Controversial Pigs Tattooed with Disney Characters Selling for Up to $70,000 in China

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Given the fact that pigs are mostly raised for slaughter, it seems rather pointless and cruel to spend hours inking them with intricate tattoos. But believe it or not, tattooed pig skins are actually fetching a handsome price in China – up to $70,000 per hide!

These special pigs are inked under anaesthesia, with a variety of designs including Disney characters, Louis Vuitton logos, and even patterns that are popular with Russian prison inmates. Three artists work simultaneously on each pig, and their skin is later massaged and moisturised by carers. Once the pigs reach the end of their lives, their skins are sold to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars. One canvas featuring Disney characters, for example, was sold to Chanel and made into two bags.

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Blind Artist Relies on Touch and Textures to Create Stunning Paintings

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Texas-based artist John Bramblitt perceives the world and everything in it through color. Fear, for instance, he says is a “red with a lot of black mixed in. It’s almost like the color of blood and dirt or soil – it’s really deep.” His paintings are stunningly vivid, bursting with color and texture. Ironically, Bramblitt is blind.

The 37-year-old has been suffering epileptic seizures since the age of two. As he grew older , the seizures became more and more frequent. “There would be months I’d have so many seizures I couldn’t count them,” he said. His vision gradually began to deteriorate since age 11 – at first it would become blurry and then eventually clear up. But with time, it cleared up less after each episode, and by 2001 he had become completely blind.

The loss of vision was a terrible blow for Bramblitt, sending him into what he calls the “deepest, darkest hole” of depression. “All of the hopes and dreams that I had for my life; all of the plans for what I would do after I graduated school were gone,” he said.

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Incense Pointillism – Artist Burns Thousands of Holes into Paper with Incense Sticks to Create Beautiful Landscapes

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While traditional forms of pointillism involve adding distinct dots of color in patterns to form an image, Korean artist Jihyun Park does the opposite. He inverts the art of pointillism by puncturing dots into paper instead of adding them.

Using incense sticks, Park burns thousands of tiny holes into rice paper, until recognisable patterns of clouds, mountains and trees emerge. His project, titled ‘Incense Series’, consists of completed drawings mounted on varnished canvases. So the holes in the paper allow the viewer to see shadows while the white canvas reflects light.

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Prayer Nuts – Intricately Carved Wooden Marvels of a Time Long Passed

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While most rosaries these days consist of glass or wooden prayer beads, there was a time when wealthy Europeans used ‘prayer nuts’ – minutely detailed, small-scaled boxwood carvings. Each nut was a masterpiece in itself, decorated on the interior and exterior with intricate carvings representing Biblical stories.

The delicate wooden orbs were designed to be worn on a rosary, or on a belt by members of the nobility or wealthy merchant classes in northern Europe. At times, fragrant substances may have been inserted into the orbs, so that the nuts may have served as pomanders as well.

Recent studies suggest that prayer nuts of the early 16th century were reduced to such a small scale that they might have become impractical to use. The religious significance might have faded away, and these nuts may have later been made just to be studied and marveled at, as private collectors’ items.

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Russian Teen Builds Realistic Life-Size Tanks Out of Snow

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Alexander Zhuikov, a student from Novosibirsk, Russia, was recently in the news for his highly realistic snow sculpture of a life-size tank. It took him a month to create the frozen masterpiece, which he later entered into a contest held by the makers of popular online game World of Tanks.

Alexander, 20, began his project by downloading various tank drawings from the internet. He chose a spot in his grandmother’s garden and with the help of his friends, he cleared the place by shoveling  about 20 tonnes of snow. He then set about building the snow machine and making a shield to protect it from the sun, using simple tools like spades, knives and trowels. He even created a self-propelled cabin that can be accessed through a hatch. Everything is made of snow, except for the rope, barrel, and other small parts.

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Artist Turns Human Bodies into Mind-Boggling Optical Illusions

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Oregon-based artist Natalie Fletcher is an expert at turning human bodies into optical illusions. Her artworks may seem cleverly photoshopped, but the illusions are in fact painted directly on to the skin!

Her project, aptly named ‘Just an Illusion’, features human canvases that are painted in bright base colors like cyan, fuchsia, yellow and green. She cleverly makes use of black contour lines to fool the eye into thinking that parts of the model’s torso are distorted. Some of them appear twisted, while others seem to have a gaping sinkhole in the center. She creates the illusion of depth by shading and positioning the lines.

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Talented Makeup Artist Turns People into Living Comic Book Characters

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Lianne Moseley is not your average makeup artist. While she has a full-time job doing bridal makeup, her real passion lies in painting faces to resemble three-dimensional cartoon characters!

The 25-year-old said that her passion for comics began as a child – she would spend hours sketching Sailor Moon after school and pour over her brother’s graphic novels. She also picked up all her makeup skills growing up. “My mom sold catalogue cosmetics and right from the start, I just got right into it,” she said. “In high school instead of studying I spent a lot of time practicing and doing friend’s makeup.”

Although Moseley has been painting faces for over two years, she recently started doing the comic-style makeup that has made her so popular. “When I first did Archer, I posted it on my Facebook page and my friends liked it but I didn’t have a big following but my brother really liked it and he posted it on Reddit,” she said. “Just last night Ashton Kutcher shared an article on my work on his Facebook page.”

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Dutch Artist Takes Taxidermy to a Whole New Level of Creepiness

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28-year-old Noortje Zijlstra is a part of a new group of Dutch artists who are gaining recognition for their fusion of taxidermy and art. Noortje, in particular, takes the macabre practice of taxidermy to the next level – some of her pieces include a white dove’s head mounted on a shuttlecock,  a stuffed squirrel standing on its hind legs with a test tube in its throat serving as a flower holder, and a single preserved baby chicken leg mounted on a wooden stand, covered in fluffy white feathers. Her studio is also home to a family of mice with their hides replaced by decorative colored sugar.

“My work fuses taxidermy and art, sometimes creating work that may shock or even revolt, but I hope it serves as a catalyst for conversation,” she said. Her latest work involves a frozen crow carcass; she’s not yet sure what it’s going to become, but she hopes that the final piece gets people talking. During an interview with AFP, she demonstrated how she cuts into the bird’s breastbone before removing its insides. “This is what I do,” she said. “I take its ‘jacket’ off and use it as a medium for art. As soon as that happens, it ceases to be a dead animal.”

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This Man Has Photographed Everything His Right Hand Has Touched in the Last 11 Years

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Alberto Frigo is a man on a mission – for the past 11 years the 36-year old Italian has been photographing every single object that his right hand has touched. And he plans on continuing the bizarre project until he reaches retirement in the year 2040.

Frigo said that he had been fascinated about the idea of recording his life many years before he began the project. He tried embedded cameras for a while, but found the experience frustrating. Writing a journal did not appeal to him either, because the writing eventually fades.

The idea finally came to him in September 2003, and he started photographing every object his right hand came into contact with. Soon, he got so addicted to it that he simply couldn’t stop. And now it’s become a habit. “At this stage, my left hand now naturally photographs my right hand using objects without me really thinking about it.”

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Designer Turns Bananas into Beautiful Works of Art

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Dutch artist Stephan Brusche is an expert when it comes to transforming humble bananas into stunning artworks. The 37-year-old graphic designer carves the skin and flesh of the fruit to transform it into a variety of characters and animals – right from Marilyn Monroe and Homer Simpson to cute animals like giraffes, elephants or fish, and even biblical scenes.

Stephan says he began working with bananas on a whim. “It all started a few years back when I just started using Instagram. I was at work and I just wanted to post something,” he told the guys at Bored Panda. “I then noticed my banana and I figured it would make a nice post if I just drew a little happy face on it. I took a ballpoint pen and just started drawing. I was pretty amazed how pleasant a banana peel is to draw on. So the next day I did it again, now a pissed-off face.”

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Artist Creates Awe-Inspiring Portrait with 20,000 Teabags

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Shanghai-based artist ‘Red’ Hong Yi has made a name for herself in the art world by creating larger-than-life portraits of celebrities using unconventional materials. For her latest masterpiece Red used 20,000 teabags to depict a tea maker practicing his trade.

To create the incredibly complex portrait, Hong Yi stained the tea bags individually by steeping them in hot water, to create 10 different shades of brown. Hong managed to achieve this level of color variation by changing the boiling temperature for every teabag and the amount of water used. For the really dark tones, she used food dyes. Once the tea bags were ready, she carefully arranged them to form the portrait, then stapled and attached them to wiremesh before hanging them from a wooden frame.

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USB Sticks Buried in Walls All Around the World Make Up an Anonymous File Sharing Network

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‘Dead Drops’, a five-year-old project created by Berlin media artist Aram Bartholl, is probably the world’s most amazing file sharing network. It consists of USB flash drives embedded into walls, buildings and curbs all over the world. Anyone is welcome to hook up their laptops or smartphones to these drives, to drop or download files, or expand the network by embedding USB memory sticks in any old, crumbling wall in their own city.

The premise of the project is rather simple – just cement a USB stick into a wall with the port protruding, and post its location with photographs on the central Dead Drops database. Bartholl said that he created the project as a way to ‘un-cloud’ file sharing. “Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space,” the project manifesto states.

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This Dad Has Been Covering His Arm in Tattoos of His Son’s Doodles

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While most proud parents hang up their kids’ art on their refrigerators, this Canadian dad has found a permanent way of celebrating his son’s work – by turning them into tattoos!

Keith Anderson, from Peterborough, Ontario, has been tattooing his son Kai’s drawings and doodles on his arms, ever since Kai was four years old. Now that Kai is 11, Keith has one tattoo to show for each year – parts of which were inked by Kai himself.

“Each one of these tattoos on my right arm my son has drawn over the years,” the proud father said in an interview with photographer Chance Faulkner. “The first tattoo is from when he was four; he is now 11. We add once a year from his drawing.”

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Artists Create Book Cover That Refuses to Open for Judgmental Readers

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While the age-old idiom tells us not to judge a book by its cover, this high-tech book-cover is designed to do the judging instead. Created by a group of artists at Amsterdam creative studio Moore, the book-sleeve has the ability to scan faces for prejudice. If it detects even the slightest hint of judgement, the book will simply refuse to open.

Aptly named ‘The Cover that Judges You’, the sleeve comes with an integrated camera at the top and facial-recognition software that scans the faces of people who approach it. “Our aim was to create a book cover that is human and approachable-hi-tech,” artist Thijs Biersteker said. “If you approach the book, the face-recognition system picks up your face and starts scanning it for signs of judgement.”

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Student Turns Her Exam Notes into a Unique Recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

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Anthropology sophomore Van Truong recently combined art and biology in an effort to ace her final exam in December. While most of her college mates used lists and flashcards to memorize stuff, Van used a whiteboard to write out all her notes in the form of ‘Starry Night’, Van Gogh’s famous masterpiece.

“I knew I had to study for this exam, and I knew I’d be writing on this whiteboard for hours,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I did it in a form where people didn’t know how to feel about it?’”

So when she got to Smathers Library on the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, she started to write down all her notes with the words forming a replica of Van Gogh’s iconic painting. Three hours later, the masterpiece was complete.

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