Oman Builds World’s Largest Marble Mosaic

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To celebrate the 40th anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s accession to the throne of Oman, his subjects commissioned the world’s largest marble mosaic.

The people of Oman consider Sultan Qaboos bin Said is considered responsible for the kingdom’s prosperity, so they decided to honor the anniversary of his rule by making a unique mosaic portrait. Measuring a staggering 8.30 meters in length and 5.30 meters in width, the spectacular masterpiece depicts the sultan in a position that best captures His Majesty’s humbleness. As the sultan rarely makes public appearances, the 15 artists who worked on the project had only a photograph, taken by his private photographer, to work with.

Apart from its size, the world’s largest marble mosaic impresses through the fact that it’s made up of 128,274 individual marble pieces, using 90 natural shades of marble mined from the mountains and sea beds of Oman. Blocks of marble were meticulously chosen and mined exclusively for the project.

The team of 15 artists from the UK and Bahrain spent around 120 days carefully placing each tile in the intricate mosaic, working an exhausting 12 hours a day. The face of the sultan is incredibly detailed, and his mustache and beard are made from the sultan’s favorite stone, brought all the way from Italy. The face alone took the artists 40 days to complete.

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The Tech Junk Cities of Franco Recchia

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Italian artist Franco Recchia uses old computer parts to create his unique tech junk cities – mixed media sculptures that replicate famous metropolises.

Driven by a simple curiosity to see what is inside the computer case, Recchia takes apart old computers and uses their parts to create ingenious urban skylines. A “testament to what is beautiful, elegant and functional in the modern object” his tech-junk sculptures are made from various parts like radiators, old motherboards, various slots, and even case parts. These works of art are the artists way of showing that every thing made by the human hand has great beauty, if used in an original-enough way.

You can check out Franco Rocchia’s amazing tech-junk cities on ARTmine, where you can also purchase some of them. They are priced between $2,400 and $8,100, no the cheapest artworks you can find, but definitely among the most original.

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The Plastic City of Bang-Yao Liu

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Plastic City” is a colorful replica of Shanghai City out of cheap plastic objects bought by artist Bang-Yao Liu, on the streets of China’s bustling city.

While some may see just a bunch of colorful plastic objects, young Bang-Yao Liu went out of his way to create replicas of Shanghai buildings and landmarks. Scouting the streets of Shanghai for cheap plastic objects to use in his unique project, the artist used his experiences around the city as inspiration. Bins, plastic boxes, buckets, crates and other plastic things were used to create the Plastic City.

The 24-year-old Taiwanese artist created Plastic City as a commission piece for Converse, who wanted something that would show people it doesn’t take much to make the ordinary extraordinary.

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Gwen Murphy’s Incredible Shoe Faces

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Gwen Murphy is a brilliant artist who breathes new life into old shoes, by transforming them from fashion accessories into intriguing works of art.

Ever since she was a little girl, Gwen liked to look at shoes and found that they were staring back at her, each pair with its own character and personality. Depending on model and how worn out they were, some shoes sometimes looked sleepy, other times grouchy or fierce, some even looked like they were singing. Young Gwen perceived them as a species of beings made entirely from pairs of identical twins, and the fascination with shoes stayed with her all the way through adulthood.

Now, she collects pairs of worn out shoes and tries to bring out their personality, by literally giving them a face. She makes use of ash clay and acrylic paint to create bugged-out eyes, long faces and pouting lips, and gives each pair a unique face that expresses its unique character. Indian slippers have an exotic look, wooden shoes look blissful and primitive, while high heel shoes have somewhat of an arrogant look.

Gwen Murphy named her collection of shoe artworks “Foot Fetish” because she actually perceives shoes as fetishes (objects believed to have magical powers to protect or aid its owner). To her, they have the power to protect our feet and transport us from place to place.

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French Artist Sails Around the World in a Sinking Boat

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Designer Julien Berthier has been sailing around the globe in Love Love, a weird ship that looks like it’s about to sink.

Created back in 2007, Love Love is one of Berthier’s weirdest artworks. He actually cut a sailboat in half, sealed it with fiberglass and fitted it with two motors, which make it fully functional, despite its capsizing look. The 35-year-old designer says his ever-sinking sailing craft is perfectly safe and easy to maneuver, especially in calm waters.

As you can imagine, passers-by and fellow sailors don’t even know what to think when they first lay eyes on Love Love, especially when they see its captain so relaxed, while his boat appears to be heading to a watery grave. Berthier himself admits he has put the coast guard and harbor masters on full alert a few times, after people alerted them about a sinking ship.

Julien Berthier, who says he “wanted to freeze the moment just a few seconds before the boat disappears, creating an endless vision of the dramatic moment”, has sailed his sinking boat on many trips through famous harbors like London’s Canary Wharf, and France’s Normandy.

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Formula One Car Replica Made of Red Bull Bottles

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2010 was an exceptional year for Red Bull Racing, with Sebastian Vettel scoring the first Formula One World Championship title, in Abu Dhabi. To celebrate the event, Red Bull has created a life-size Formula One car replica, out of Red Bull bottles. The unique artwork is on display at a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, and is made up of 2,615 bottles of Red Bull energy drink.

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Leo Sewell and His Incredible Junk Sculptures

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Using various junk items he picks up from around his home town, Leo Sewell creates junk masterpieces collected by museums and art enthusiasts around the world.

As a child, Leo Sewell grew up playing with objects he found at the dump near his home. He would take them apart, and his parents would encourage him to put them back together. He followed their advice long after he became a grown-up and he now has 50 years experience in creating beautiful sculptures out of junk.

He spends most of his time scouring the streets of Philadelphia for discarded materials, and brings them all back to his workshop. Right now, there are over 100,000 items in his shop, organized into 2,500 categories, from corn holders to gold-plated shark teeth. No matter how weird or useless an item seems, Leo will find a place for it in one of his beautiful artworks. Both the frame and surface of his sculptures are made of junk objects, assembled with nails, bolts and screws.

Throughout his career, Leo Sewell has created over 4,000 trash sculptures, from life-size models of animals, to a 24-foot-long dinosaur or his amazing 40 foot Torch. His art is displayed worldwide, including in over 40 museums and in both private and public collections.

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The Mind-Blowing Origami Sculptures of Eric Joisel

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Eric Joisel was one of the most gifted origami artists the world has ever seen, and even though he recently passed away, he lives on through his amazing folded paper masterpieces.

Eric Joisel dedicated most of his life to art, in many of its forms, including drawing and sculpting. He took up origami in 1983, and just four years later had his first exhibition, in Paris. It was proof of his immense talent, but the French artist knew that it took a lot more hard work to take his art to the highest possible level. Whenever someone asked him how long it took him to finish one of his paper artworks, he would say “35 years, because that is how long it has taken me to get to this level.”

Unlike the paper boats or birds people usually associate with the art of origami, Joisel’s works are more like paper sculptures created from a single sheet of paper. The blueprint for a single figure could take several years to complete, and the folding process lasted hundreds of hours, but the result was truly magnificent. By dampening the sheet of paper, the artist could curve it into intricate shapes, allowing him to create details like furrowed brows or veined hands. Some of his larger creations, like the paper rhino you’re about to see below, were created from giant sheets of paper, measuring 15 feet by 25 feet (about the size of a studio apartment).

Although his works sold for thousands of dollars, Eric Joisel lived in a modern farmhouse, and spent several hours a day working on his origami sculptures. He died on October 10, 2010, from lung cancer. He was just 53 years old, and had so much more to give to the art world…

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The Edible Dresses of Sung Yeonju

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Sung Yeonju is a brilliant young Korean artist who took the art world by storm with her incredible series of dresses made of various foods, entitled Wearable Foods. Born in 1986, in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Yeonju graduated from the Hong Ik University in 2010, and has already made a name for herself by creating various garments out of foods like bread, red cabbage, tomatoes or spring onions.

She is a fine artist who uses photography as her main medium to create her vision. “Wearable Foods” series is the first long term project she started two years ago and it still continues to this day. This series deals with the concept of creating images that interchange the actual reality and the made-up reality on many levels. This body of work is her version of the made-up reality, which destroys the core meaning of clothing, which is the ability to be worn. This series of her work forces viewers to defy the actual meaning, functionality, and the aspects of what clothing signifies in our lives. The essence of clothing and food has been reinterpreted. Each element does not fulfill its own role and yet, each suggests an unconventional and even contradicting role – un-wearable clothing that is made out of the materials that do not last. Yeonju’s spectacular images make you believe and desire her made-up reality. She will be participating in an upcoming Korean Contemporary Art Group Exhibition in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit yeonju.me

I wonder if Sung Yeonju had something to do with Lady Gaga’s famous meat dress. Or maybe that was Dimitri Tsykalov’s work

 

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Environment Crisis Spawns Artworks Visible from Space

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Environmental organization 350.org has just kickstarted the world’s first global climate art project, where the Earth itself is the canvas for incredible artworks visible from space.

The worldwide exhibit includes sixteen art pieces in twelve different countries, but they all have the same purpose – raising awareness about climate change. Created just before world nations leaders gather in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN climate meetings, these giant artworks will catch the attention of everyone, including aliens, since they are visible from outer space.

Trying to get leaders to accept 350 parts per million as the target for stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, members of 350.org have organized the masses around the world into living works of art, visible from space. I’m not sure this is enough to impress corporation-controlled governments to do the right thing, but their efforts are definitely commendable. Take a look of what they achieved, below:

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Chinese Artist Showcases Venus de Milo Statue Made of Excrements

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Zhu Cheng, one of China’s most famous and talented sculptors, has helped nine of his art students to create a replica of Venus de Milo out of excrements.

Now, I know we’ve had quite a few strange art mediums here at Oddity Central, from garbage to chewing gum, but excrement has to be the weirdest one yet, by a long shot. Zhu Cheng helped and direct a team of nine art students to recreate the Venus de Milo statue out of feces. Now, the source doesn’t actually specify if we’re talking about animal or human excrements, but I’m pretty sure it’s the last one…A symbol of beauty created from something so disgusting, the idea is pretty cool, but I can’t help but be grossed out by the thought of having to mold feces into a statue with your hands.

Ad you can see in the photos, the excrement-made Venus de Milo is encased in a transparent box, to protect it, and make sure the smell of crap doesn’t drive everyone away from the exhibition at Henan Art Museum in Zhengzhou city, China.

But the most unbelievable thing about this “shity” statue of Venus de Milo is that it was actually bought by a Swiss art collector, for a staggering 300,000 yuan ($45,113). Talk about spending money on crap, right?

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An Art Eggcident in Leeuwarden

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like if giant eggs started falling from the sky, right in the middle of your city? Of course you haven’t, but Hank Hofstra has and he decided to show the whole world.

Dutch artist Hank Hofstra was tired of looking at boring old Zaailand, the main square of Leeuwarden and one of the largest in the Netherlands, and decided to do something about it. There had been lots of topics on making the landmark more appealing, but nothing had really been done about it. Remembering an old Dutch saying, “To lay down the first egg, you have to start with the first egg”, Hofstra decided to lay the first eight giant eggs, himself.

After meeting with local authorities and companies involved in the Art Eggcident, the artist and his team spent two days spray-painting the eggs, each one around 100 meters in diameter. As you can expect, the giant sunny-side-up eggs immediately drew the attention of passers-by, but reactions were very different. Hours after the Eggcident’s completion, 80% of people who saw it said it was hideous, but now, weeks later, 80% of people say it’s brilliant. Shops around Zaailand Square definitely appreciate Hank’s work, since it bought in tons of tourists and boosted their sales.

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The Ledger Paper Buildings of Jill Sylvia

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Artist Jill Sylvia uses ledger paper sheets to create amazing replicas of famous buildings, like the US capitol or the White House. One thing is for sure, you don’t have to like accounting to fall in love with her art.

Usually used to compile accounting information, ledger sheets become a very original art medium, in the hands of Jill Sylvia. Using a drafting knife, she removes the spaces where numbers are supposed to be, by hand, leaving only the grid separating the boxes. She then uses the resulting lattice to create intricate artworks, including models of American structures. I’d say it’s a great way of reusing a now obsolete material to create timeless artworks.

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The Chewing Gum Portraits of Jason Kronenwald

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Jason Kronenwald is an extraordinary artist who creates incredible celebrity portraits out of chewed pieces of bubblegum.

Gum Blondes” is a series of portraits of famous blondes, from Britney Spears to Madonna and even Hillary Clinton. Although I’m pretty sure he isn’t the first artist to do portraits of these stars, he is the first one to do it using only chewing gum. Jason Kronenwald executed his first chewing gum artwork in 1996, and over the years improved his technique to the point where you couldn’t guess the only medium is colored bubblegum. He recently opened a new exhibition of portraits, entitled “A Fresh Pack of Gum Blondes.”

While I’ll admit it’s hard to believe, Jason adds no dye to his chewing gum portraits. Colors and tones are obtained by simply chewing a variety of colored gum, regardless of their brand. He even has a team of chewers, so he doesn’t put any gum in his mouth, unless he absolutely has to. Each portrait is created on a plywood surface, which is then sealed with an epoxy resin that protects and preserves it for long periods of time.

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The Intricate Paper-Cut Maps of Karen O’leary

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They may not be as helpful as conventional maps, when you need to find your way through a metropolis, but Karen O’leary’s hand-cut paper maps are simply stunning to look at.

Karen O’leary is definitely one of the most patient people on the planet. She spends most of her days cutting away at thick white watercolor sheets of paper, until she creates jaw-dropping replicas of conventional city maps. While you could easily mistake Karen’s hand-cut maps with laser-cut ones, the amount of time and patience she puts into every one of her works makes them unique masterpieces. For each one of her maps, the artist spends a great deal of time drawing it in detail, and only after begins the painstaking process of cutting.

If you’d like to own one of Karen O’leary’s intricate hand-cut paper maps, you can find a wide range of cities, from Madrid to Sydney, at her online Etsy shop. While the $1,100 price tag may seem a bit discouraging, judging by the amount of effort Karen puts into her art, you’ll find it’s a bargain.

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