Man Turns Decade-Worth of Fingernail Clippings into What He Calls Art

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45-year-old Mike Drake has been doing something bizarre in the name of art for over a decade – he’s been collecting all his fingernail clippings, stuffing them in paperweights, and selling them for $300 to $500 apiece!

The Queens resident started the strange practice 11 years ago: “I used to bite my nails, and I wondered how long they could grow,” he told The Huffington Post. “And then I wondered how much I might be able to accumulate.” So he collected his nail clippings in a Ziploc baggie for about a year, and was about to throw them out when inspiration struck. He decided to do something ‘artistic’ with them.

“I realised I went to all that effort, and I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. I already worked with acrylics as a hobby so I decided to make paperweights.”

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The Awe-Inspiring Salt Portraits of Rob Ferrel

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A true artist doesn’t really need expensive tools and materials to produce something beautiful, and San Antonio artist Rob Ferrel is the perfect example. For months, he has been treating his Instagram followers with  highly realist portraits that he creates using nothing but salt, a few brushes, and a piece of cardstock.

Ferrel begins by pouring salt on a table and then moves it around with brushes until recognizable features begin to emerge. He also uses cardstock for clean, sharp lines. Once the portrait is ready, he photographs it and posts it to Instagram, and then gathers up all the salt to make his next masterpiece.

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100-Year-Old Abandoned Church Gets Transformed into Awesome-Looking Skate Park

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The 100-year-old church of Santa Barbara, in Llanera, the Spanish principality of Asturias, had been abandoned for over half a century,  before a group of skating enthusiasts decided to turn the old place of worship into a unique indoor skate park called Kaos Temple. Today, it is probably the most stunning community skating venue in the world.

The church was originally a private one, designed by Austrian architect Manuel del Busto for a few local businessmen in 1912. But they abandoned the area in the 1930s during the Civil War, and the church remained unused for several decades until it was purchased by a group of individuals called the Church Brigade, in the late 2000s.

After some brainstorming, the group decided that the indoor space was perfect to install a skating ramp in. And that’s exactly what they did, slowly gathering funds and getting help from friends whenever they could. In 2012, ‘Kaos Temple’ opened its doors to skating enthusiasts.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse Costs a Lot More Than a Real House

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Priced at an eye-watering $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is easily the most expensive dollhouse in the world. The 800 pound, 9 foot tall museum-quality miniature house, with its 29 rooms and a wizard’s tower to boot, was inspired by the fantasy castle ‘Astolat’ that features in Alfred Tennyson’s poem Lady of the Shalott, and built over a period of 13 years, between 1974 and 1987.

Miniature artist Elaine Diehl was primarily in charge of building the Astolat Dollhouse, but she collaborated with many artists all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the “interiors and adjoining areas were each constructed to the highest standards of that time,” while “the exterior took a year to sculpt to the final finish.”

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Chinese Barber Uses Leftover Hair to Create Insanely Realistic Portraits

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Li Hailing, a barber from Lingbao, in central China’s Henan province, uses leftovers from his day job to fuel his real passion – art. He collects the hair that he cuts at his salon and, in his spare time, arranges the thousands of strands to create stunningly-realistic celebrity portraits.

Li, whose inspiration comes from sand painting, uses the same techniques for his hair paintings – he sprinkles hair onto a canvas with his hands and arranges them until recognizable portraits emerge. There is no glue involved, so the hair can all be blown off with a simple swift wave of the hand, leaving nothing behind on the canvas. Li photographs each piece of hair art before he destroys it and moves on to the next. It takes him a minimum of two hours to finish each hair painting.

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These Delicate Anatomically-Correct Dolls Take Up to 350 Hours to Create

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Russian-Canadian dollmaker Marina Bychkova is famous for sculpting highly realistic porcelain dolls. Her creations are not only anatomically correct, they’re also soul-stirringly ethereal enough to make the viewer curious about their stories. It’s no wonder they’re so sought after by doll connoisseurs across the world. Bychkova’s dolls sell for tens of thousands of dollars each, with the most expensive one fetching a whopping $76,500 on eBay.

The Enchanted Bychkova Dolls are mostly nudes, carrying pensive, mysterious, even sad expressions, as though truly affected by life and destiny. The delicate beauties draw attention with their soulful eyes and sensual lips, with many fans claiming they could spend hours staring at them. The dolls are ball-jointed, which means they can be photographed in various poses that invoke a range of emotions within the viewer.

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Man Born Without Arms Becomes Professional Tattoo Artist

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27-year-old Brian Tagalog was born without arms, but he has never let this serious adversity keep him from leading a normal life. He learned to use his feet to perform mundane tasks, drive a car, fly planes and even ink intricate tattoo designs. The ambitious young man believes he is the only certified tattoo artist without arms in the world.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Tagalog moved with his family to Tucson, Arizona, where he attended Sunnyside High School and the University of Arizona. He had always shown an interest in drawing, and set his mind on becoming a professional tattoo artist. Not many people gave him a chance, but he steadily honed his foot drawing skills, and after his aunt helped him buy his first tattoo gun, he learned to operate it with his toes just as well as others did with their hands.

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Young Artist Turns Starbucks Coffee Cups into Colorful Works of Art

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It seems a shame to throw away a perfectly good Starbucks cup after just one use, which is why a young artist from Ohio converts them into stunning works of art. For the past year and a half, Carrah Aldridge has been collecting her used cups and covering them with colorful designs and patterns using pens and markers.

“I got my inspiration from an artist by the name of Kristina Webb who drew on a cup and then I decided to try it out myself,” the 20-year-old wrote on Bored Panda. “To say the least, it turned out to be one of my favorite things to do and now I have a little collection growing.”

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Couple Keep Long-Distance Relationship Alive with Touching Photo Collages

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Long distance relationships are hard, but a Korean couple have found a creative way to deal with physical separation. Danbi Shin and Seok Li are both artists, and they’re working on a cool photo-collage project that bridges the distance between them.   

Despite the 14-hour time difference between New York and Seoul, where Danbi and Seok live, they photograph themselves doing similar things simultaneously. Then they merge the two pictures, careful to ensure accuracy and symmetry, to make a single image. They also try their best to find similar scenes in totally different environments, and later post the collages on Instagram, where they collectively go as ‘ShinLiArt’.

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Musical Duo Records New Album Using Only Sounds Generated by a Washing Machine

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Matmos, a Baltimore-based conceptual art and electronic music duo, has announced it will soon be releasing an album recorded using sounds generated by a washing machine in the basement of their home.

It might sound strange, but it’s actually very typical of Matmos, who have previously played the uterus and reproductive tract of a cow and and opened for Björk on canisters of helium. This is what they do – use unusual materials to create unique sounds that end up sounding like actual music. For their upcoming album, Ultimate Care II, they used a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine, drumming on it, rubbing it, prodding it and, obviously, doing laundry, before processing the samples and creating a single 38-minute track.

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Self-Taught Artist Paints Beautiful Landscapes on Fallen Leaves

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16-year-old Joanna Wirazka has a very interesting choice of canvas. Instead of paper or fabric, the self-taught artist from Poland paints colorful artworks on fallen autumn leaves. Her works are not only stunning to look at, but also carry a strong environmental message.

Every autumn, Joanna puts aside her regular canvas for something that’s free, readily available, and in her opinion, juts as good – fallen tree leaves. She collects them from a park near her house and places them inside a book until they are completely dry. She then paints them black using water-based acrylic paint, before covering them with colorful landscapes inspired by bustling cities and natural sceneries alike.

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Design Studio Creates Installation That Lets You Experience Nature Through the Eyes of Various Animals

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Here’s a chance for nature-lovers to experience the world from completely new and different perspectives. ‘In the Eyes of an Animal’ is an art installation in Grizedale Forest, UK, that lets people the woods through the eyes of its various animal inhabitants!

The futuristic project is the brainchild of a London-based design studio called Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). Commissioned by the AND Festival, it is a virtual reality experience combining nature and technology. Visitors are asked to wear large, moss-faced black headsets as they journey through a LIDAR-scanned woodland, while coming into contact with various creatures.

First, the forest is scanned using a Lidar scanner, a type of remote sensing technology. The points collected are then “decimated into real-time and combined with further data collected with CT scanning and photogrammetry techniques.” The rendered scenes harmoniously blend the elements collected through Lidar with CT scans of insects and animals, thereby interpreting their world. Audio effects are then added to complete and enhance the overall experience. Bass vibrations help recreate the sensations of a breathing, flying animal.

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Chinese Man Quits Job to Work on Awe-Inspiring 500,000-Toothpick Painting

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38-year-old Liu Xuedong discovered his artistic side quite late in life, during a serious mid-life crisis. He wasn’t happy with his job as a security guard in China’s Jilin Province, but instead of whining about it, he taught himself how to create art with toothpicks. Inspired by hundreds of how-to videos online, he quit his job and decided to dedicate his time to the art form.

Liu carefully watched how accomplished artists arranged toothpicks to create intricate patterns and shapes. He then spent about 2,000 yuan ($315) on a set of 500,000 toothpicks to try it out for himself. Over the next three months, Liu watched more videos and practiced on his own.

After several unsuccessful attempts, he finally completed his first masterpiece , a ‘3D wild horse’ painting that’s about three meters long by one meter wide, and weighs a whopping 170 kilograms.

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Artist Uses Plants to Create Larger-Than-Life Replica of Famous Van Gogh Painting on a Field

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Stan Herd, a Kansas-based landscape artist, recently completed his very own museum-worthy masterpiece. Only, it can’t be moved because it’s actually made out of plants growing in a field!

The 1.2-acre crop art ‘painting’, located on field near Minneapolis, is a replica of Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece ‘Olive Trees’. Herd was commissioned to create it by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where the Van Gogh original currently hangs. It took him six long months of digging, planting, and mowing a giant grass field before the ‘earthwork’ was finally complete on September 11. It is best viewed from high above, especially if you happen to be flying in to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“When you’re on ground level you can’t tell what the cuts even look like, but when you get up there you can see the patterns,” said Rick King, board member of the Minneapolis Museum and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “If you are landing from the southeast and flying northwest, it will be on your left-hand side as you approach the airport.”   

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23-Year-Old Takes Welding Art to a Whole New Level of Awesomeness

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Fusing bits of metal together hardly qualifies as art, unless it’s the handiwork of a welding master like Richard Lauth. The 23-year-old professional welder from Chicago creates beautiful portraits, themed sculptures, decorations, and models using nothing but metal and a welding machine

Lauth is an Operating Engineer and member of the trade union Local 150 by day, but he likes to spend his free time using his welding skills on artistic pursuits. Or as he writes on Instagram, he loves making “cool s***” out of metal. Some of his pieces include metal portraits of popular characters like Stormtroopers and Minions, animal faces, and small metal sculptures of everyday objects.

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