Galleta Meadows – A Metal Menagerie of Incredible Creatures

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Galleta Meadows is a unique sculpture park of the Anza Borrego Desert, filled with dozens of metal creatures that supposedly inhabited the area millions of years ago.

The Anza Borrego Desert isn’t the most hospitable place on the North American continent, and it’s definitely not where you’d expect to find an outdoor art exhibit like Galleta Meadows. Owned by multimillionaire Dennis Avery (as in Avery office supplies), this unusual tourist attraction is a desert creature park open to anyone brave enough to face the desert and the unbearable heat that comes with it.

The story of Galleta Meadows began in the 90’s, when Avery decided to invest some of his fortune in a vast territory in Borrego Springs. Ho got it for an “uncontestable price” but had no idea of how he was going to use it, so he put no barbwire around it and no “Private Property” signs. Later, he built a winter residence, followed by a tourist resort, a country club and a golf course, but he needed something unique to attract tourist to his newly opened facilities.

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Ripley’s Terminator Sculpture Is a Tribute to Hollywood

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not has recently acquired a realistic-looking sculpture of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, and it that wasn’t cool enough, it’s covered with some of the most popular film characters created by Tinseltown.

Ripley’s has a variety of amazing stuff waiting to be discovered in its Odditoriums, but their newest attraction – a sculpture executed by John Ramos – may just be their geekiest yet. The life-size Terminator was designed as an homage to the American film industry and features depictions of some of the most popular characters in the history of cinema. Looking closely, you’ll discover three dimensional scenes from blockbuster hits like Rocky, Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, Jaws, Alien, Predator, The Simpsons, Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more.

This unique Terminator sculpture is made of clay, resin, paper, plastic and even a real vampire bat, and took Ramos five months to complete. He is now working on a motorcycle to go with the statue and plans on covering with even more Hollywood inspired artworks.

The Terminator is currently on display in the Orlando Odditorium lobby, but will be transferred to the one in Hollywood, as soon as it’s renovation is complete.

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Jewelry Collector Creates World’s Most Expensive Mona Lisa Painting

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A Chinese jewelry collector, who probably had more money that he could spend, has created a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” with 100,000 carats of jewelry.

Many artists have tried to replicate da Vinci’s masterpiece out all kinds of unusual materials, from coffee cups, to pieces of toast and even motherboard components, but no one has ever create an extravagant a replica like this jewel Mona Lisa. The name of the artist is unknown, all that’s been revealed is that he’s a jewelry collector who has spent the last five years working on this one-of-a-kind jewelry painting and the last 30 years collecting all the necessary raw gem stones. The thousands of jewels used ad up to an impressive 100,000 carats.

This bedazzled replica of the Mona Lisa is currently on display in a shopping mall in Shenyang City, China.

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Toothpick Artist Creates Detailed Toothpick Portraits of Celebrities

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Steven J. Backman, one of the world’s most talented toothpick artists, creates detailed portraits of celebrities and icons exclusively out of toothpicks.

The first time I visited Mr. Backman’s official site I was fascinated by his incredible models of famous landmarks made from a single toothpick, which I presented here on Oddity Central, a while back. But I remembered seeing a series of incredibly detailed portraits that the artist creates exclusively out of wooden toothpicks, and just had to show them to you guys.

Using dozens of toothpicks and glue, Steven J. Backman manages to create unique masterpieces that look like the work of a talented graphic designer. He obviously spends a lot of time working on them, because the likeness and attention to detail are simply amazing.

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The Wristwatch Motorcycles of Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau

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Talented Brazilian artist Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau creates beautiful motorcycle miniatures using only parts from old wristwatches.

Pfau’s passion for motorcycles began in the 1960’s. He owned various types of motorcycles, some of them modified and inspired by the movie “Easy Rider”. But the artist born and raised in Blumenau, Santa Catarina was also fascinated by the arts, and it was only natural that his artistic talent and passion for bikes combine in a unique project. At first, he developed several motorcycle images, but after reading about artists who created motorcycle miniatures out wood, pottery, wire and other materials, he decided to make similar artworks, out of a completely new medium – wristwatches.

The time pieces that inspired Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau’s creations were collected with a help of a friend who happened to own a wristwatch shop. Through an advertising campaign, clients were encouraged to give their old watches as a first installment on the purchase of a new one. This provided the artist with the necessary materials to experiment and create his unique wristwatch motorcycles.

Although Pfau only creates his art during the weekends, he has a collection of hundreds of motorcycles made exclusively from wristwatch components. They have been showcased at jewelry fairs and art exhibitions throughout Brazil and several other countries.

 

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Thai Parliament Building Made from 200,000 Food Cans

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If you’re a fan of Canstruction art, you’re going to love this – a group of Thai students have built a replica of the new Thai Parliament building using around 200,000 food cans.

The event took place during the “Health Food and Ingredients Thailand 2011″ exhibition and, as you can imagine, grabbed a lot of attention. The 200,000 cans were all placed by hand, and this one-of-a-kind replica of the Thai Parliament will most likely find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Just like it happens in Canstruction events, I’m sure the cans will be donated to various charities, as soon as the sculpture is dismantled.

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Chicken Made of Eggshells Tries to Answer What Came First

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Using eggshells of different shades and tones, British artist Kyle Bean has managed to create an impressive sculpture of a chicken.

We’ve recently covered Kyle’s intricate matchstick insects, and mentioned that although he only graduated from art school two years ago, he’s a fast rising star of the art world, one who already has an impressive portfolio. He manged to prove me right by adding a few new works under his belt, including a unique chicken sculpture made of egg shells called “What Came First”.

It might not solve the ages-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, but it is clear proof of Kyle Bean’s talent, patience and attention to details.

 

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Chef Builds Replica of His Kitchen Entirely Out of Chocolate and Sugar

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Master pastry chef Alain Roby has built a replica of his home kitchen in Geneva, entirely out of 2,000 pounds of chocolate and sugar.

Alain Roby, the man who previously built a 20-foot chocolate skyscraper and a 22-foot-tall Christmas tree made of chocolate, began work on his unique replica last year, when he received a chocolate donation from Belgian chocolaterie Callebaut. He started out by melting the chocolate into molds he himself designed, and connected the parts using more chocolate. The dishes were made from sugar, and the tiles were glazed and sculpted into the desired shape. The whole project took months to complete, and Alain still finds ways to improve it, every now and then.

The chocolate artist admits the artistry of the kitchen is a big challenge, but it’s actually the engineering part that’s the most complicated. He had to put in many hours of hard work and come up with a lot of ingenious ideas to finish this sweet replica of his home kitchen, in Geneva, but the response has been fantastic. Complete with cabinets, a stove, a sink, a tiled backsplash, teapots and dishes, Alain Roby’s chocolate kitchen has become a temporary local attraction of Geneva, since it has been on display in a downtown venue.

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Swiss Artist Creates Realistic Portrait from 20,000 Cigarette Filters

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Jinks Kunst, a Swiss street-artist known for his beautiful stencil artworks, has created a portrait of legendary French singer Serge Gainsbourg, out of over 20,000 cigarette filters.

These days, France celebrates twenty years since the death of one of its greatest-ever artists, singer and song writer Serge Gainsbourg. In Paris, the city where he was born and where he died, artists are showcasing a series of unpublished photos of Gainsbourg, but Kunst wanted to make something truly special for this occasion.

A big fan of the singer, the Swiss street-artist spent the last three years collecting cigarette butts off the streets and used them to create a unique portrait. His one-of-a-kind depiction of Serge Gainsbourg numbers an impressive 20, 394 used cigarette filters he gathered himself, since March 2008. The legendary Gainsbourg, author of “Je t’aime moi non plus”, had a passion for cigarettes and alcohol, so Jinks Kunst choice of cigarette filters as a medium makes perfect sense.

The cigarette butt portrait of Serge Gainsbourg is currently on display in Nantes.

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The Microchip Paintings of Yuri Zupancic

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American artist Yuri Zupancic creates unique microchip paintings that reflect how the “Smaller and Faster” catchphrase has replaced “Bigger and Better” in our everyday lives.

Yuri’s paintings cover a wide range of subjects, from animals and insects to humans and plants, but usually seeks poetic images that raise questions when painted on microchips. He sees his works as an attempt to broaden our perspective of modern electronics and acknowledge their position as extensions of the mind and its sentimental qualities”.

The size of these miniature masterpieces is most often less than a square inch, so paint is applied with very small brushes that the artist makes using his own eyelashes. As you can imagine, Zupancic’s microchip paintings are hard to fully appreciate with the naked eye, so magnifying glasses are supplied wherever they are exhibited.

 

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Artist Creates Impressive Punching Bag Portrait of Muhammad Ali

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Using tear-shaped punching bags, steel wire and aluminum pipes, internationally renowned artist and sculptor Michael Kalish has created an awe-inspiring monument that pays homage to one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali.

Kalish, who is famous for his license plate portraits, came up with the idea for a complex installation dedicated to Muhammad Ali when he was falling asleep one night, in 2008. He had already met the Ali family, after Lonnie Ali (Muhammad’s wife) saw a report on the artist’s license plate works and commissioned a piece. This led to a long-lasting relationship which eventually inspired the remarkable artwork known as reALIze. But Michael Kalish knew he couldn’t pull off a complicated project like the one he had imagined, so he reached out to architectural firm Oyler Wu, for help.

Made up of 1,300 raindrop-shaped punching bags, 6.5 miles of stainless steel cable and 2,500 pounds of aluminum pipe, reALIze is a monumental 22-foot-high tribute to one of the world’s greatest boxing icons. The coolest thing about this thing is that if you look at it from any side it looks like a whirlwind of hanging punching bags, but if you look at it from a certain point, in the front, you’ll see a clear portrait of Muhammad Ali.

“I love turning ordinary objects into extraordinary works of art. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m honored I could create this monument to pay homage to such an incredible man.” Kalish said about his magnificent work. reALIze will be unveiled on March 25th, at Nokia Plaza L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, where Muhammad Ali himself is expected to make an appearance and hang the last punching bag.

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The Book Autopsies of Brian Dettmer

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Brian Dettmer, also known as “The Book Surgeon” uses knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve old dictionaries and encyclopedias into incredible works of art.

Born in 1974, in Chicago, Brian Dettmer studied art at Colombia College, where he focused mainly on painting. During his time working in a signage store, the artist started exploring the relationship between codes, text, language and art. He began producing paintings based on sign language, Braille and Morse Code, then moved on to layered works that involved pasting newspaper and book pages to a canvas, and it was just a matter of time before he would discover the talent he is now renowned for – expert book carving.

The Book Surgeon takes outdated books, dictionaries and encyclopedias that would otherwise end up at a landfill somewhere, and gives them new meaning and the chance at a second life, by carving them into intricate artworks. “Their intended role has decreased or deceased and they often exist simply as symbols of the ideas they represent rather than true conveyors of content. When an object’s intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises.” Dattmer says, explaining the philosophy behind his work.

Reference works are Brian’s favorite material, because of the rich illustrated content, but regardless of what he works with, he never inserts any new material or move the content of the book around just to make it more interesting. Using his trusty precision tools, he cuts out unwanted content stabilizing what’s left with layers of varnish. In the beginning, Brian Dettemer focused on carving one book at a time, but in recent years his art has become even more ambitious, as he began using sets of books to create the images he desires.

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Micromachina – The Hallowed-Out Insect Sculptures of Scott Bain

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Micromachina is a collection of real taxidermy insects fitted with various devices that is meant to show how we humans mistreat nature, forcing it to do our bidding.

Scott Bain’s creations show humanity’s disregard for nature in all its forms: genetic modifications, pesticides or massive urban expansion. There’s practically nothing we won’t do in our never ending quest for profit, and the artist believes there will come a time when nature will rid the world of its biggest pest, us.

The hollowed-out Micromachina insects were inspired by our way of using technology to control nature and turn every living thing into a tool.

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Jimi Hendrix Mosaic Made of 5,000 Plectrums Auctioned at Charity Event

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A one-of-a-kind mosaic of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix made of 5,000 plectrums has been auctioned off during an event for Cancer Research UK.

The portrait was created by Ed Chapman, one of Britain’s leading mosaic artists, who said it took him several days to complete. The plectrums used to create the 120 cm x 100 cm artwork are made by Fender, the guitar brand Hendrix is known to have been most fond of. “I decided to use plectrums to create a portrait of him because I like experimenting with different materials and textures and I think it is a fitting tribute to the musician.” Chapman says.

39-year-old Chapman began making mosaics in the 1990s, and has tried to put a modern twist on this ancient art form. His previous works include mosaics of John Lennon, Eric Cantona, and ManU manager Alex Ferguson.

 

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The Button and Pin Artworks of Ran Hwang

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Instead of using pins and buttons to stitch-up clothes, Korean-born artist Ran Hwang uses them to create gigantic installations in the shape of birds and cherry blossom trees.

To create her unique artworks, Ran Hwang hammers thousands of needles into a wall and hangs colorful pins from them. Seen from up close, her pin and button works look pixelated, but from afar, the whole piece seems to come together naturally. “My immense wall installations are extremely time consuming and repetitive manual work. This is a form of meditative practice that helps me find my inner peace. Like the monks practicing Zen facing the wall, my work is a form of performance that leads to finding oneself.” Hwang says about her unique technique.

Asked why she uses buttons as an art medium, the artist replies “because they are common and ordinary, like the existence of human beings”. She uses no glue in her art, so the buttons are free to move or fall at any time, which reflects the irresolute nature of human beings.

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