you try to grasp them.

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The Ultra-Realistic Graphite Drawings of Monica Lee

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Malaysian artist Monica Lee uses simple graphite pencils to create stunningly realistic portraits of people and animals. Through her photorealistic drawings, she manages to capture the most minute details of her subjects – faded freckles, coarse beard hair and even the subtle weaves of a shirt.

Lee worked as a digital artist for 12 years before she switched to analog drawings. She grew up admiring and appreciating the value of photographs, thanks to her father who is a photographer. So photorealism comes to her quite naturally, and she enjoys depicting as many details as possible.

“I like to challenge myself with complex portraits especially people with freckles or beard,” Lee says.

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Small Japanese Village Turns Rice Paddies into Awe-Inspiring Works of Art

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Inakadate village, located near Hirosaki city in Japan’s Aomori prefecture, is one of the few places in the world where farming and art go hand-in-hand. The village is renowned for its unique form of landscape art created in paddy fields. These artistic paddies are so popular that they attract over 200,000 tourists a year.

For centuries, farming has been the main source of income for the people of Inakadate. The amount of farmland available to the relatively small population of 8,000 villagers is massive. Paddy fields make up over fifty percent of the entire village land. The soil in these lands is so fertile that the yield from the rice crop has consistently been higher than any other village or town in Japan.

In the early 1990s, archeologists discovered that the rice strains of Inakadate were over 2,000 years old. To celebrate this fact, and to make the village more attractive to visitors, the local tourism office hatched a plan – to make use of their abundant production of rice to attract more tourists. And that’s how their amazing rice paddy artworks were born.

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Artist Creates Celebrity Portraits with Thousands of Suspended Buttons

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Artist Augusto Esquivel is an expert at transforming mundane objects into spectacular works of art. One of his specialties is working with standard sewing buttons, which he uses to create stunning, larger-than-life celebrity portraits.

Augusto’s technique is as tedious as you’d imagine – it’s not an easy arranging thousands of buttons to form an easily recognisable pattern. To create a single portrait, he starts off by suspending hundreds of monofilament strings from the ceiling. Then, he threads black, white and grey buttons into those strings in a particular order.

Individually, these strings might not amount to much. But this is where Augusto works his magic – when he brings the strings together, pixelated images of popular icons emerge. Some of his most notable works include button portraits of stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali and James Dean.

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These Photos of Beautiful Women Are Actually Amazingly-Realistic Oil Paintings

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Each time we feature hyper-realistic paintings on OC, I think, “This is the best I’ve ever seen.” But then we get to see another artist’s work, and I’m amazed all over again. This time it’s the work of New York-based Israeli painter Yigal Ozeri. I’m still having a hard time believing that these paintings aren’t actually photographs of women.

Seriously, there’s no denying the fact that Ozeri’s taken hyperrealism to a whole new level. You can’t spot a single brushstroke in these photograph-inspired paintings, that’s how perfect his work is. He starts each piece by photographing beautiful women in nature-themed sceneries, while staying hidden at a safe distance from his models. Back at his studio, he alters the shots with Photoshop and prints them out. Using the prints as a reference, Ozeri then spends days recreating them with oil on canvas

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Can You Believe This Isn’t Trash But Expertly Painted Pieces of Wood?

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I wouldn’t blame you if you thought these were just simple photos of discarded trash. I was fooled as well, until I actually read the story behind them. In reality, these are pieces of wood expertly painted by super-talented Kentucky artist Tom Pfannerstill. From crushed Starbucks coffee cups to crumpled Goldfish cracker packages, he is able to create perfect replicas of all sorts of garbage he finds on the streets.

Tom calls the series ‘From the Street’; he starts off by choosing a real piece of trash and traces the outline of the object onto a flat piece of wood. Once his wooden canvas is ready, he fills it in with acrylic paints, in painstaking detail. The two-dimensional painting soon comes to life, looking exactly like a piece of trash it was modeled after.

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Death Metal Band to Play in Air-Tight Box until They Run Out of Oxygen

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Most musicians like to perform so that others can hear their music. But one British death metal band is doing the exact opposite – they’re currently playing in an airtight, soundproof box where no one can hear them. They play until the oxygen runs out, and they run the risk of dying from asphyxiation.

The cube is an art installation by Portuguese artist João Onofre, called ‘Box Sized DIE’. According to the event organizers, Box Sized DIE has toured several European cities before, including Palais de Tokyo in France and MACBA in Spain. This is its first appearance in London. “Inspired by Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962), the steel box serves as a mobile location for the performance,” said the organizers. “In each location the sculpture travels to, Onofre invites a local Death Metal band to play, on this occasion, Unfathomable Ruination. The box is soundproofed, determining and restricting the performance’s duration to the length of time in which the oxygen is expended.”

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