Cancer Survivor Makes Drug Jewelry to Pay off Medical Debt

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Susan Braig, a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena, California, began making jewelry from medication as a form of therapy, but now sells her creations to pay her medical bills.

Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy in 2004. She remembers she bought her first round of medicine our of her own pocket; it cost her $500 and looking at the little pills she got for that much money, it made her wonder if they were little gems. But the idea of actually using medication as jewelry came to Susan Braig in 2007, when she participated in a medical-themed art exhibition organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation. She decided to create a mock Tiffany & Co. jewelry advertisement for the exhibition, using different kinds of pills as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, but she eventually ended up making a princess’ tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer pills, as well as several other pieces. They were a hit, and many show-goers told Susan she should open her own jewelry line.

Now, seven years after starting her treatment, Susan Braig is cancer-free and running her own jewelry line, called designer Drug Jewelry. Friends and fellow cancer survivors donate their own old and leftover medicine, and she uses them to create colorful accessories priced between $15 and $150. She sells them at craft shows, where she wears a white medical robe, and is considering distributing them to hospital gift shops. The pills used for the over 500 pieces she designed so far are coated with a sealant and glued to the costume jewelry, to make them “non-abusable” as she says. The jewels come in an ordinary pill bottle, wrapped in a ribbon and placed in small bags made from surgical face masks.

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Designer Makes Impressive Gown from Discarded Children’s Books

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Boston-based fashion designer Ryan Novelline has created an amazing fairytale dress using only pages from children’s Golden Books.

If you had any doubts regarding human creativity being endless, this unique creation will definitely make you a believer. Now I’m not very big on fashion, but I know impressive when I see it, and Ryan Novelline’s gown made entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

The skirt is made entirely of illustrations from the book sewn together with metallic gold thread, while the bodice is made from the books foil spines. Both have tape backing for reinforcement. The total surface area of the skirt is 22,000 square inches.

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Indian Woodcarvers Give the Skateboard an Oriental Twist

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What do you get if you combine the old fashioned skateboard with the talent of a dozen Indian woodcarvers? The answer can be admired in the photos below.

All commercially-available skateboards are artistically designed, but companies usually opt for spray paint, abstract graphics and prints to personalize the board. German curator Tobias Megerle teamed up with a dozen traditional woodcarvers from Mumbai to give the skateboard a brand new make-over inspired by traditional Indian patterns.

Megerle remembers “The very first time I drove past I was magically attracted to the carved wooden objects in Mahim, all the open workshops, the woodcarvers sitting on the floor with their traditional tools, working on their items, the whole atmosphere”. As an artist he wanted to do something with their work, and after several visits studying their craft, he picked the good old skateboard to undergo the carvers’ artistic treatment.

Tobias Megerle’s art project was named Final Cut, and its main goal was to keep the skateboards functional even after Mumbai’s carvers were done with them. The results are truly amazing, and the German curator hopes his project will lift India’s woodcarvers from the state of craftsmen to that of artists.

These traditionally carved Indian skateboards are currently on exhibit at The LOFT at Lower Parel, in Mumbai, where they will remain until April 12.

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Marcus Levine’s Hammered Nail Art

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Using up to 50,000 rigid steel nails to recreate something as fragile and curvy as the human body isn’t the easiest of tasks, but artist Marcus Levine manages to to it without as much as a sketch.

The British artist’s road to his brilliant career has been anything but predictable. Born in Yorkshire, Levine attended the Jacob Kramer Art College, but instead of pursuing his dream of making nail art, he opted for career as a TV graphic designer, and later joined the family business. It wasn’t until 2004 that he finally decided he wanted to make art for a living, and moved to Budapest. He began hammering nails into composite wood boards and completed his first real nail artwork in 2005. He continued to perfect his technique, creating increasingly dynamic interpretations of his subjects and pushing the boundaries with each new art piece.

Marcus Levine takes between three days and two months to complete one of his hammered masterpieces and uses anywhere between 15,000 and upwards of 50,000 nails. By placing them at various heights and distances, he can create various distinct tones and manipulate the intensity of the contours. He masters several techniques, like undulating the height of a nail or rotating its head round, but Marcus admits that light has  a big part to play in his art, as “from morning sun to evening sun the shadows across the sculptures change and affect the contrast, and by altering artificial lighting, the sculptures can appear as light as a pencil sketch or as dark as a charcoal life drawing.”

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Artist Creates Dog Portraits from Recycled Magazine Photos

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San Francisco-based Samuel Price uses pieces of photographs he finds in old, discarded magazines to create intricate portraits of man’s best friend.

Sam Price’s career as a collage artist began when he was too young to afford paints and would tear up magazine and newspaper pages and glue them to a canvas. He did it out of necessity and because he has “always believed in the use of accessible materials as part of the instinctive process of creating art”. Stepping in the footsteps of artists like Pablo Picasso – a pioneer of collage art – Price uses recycled photographs as the medium for his artworks.

Unlike other collage makers, Price doesn’t use a computer as a guide when he creates his masterpieces. He spends several hours looking through discarded magazines, in the search for just the right color and shape that would fit his needs, and then glues every strip of paper himself.

Samuel Price takes great joy from creating something new and special from materials other people simply throw away, and says his work has helped him create a strong connection with many dog lovers. Through his collage portraits he tries to capture the special relationship between a dog and his owner.

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Incredible Miniatures Carved from Matchsticks

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Artists have been using matchsticks as a medium for their art for a while now. Some use thousands of matches to create amazing wooden models, others use them to create colorful sculptures, or decorate their homes in a unique way, but I’ve never seen detailed matchstick miniature sculptures before.

I saw some interesting photos of carved matchsticks last week, while surfing the interwebs for unique art to share with you guys, but I couldn’t find any info on the artist who made them. Unfortunately, the research I conducted following my find didn’t prove very successful. All I learned is they are created using fine tools like scalpels and other specialized instruments, and that they’re mostly made by artists from South American countries like Chile, Argentina and Brazil. A miniature matchstick sculpture takes around three hours to complete and it’s then placed inside a small glass cover, for protection.

Among the most famous matchstick sculptors, I’ve found Christian Hernandez, who focuses of Greek mythology themes, and Argentinian Javier Gobai, whose detailed works you can admire in the photos below:

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Gary LeMaster – The Incredible Eggshell Sculptor

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Gary LeMaster has to be one of the world’s most gifted sculptors. After all, how many people can take an egg and turn it into an intricate and detailed work of art?

Born in New Zealand, where his father, a US soldier, was stationed at the time, Gary showed a passion for the arts, at a very young age. After the family moved to the States, he grew up learning how to use tools, and do woodworking alongside his father, while, at the same time, learning to appreciate fine arts, from his mother, a talented ballet dancer. It was his mother’s guidance that got him a scholarship in music at the University of Iowa, which he turned down to pursue a teaching degree in history and English. Although he practiced drawing with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, the fact that he was color-blind made Gary LeMaster think his visual art was limited, and that he wasn’t good enough for art school.

After enrolling in several school programs and obtaining numerous degrees, he decided it was time he took some art courses at the University of Iowa, where he enjoyed every class he took. Although Gary regretted not turning to the arts to begin with, his graduate art courses helped take his drawing skills to a whole other level, which proved to be very important in his career as a professional eggshell sculptor.

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The Mind Blowing Paper Collages of Nathalie Boutté

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Nathalie Boutté is a talented French artist who uses thousands of simple strips of paper to create impressive collages.

Born in 1967, Nathalie lives and works in Montreuill, near Paris, where she experiments with all kinds of types of paper, to obtain the results she desires. She has always been passionate about paper, and has worked with everything from tissues to old novel pages and lately, translucent tracing paper. After the sheets of paper have been cut into long strips, they are layered in a way similar to tiles on a roof, revealing only their tips, which act like pixels in a giant collage. Although most of her artworks are pretty big, the dedicated artist says she isn’t scared of working with large formats, on the contrary, the bigger the collage, the more impressive it is. And I have to say, Nathalie Boutté’s pieces are pretty impressive.

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Cube Works Makes Twisted Artworks from Dozens of Rubik’s Cubes

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Solving a Rubik’s Cube is pretty tricky, but using dozens of them to create portraits of famous figures and recreate artistic masterpieces sounds even harder.

Toronto-based Cube Works Studio is a collaboration of graphic architects and “cubers” who use the popular Rubik’s Cube to create an art form that is retro yet avant-garde. Throughout the years, the studio has produced dozens of Rubik’s Cube artworks so impressive and detailed that people often wonder if they’re not taking the cubes apart and use the colored squares individually to create mosaics. But that’s not the case, as many photos and videos taking during the creative process prove.

Apart from their intricate celebrity portraits and artistic recreations, the guys at Cube Works have also set a few world records, including a monumental recreation of the Sistine Chapel’s centerpiece made of over 12,000 Rubik’s Cubes and a 4,050 Rubik’s Cube replica of The Last Supper. This may not be the original purpose Erno Rubik had in mind for his toy, but I’m sure he’d be happy to see it used as an art medium.

 

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Licorice Mosaic Portraits by Jason Mecier

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Jason Mecier is a famous mosaic artist who uses all kinds of materials, from sweets to pills and recyclable junk, to create incredibly detailed portraits of celebrities and pop icons.

Looking at the masterpieces Jason Mecier creates, you’d find it hard to believe he has no formal art training, but he is indeed a self-taught artist with incredible talent. His greatest inspiration is his grandmother who nurtured his artistic inclination ever since he was just a child. The artworks she created mesmerized him as a boy, and Jason remembers she was the one who encouraged him to create art using materials readily available to him. You can say he followed her advice to the letter, as he is now known as one of the world’s most gifted junk artists.

The first time I heard about Jason Mecier and his unique artworks, was when he created a series of pill portraits of celebrities who had drug problems throughout their careers. This was back in January of 2010, and since then Jason has completed his portfolio with all kinds of other beautiful creations made of various materials. Some of them are part of his RedVines portrait series, made of delicious licorice.

 

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Meet Dalton Stevens – The Button King

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Dalton Stevens, from Bishopville, South Carolina, has earned the title of Button King after he spent 15 years stitching and gluing thousands of buttons on all sorts of objects.

The Button King’s story began one night in 1983, when his insomnia prevented him from falling asleep. Back then, television went off at two in the morning, so he had to find something to pass the time. Searching through his old things, he found an old denim jumpsuit and started sewing buttons on it. Two years and ten months later, Dalton was still a chronic insomniac, but his jumpsuit was covered with 16,333 buttons and weighed 16 pounds. Remarkably as that sounds, it was only the beginning of his incredible experience with buttons.

Even after completing his button tracksuit, Stevens kept attaching thousands of buttons on various stuff. He glued 3,005 buttons on his guitar and 517 buttons on his shoes. His banjo, piano and his 1983 Chevette soon followed, and before long, his unique occupation grabbed the attention of the media. He was featured on a local television show, from there on CNN, and pretty soon the entire world knew the story of the incredible Button King. He was invited on popular television shows like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Geraldo, Regis & Kathy Lee, where he would wear a button-covered outfit and play his banjo.

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Artist Makes Celebrity Portraits from Thousands of Circles

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Using an original technique he calls Digital Circlism, artist Ben Heine creates detailed portraits of celebrities like Eminem, Bob Marley or Elvis Presley.

A Belgian artist born in the Ivory Coast, Heine is most famous for his Pencil vs Camera series, which was covered by many of the major online media outlets, but his Digital Circlism portraits are equally, if not more impressive. Using a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4, he applies thousands of circles on a black background, until he creates a colorful, realistic portrait. You might think he uses some kind of automated process to apply every circle, but that’s actually the most remarkable thing about Ben Heine – he adds every one of the circles individually. Each circle has a different color, a different tone and a different size, which makes creating a single one of these artworks very time consuming. His latest work, a portrait of hip-hop icon Eminem, is made exclusively with flat circles on a black background, and took nine days of intensive labour to complete.

A new technique, developed by Ben Heine himself, Digital Circlism could certainly develop into an important artistic movement.

 

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Chinese Transformers Fan Builds His Own Army of Robots

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All geeks love Transformers, but Yang Junlin of Huizhou, China, took his passion for the franchise to a whole other level when he opened the “Legend of Iron” factory and began producing his own robots.

Remebre that uber-cool Megatron Tank we featured a few weeks back? That was one of Yang Junlin’s iron masterpieces, but I had no idea he had created hundreds of other incredible metal sculptures. In 2006, after retiring from the army, Yang went to a concert where various steel sculptures were placed on display. Some of them were simple human figures created from twisted metal wire, but they made such an impression on him, that he decided to try and make his own steel works.

A year later, Yang Junlin opened his own factory, Legend of Iron, and hired over 10 workers to help him realize his dream of building cool robot sculptures. They use all kinds of scrap metal, from old car parts to simple sheets of steel andcreate some of the most amazing looking Transformers replicas I’ve ever seen. Although he admits his work is quite time-consuming, Yang has built over 1,000 iron sculptures since he opened Legend of Iron, five years ago, and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

Check out more photos of the geek eye-candy Legend of Iron creates, after the break:

 

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Inspiring Iranian Artist Paints with Her Feet

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Zohreh Etezad Saltaneh is a 49-year-old Iranian artist born with a birth defect that affected the growth of her arms, who manages to paint, weave and do house chores with her feet.

Born in 1962, Zohreh struggled with her condition at first, but says she owes everything she has achieved to her parents, who “brought me up in such a way that I have become self-reliant.“ Chores that once seemed impossible to do with only her feet gradually became easier and, although things like shopping are still a bit challenging, she can now do some things even better than normal people. It has taken her over four decades but “now I have come to terms with this issue. Sometimes when I’m working, I don’t necessarily think ‘these’ are my feet, or that I don’t actually have any hands.”

Zohreh remembers her mother put the paint brush between her toes at a very young age and encouraged to express herself in an artistic way. But not even her mother could have foreseen Zoreh’s success in the artworld – she has received numerous awards and her paintings have been showcased in over 60 national and international exhibitions. She is a member of the International Association of Painters and is currently studying for a masters in psychology. “My slogan has always been: ‘being disabled does not mean being restricted’,” she says, and her life achievement stand as proof.

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Creepy Post-It Art by John Kenn Mortensen

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John Kenn Mortensen is a Danish artist who uses the common post-it as canvas for his mysterious and scary artworks.

While other modern artists search for ever larger canvases to express their artistic talents, Mortensen lets his imagination runs wild on the tiny sheets of paper we know as post-its. Most of us use them as reminders around the office, but the Dane sees post-its as tiny canvases that allow him to quickly render the creepy products of him imagination, and get them off his mind, so he doesn’t stress himself to them over them.

A professional character animator by trade, John Kenn Mortensen says he has always enjoyed drawing, but his recent ghoulish post-it artworks are inspired by the works of Stephen King and H.P. Lovercraft. Although he didn’t expect any type of response, John Kenn admits he’s pleased so many people enjoy his work.

Check the artist’s blog for his latest post-it creations

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