The Gun Powder Drawings of Cai Guo Qiang

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Also known as China’s most explosive artist, Cai Guo Qiang uses gun powder to create some truly unique works of art. His technique of igniting gun powder on a paper canvas is considered a new medium of contemporary artistic expression.

Fire and explosion seems to be a very popular art theme these days. We’ve recently covered the works of Radya Timofey, a 23-year-old artist who paints with Molotov cocktails, and Rob Tarbell, who guides the smoke of open flames to create detailed artworks, so Cai Guo Qiang fits right in. The famous Chinese artist started using gun powder as an art medium in 1989, when he used fuse lines to create explosions that lasted between 1 and 15 seconds, for public audiences. But his works has evolved a great deal since then, and he now uses modern technology to create much more detailed works, and even aerial explosions supervised by experienced pyrotechnicians.

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Serene Seascape Mural Made of 500,000 Fishhooks

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Cuban artist Yoan Capote uses all kinds of unusual materials to create beautiful art installations. For one of his latest project, Isla, he used around 500,000 fishhooks to build a photo-like seascape mural.

Throughout the years we’ve featured a lot of talented artists with the power of turning everyday objects into stunning masterpieces, and today we’re proud to add Yoan Capote to our ever-growing list. The Cuban artist is famous for the way he manages to take common household objects and create beautiful artworks, but I think his latest creation is also his most impressive one. Named Isla, the 26-foot-wide mural was assembled out of half a million intertwined fishhooks, nails and oil. Looking at it from a distance, you’d think it’s just a photo of the calm open sea, but as you draw near, the secret behind the realistic seascape is revealed. Even with the help of 30 assistants, Yoan Capote took since months to complete his fascinating fishhook mural.

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5 Talented Artists Who Paint with Wine

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing for OC, it’s that the truly talented are able to create breathtaking art out of literally anything, even ordinary stuff like packing tape or sprinkles. So when I read about wine art, I decided to look up the artists who work with the drinkable medium. After doing a little snooping around, we discovered these five amazing artists, who create the most beautiful wine paintings.

Christina LoCascio

What would a person with a Fine Arts degree and a career in the wine industry do? Why, paint with wine, of course! And that’s exactly what Christina LoCascio has been doing since 2002. She is credited with the development of a new technique using wine as her palette, making use of different grape varieties. Several paintings in Christina’s portfolio reflect a wine narrative – there are vineyards, grapes and wine bottle portraits. She also uses subjects to portray the emotional experience of enjoying a glass of wine. Her art has a very classy, elegant feel to it.

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Beautiful Leila Khaled Portrait Made of 3,500 Lipsticks

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Last year, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali paid homage to Leila Khaled, a woman revolutionary who became famous as “the poster girl of Palestinian militancy” after hijacking a plane, in 1969. He created a unique portrait made of 3,500 lipsticks for an art exhibition at Birzeit University.

We’ve featured many awesome pixelated portraits on Oddity Central, like the one made of plastic bottle caps, by Marry Ellen Croteau, or that of Shannon Larratt, made of 10,000 metal nails, but this is the first one we’ve senn made of thousands of lipsticks. Using the famous photo of Leila Khaled holding an AK-47 and wearing a kaffiyeh, taken by Eddie Addams as reference, Amer Shomali created a sort of canvas out of lipstick holders and then arranged 3,500 lipsticks of 14 different colors to best recreate the Palestinian icon’s visage. Called “Icon”, Shomali’s artwork was featured in a an art exhibition organized at Birzeit  University.

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Urine Iron Man Wins Art Competition

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The title is a little misleading, so to make things clear, we’re talking about the face of Iron Man made of real urine, in a toilet bowl. This unusual artwork was actually considered better than 600 other entries in a popular art competition.

You don’t often get the chance to associate Iron Man with urine, but this is one of those rare occasions, and we only have a geeky Taiwanese guy to thank for it. But how does one get the crazy idea to paint a portrait of one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes with urine. Well, this particular art school graduate was taking care of business one day, in the bathroom, when he noticed blood in his urine. Now, most everyone else would have panicked and ran straight to the doctor, but not this fellow. Looking at the colors in his pee, he immediately thought of the colors of Iron Man’s suit, and felt inspired to create a portrait of the popular crime-fighter using his very own urine.

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Artist Uses Lovers as Living Paintbrushes

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Alexander Esguerra,  a New York-based artist, has invented the perfect recipe for love and art to go hand in hand. The couples who participate in his sessions not only get to make love, they also get to take a great souvenir home – a piece of art born from their sensual ‘act’.

Esguerra invites couples to cover themselves in non-toxic, water based paint and then ‘do as they please’ on a canvas on the floor. At the end of the love-making session, what results is a wonderful painting for the world to admire. It’s just like making babies I guess, equally messy, but without any diapers to be changed later. The concept has caught on pretty well, and is turning out to be quite popular. So much, that he’s actually converted it to a business called ‘Love and Paint’. The art packages are provided at luxury hotels, starting at $2,500. There have been fifty couple participants so far.

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Plot – A Stunning Cityscape Made of Carved Potatoes

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Artist Peter Root spent three weeks carving 80 kilograms of potatoes into office buildings, homes and various other structures, using only a knife and a bicycle repair kit. His unique potato city model is called Plot.

Although Plot was created in Istanbul, 33-year-old Peter Root says his creation wasn’t modeled on the Turkish city, but rather influenced my various aspects of the historical city. The artist, who eats potatoes at least once a week, says he chose the popular vegetables because they are available in abundance and are “amazing to work with”. They can be carved, sliced, chopped, drawn into, balanced and dried, Root said. Lucky for him, the artist didn’t have to peel all 80 kg of potatoes, as he decided to leave some of the skin intact, to encourage the growing of shoots.

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Mind-Boggling Hand-Painted Portraits Made of Hundreds of Smaller Portraits

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Korean artist Kim Dong Yoo creates amazing portraits of various icons like Audrey Hepburn or Michael Jackson, made up of hundreds of smaller painted portraits that either support or contradict the main subject of the artwork.

Over the years, we’ve featured some truly interesting celebrity portraits on Oddity Central, like Jason Mecier’s pill portraits, or Jason Kronenwald’s chewing gum creations, but we’ve never seen anything like Kim Dong Yoo’s works. This incredibly talented artist painstakingly paints hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of miniature portraits by hand, using them as smaller piece of a much bigger, unbelievably detailed portrait. His portraits look a lot like the stamp paintings of Peter R. Mason, only instead of using recycled stamps to recreate the faces of many historical and Hollywood icons, the Korean painter actually paints every one of the little images that make up the big portraits.

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Innovative Artist Creates Beautiful Dust Paintings

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Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust from her art-subjects’s homes and uses it to paint the background of their portraits. She started her series of “dusty” artworks, called Dust Paintings, several years ago, but she’s only just now getting the online exposure she so rightfully deserves.

Dust paintings…Now here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Well, actually, just a month ago we posted a story about Alessandro Ricci, an Italian artist who paints with dust collected from historical buildings in Florence. But while his dust creations are more like environmental statements against the pollution in his home city, Allison Cortson’s paintings are much more elaborate, and have a completely different purpose. Through her dust paintings, the artist tries to emphasize the fact that “matter is mostly empty space” and  it’s only through interactivity with living beings that they provide any value. That’s why, in all of her Dust Paintings artworks the human subjects are painted in color, while the background is recreated with dust.

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Aggravure III – A Unique Mural Made with 450,000 Staples

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In all the years I’d stapled posters on my wall, I never gave it a second thought, let alone consider it an art form. But an artist has painstakingly created a series of beautiful murals made from nothing but staples tacked onto a wall. The pictures you’re looking at are the works of French artist Baptiste Debombourg, and a part of  a collection named Aggravure. His last artwork, Aggravure III, took him 340 hours to complete and consists of over half a million staples.

The collection itself is inspired by engravers of the Renaissance period, Jan Harmensz, Cherubino Alberti and Hendrick Goltzius. It’s amazing what an artist can do with a boring, everyday, office supply like the staple. But hey, if people can make art out of packing tape, maybe staple-art is not so surprising after all.

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Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Brings Sexy Back into Art

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Serious artists are bound to find Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School rather blasphemous, but the more lighthearted ones obviously think it’s a lot of fun. How else would you explain a Dr. Sketchy’s branch in 100 cities spread over 5 continents, merely 6 years after the first class was held in a dive bar in Brooklyn?

It’s hard to call the place an ‘art school’, as it looks more like a pub where artists come to hang out, socialize and have a good time. But they do make a lot of drawings while they’re at it. And the major attractions are the ‘subjects’ that they get to sketch. Founders A.V. Phibes and Molly Crabapple make sure to find the most beautiful burlesque dancers, the most rippling hunks of men and the most bizarre circus freaks, who pose for artists every other Saturday for three whole hours. An artist herself, Crabapple decided to create an alternative drawing school to counter the conventional restrictions of mainstream art. She asked a simple question: why can’t drawing naked people be sexy? And this unique anti-art school was her attempt at an answer. So Dr. Sketchy, a fictional corrupt Viennese doctor, was born. On their official website, the school is described as ‘the world’s premier alternative drawing movement’.

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Artist Twists Aluminum Wire into Beautiful Tree Sculptures

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I find it fascinating how some artists can turn rigid materials into works of art that seem almost organic. Case in point, Kevin Iris, a man who creates beautiful tree sculptures exclusively from aluminum wire.

A self-proclaimed “treenut” Kevin Iris has been making incredibly detailed tree sculptures from aluminum wire for the last 23 years. His works vary in shape and size, as he’s trying to inspire different emotions with each one, but the most remarkable thing that’s common to all of them is that they are made only out of twisted wire. That means he uses no glue, coatings or any other substances. he simply takes tens of feet of aluminum wire and twists them into a variety of shapes. As you can imagine, Kevin’s artistic process is very laborious and time-consuming. For example, talking about the aluminum tree n the photo below, the artist says “I average about 26 leaves per strand so I have about 10,062 leaves up there on the top. This [22-inch wide] tree took about 450 hours or so of hands on twisting wire time over four months.” Pretty remarkable stuff…

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Indian Artist Paints with His Tongue

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Now here’s a hobby that’s bound to leave a bad aftertaste. Ani K, from Kerala, India, makes paintings using his tongue. No, he doesn’t hold a paintbrush with his tongue, as I mistakenly believed at first. He actually slathers paint on it, which he then transfers on to canvas to create beautiful images.

Sounds rather gross to me, but the talent is certainly something to behold. Ani K, who works as a drawing teacher, says he was inspired by an artist who painted with his foot and wanted to do something like that. He started off using his nose, but he realized that was done before and he wanted something unique. That’s when he zeroed in on his tongue. “I thought of giving my tongue a try and succeeded,” he says. “Many newspapers reported it. I got a good response. Then, I made it a regular practice.”

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Sarah Harvey’s Eerily Realistic Underwater Images

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Most people love taking photos of themselves underwater, but English artist Sarah Harvey isn’t like people. She likes to take things to a whole new level by using photos of herself underwater as reference for her incredibly realistic paintings.

Most often than not, Sarah likes to be both the artist and the subject of her artworks. She puts on a bathing suit, jumps in one of London’s oldest pools and goes underwater so her photographer friend can take a series of photos. She takes into consideration the position of the sun every time she prepares for a photo shoot, and tries to include its reflection on the water whenever she can, along with the surrounding darkness to create a contrast that makes the distorted human figure look even more interesting. Once work at the pool is completed, the artist heads for her studio in East London, where she selects the best photos and starts placing them one over the other to create a collage.

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The Secret Life of Ants, Shot by Andrey Pavlov

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We’ve seen insects used as art protagonists before. Mike Libby turns them into steampunk hybrids, and Ubyka creates armed insect cyborgs, but I haven’t seen anything like what Andrey Pavlov does with ants.  This is the touching story of a man who found comfort in studying and immortalizing hardworking ants performing their daily routines.

Andrey Pavlov wasn’t particularly interested in macro photography until seven years ago, when a spinal injury caused him to remain immobilized. That’s when he fell under the charm of these amazing earthlings called ants. He started reading books about them and their behavior, and became fascinated with the way the ant community cares for its weaker members – the children, the old, and the disabled. That’s when he realized they were creatures that commanded respect. This civilization that for the last 150 million years has mastered so many environmentally sustainable ways of surviving and evolving at the same time, really impressed him. So he made it a hobby to observe and take photos of these incredible insects.

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