Sandy Sanderson’s Beer Can Automobiles

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Sandy Sanderson is a resourceful New Zealand artist who uses empty soda and beer cans to create detailed models of famous automobiles.

England-born Sandy was trained as a draughtsman, but later became a Technology teacher and emigrated to far away New Zealand. Here he pursued his interest in building airplane, car and bike models, until the age of 40, when he joined a local band and started playing bass guitar. This made him change from building models to making electric string instruments.

Unfortunately, a bike accident shattered one of his wrists and his dream of retiring as a luthier. After surgery, he was still able to use his hand, ride a bike, but the sensitivity and fine control needed to play bass and follow his dream were gone. But it was during his recovery period that he discovered a new hobby – looking at some Coruba and Coke cans he remembered seeing some beautiful aircraft models made from aluminum cans, only they had the plain silvery side on the outside. This didn’t make any sense to him, as the whole point of using such a resource would be to show it to the world and celebrate it instead of hiding it.

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Disabled Artist Creates Detailed Artworks Using Only His Mouth and Right Foot

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41-year-old Huang Guofu, from Chongqing, China, has learned to master the paintbrush with his mouth and right foot, after he lost both his hands in a childhood accident.

Huang Guofu lost his arms in terrible electric shock accident, at the tender age of four, but that didn’t stop him from following his dreams, and at age 12 he began painting with his feet. The talented artist remembers that in the beginning, his artworks didn’t look at all like what he intended to paint, but as the years went by his skills improved considerably. Huang quit his studies when he was 18, as his father was very ill and he needed to make money for his treatments. He started travelling to other Chinese cities, creating beautiful paintings on the side of streets and selling them to passers-by.

It was during his art travels that he began using his mouth to paint, after hearing some comments that painting with one’s leg isn’t very elegant. He put a brush in his mouth and started painting. During a trip to a city in China’s Sichuan Province, Huang Guofu met Hu Guoui, a woman who quickly fell in love with his strong will and artistic talents, and the two got married in 2000. Since then, she has become his assistant, carrying his canvas and tools, whenever he needs to paint a scene on location.

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Polish Woodcarver Makes Functional Bicycles Exclusively from Wood

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Slawomir Weremkowicz, a 59-year-old former plumber from Poland, creates functional bicycles using only wooden components.

The talented woodcarver from Biala Podlaska says he had always wanted to be an artist, and since God gave him the talent of carving wood, he he thought he should do something amazing with it. So he decided to go greener than green and create a series of wooden bikes for which he didn’t use a single gram of metal or plastic. Simply looking at a piece of wood, Slawomir can already envision how he’s going to turn it into one of his bicycle parts, and using simple woodcarving tools like chisels and saws he does just that.

The seat, steering, even the pedals and chain are made only from a variety of wood (oak, ash, beech and plywood) and if you’re looking for screws holding them together, don’t bother, as Slawomir Weremkowicz only uses wooden pegs. Carving an entire wood bicycle is a lengthy process which takes about a year, but when he looks at his completed “wooden dinosaurs”, as he likes to call them”, Slawomir doesn’t regret the time he puts into his work.

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Chinese Pavilion Made Entirely from 668 Abacuses

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Showcased during an abacus-themed exhibition held in the Chinese city of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, this large pavilion model is made from 668 different-size abacuses. Used as a calculating tool centuries before the adoption of the written numeral system, the abacus is a big part of Asian culture, and is still widely use by merchants and clerks around Asia and Africa. Apart from the impressive abacus pavilion, visitors at the exhibition could admire over 100 abacuses, from the simplest to more complex versions.

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Embroidered Eggs – The Coolest Thing This Easter

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Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes another mind-boggling art form that you didn’t think existed and probably never even imagined. This time it’s embroidered eggs.

I can say I’ve seen my share of wonderful Easter egg artworks, including intricate eggshell sculptures, colorful Easter Egg mosaics, an Easter Egg Tree and even an Easter Egg theme park, but I had never seen something as beautiful and original as these embroidered eggs. It’s something I know I will never be able to do, but like Mary Corbett says, it’s amazing to know someone out there did do it.

I know they look pretty unbelievable, and at first glance you’d be tempted to think the embroidered motifs are done separately and glued on the eggs, but after taking a closer look you notice the holes, and realize these are real embroidered eggs. I don’t know who invented this incredible technique, but I’m pretty sure they require years of practice and a lot of patience to create. So, even though Easter 2011 is behind us, you can start practicing now, and you might just have something to brag about to your friends, next year.

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Toast Mona Lisa Mosaic Is a Labour of Loaf

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English toast artist Laura Hadland used 10,080 pieces of toasted and regular bread to create an impressive mosaic of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Remember that awesome giant toast portrait we featured a few months ago? Well, that was also Laura’s doing, and now she’s back with even more toast goodness. This time she traveled to Matera, Italy’s “City of Bread”, to create an edible replica of the famous Mona Lisa. It took a big effort on Laura’s part, because the slices of bread were larger than the 10 x 10 squares she had already printed as a blueprint, so every piece of bread had to be trimmed to size. Which wasn’t easy, since the more toasted the bread is, the more likely it is to shatter when trimmed. But her experience with toast mosaics paid off and she managed to create a delicious looking Gioconda.

The mosaic measured 9 meters by 11.2 meters and numbered 10,080 slices of bread, a combination of plain white bread, toast, and slices covered with dark and milk chocolate. It was made entirely from edible materials, in deference to the hunger caused by natural disasters in Japan. The toast Mona Lisa was made for a Japanese television show featuring the actresses who form MoriSanchu, whatever that is.

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Incredible Etch-A-Sketch Artworks by George Vlosich

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Placed in the hands of a great artist, even a children’s toy like Etch-a-Sketch can become a powerful tool able to deliver mind-blowing masterpieces. Case in point – George Vlosich

George has been drawing since he was two years old, but it wasn’t until he got his hands on an old Etch-a-Sketch, in 1989, that he discovered his unique talent. He and his family were getting ready to go on a trip to Washington D.C., when they decided to drop by grandma’s house to say goodbye. His mother found her 1960’s old Etch-a-Sketch and gave it to George and his brother, so they wouldn’t get bored in the car. The ten year old artist etched a picture of the U.S. Capitol, and when his parents saw how detailed it came out, they pulled up at a nearby gas station and took a picture of his work, before it got erased.

In the beginning, Vlosich Etched a lot of simple things like Batman, Spiderman, and pretty much anything he took interest in, and before long the Etch-a-Sketch became the favorite way of expressing his artistic talents. The more he Etched, the better he got at drawing, and the more he drew, the better he Etched. At first, his works didn’t take himvery long to complete, but the more complicated his art became, the more time he had to dedicate to them. Now, every one of his Etch-a-Sketch artworks takes him between 70 to 80 hours to finish.

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Designer Makes Furniture from Discarded Electronics

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Benjamin Rollins Caldwell of BRC Design recycles old computer components by using them to create original pieces of furniture.

Discarded electronics are a major problem for the environment, and there’s no better example than China’s Guiyu electronics waste site, but some people come up with original ideas that make recycling them look easy and cool. Take Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, who’s Binary Collection features pieces of furniture any computer geek would love to have in their home.

For the Binary Low Table, the designer used bent computer tower cases as a basic frame, and proceeded to add various computer parts like motherboards, computer chips, LED displays and hard-drives, until the structure was completely covered. Even the glass panels were salvaged from an old warehouse. For the Binary Chair 01 and Binary Chair 02, Caldwell used a frame made of an old industrial printer, covered with a collage of electronics. Apart from being completely functional and visually appealing, the Binary Chairs also have an interactive quality, as the various buttons and keys can be pressed, the hard-disks can be spun and the antennae raised.

So why dump a bunch of toxic electronics in a landfill when you can create something as beautiful as BRC’s Binary Collection?

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Marker-Wielding Artist Turns Rooms into 3D Installations

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German artist Heike Weber uses dozens of permanent markers to completely transform a dull space into a mesmerizing three-dimensional environment.

The artist starts out by drawing her loopy shapes on sheets of paper, then proceeds to making them permanent by repeating the process on a room’s floor, ceiling and walls, with markers. I can’t imagine how much patience you need to do all the drawing by hand, considering you’re pretty much tracing the same lines over and over again, but I guess that’s just one of the qualities that make Heike Weber a great artist. What’s even more impressive is some her installations are larger than 5,000 square feet.

Apart from using the marker’s colors, Weber’s technique allows her to control the white space between the lines, creating a three-dimensional world that somehow feels alive. I can’t imagine anyone being able to live in a space that seems to be constantly flowing around them, but if you can’t make up your mind about how to decorate your home, maybe you should try a permanent marker and unleash your artistic talent. This guy did it, and it turned out pretty darn amazing.

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Artist Draws Portraits Using the Ashes of Her Subjects

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Raven J. Collins thinks she may be the only artist in the world to brush the raw ashes of a deceased person onto a pencil portrait.

Using ashes as a medium is a growing trend in the artwork, but while some are mixing it with paint to create abstract works, moulding them into bizarre sculptures, or even compressing and using it as pencil filling (like lead), Raven Collins uses the ashes to create commission portraits of the deceased, whether they be human or animal. She’s only been doing it for a while, but ash-portraits already make up 90% of her business.

As cremation becomes the more popular option in the funeral industry, the number of choices of what to do with the ashes also increases. Some people prefer to keep them in a fancy urn, others spill them into the ocean or over a peaceful pasture, but more and more people opt to incorporate their loved-ones’ remains into various artworks. Artists like Raven sometimes get referrals from funeral homes, but most of their advertising is word of mouth and online exposure.

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Insane Puzzle Collages by Gerhard Mayer

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Gerhard Mayer, a talented artist from Nürnberg, Germany, uses thousands of puzzle pieces to create incredibly beautiful collages.

If you’ve ever tried to complete a common jigsaw puzzle you know how hard and time consuming it could be. Now imagine you have to assemble dozens of puzzles into a gigantic one that actually looks like a scenery taken out of a fantasy novel. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong, and Gerhard Mayer’s intricate works prove it can be done, provided you have loads of talent, patience and time on your hands.

Up to 18 meters in size, sometimes covering entire gallery walls, Mayer’s gigantic mosaics are made of thousands of colorful pieces carefully pieced together to create breath-taking images. The artist uses a special technique that includes creating multiple layers of puzzle pieces over already completed sections to create an entire new landscape, and putting together multiple puzzles in an imperceptible way. Gerhard Mayer places all the pieces by hand and uses no other type of coloring other than that of the puzzles.

The artist says he tries to create children’s worlds to heal the world of adults.

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Hungarian Collector Shows Off World’s Smallest Library

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Jozsef Tari has been collecting miniature books since 1972, and is now the proud owner of over 4,500 literary works, including the world’s smallest book (2.9 x 3.2 mm).

A printer by trade, Tari has always been fascinated by the written word, and in 1972 he began collecting miniature books. Most of the items in his collection are in Hungarian, but he also has quite a few from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Japan. Ironically, he only has a few books from the countries neighboring Hungary. As far as topics are concerned, Jozsef Tari is interested in everything from religion to sports, literature and even cooking, but he only collects books that are 76 mm in size, or smaller. His collection features books that are over 100 years old, but his most prized miniature is the world’s smallest book – it measures only 2.9 x 3.2 millimeters and fits into a nutshell.

Apart from the 4,500 books in his collection, Tari also has 15 kinds of miniature newspapers, including the smallest in the world, which measures only 19 x 26 mm.

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The Crunchy Cereal Art of Ryan Alexiev

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American artist Ryan Alexiev uses different kinds of cereal to create colorful mosaics,from portraits like that of Barrack Obama to recreation of popular artworks.

Cereal is America’s number one breakfast choice and the third most popular product in supermarkets, so it makes sense why Alexiev chose it as a medium to examine the ideology of American consumerism, through his art. He hand places thousands of crunchy cereal bits to create detailed mosaics that literally look  good enough to eat.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Alaska by two Bulgarian immigrants, Ryan Alexiev has worked with a lot of materials over the years, but he is mostly known for his cereal mosaics and landscapes like the Wizard of O’s and The Land Of A Million Cereals.

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Artist Creates Sculptures from His Own Chewed Nicotine Gum

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Slovak artist David Havetta has created a collection of unique sculptures from thousands of nicotine gum pieces he chewed himself, while trying to give up smoking.

The 65-year-old artist says he started smoking as a young boy, but decided to quit about 25 years ago, so he searched for alternatives to keep him busy and away from cigarettes. At one point he discovered nicotine gum, but had no idea it will eventually become the main medium of his unique art. During work, David started sticking the chewed up pieces of gum on a pen holder he had in his office until he formed one big lump. When he pressed his finger on it he noticed it was good, malleable material, so he decided to try and sculpt it, out of boredom.

Havetta’s first chewing gum artwork was the head of a woman, and he liked working with the material so much that he spent the next few months creating a body for it, as well. It took a lot of time and a total of 500 pieces of nicotine gum, but for the artist it was all worth it. Just so you realize how long it takes to make one of his nicotine gum sculptures, you should know David has only created a few dozens of them in the last twenty years. They include a horse, flowers and even an old table clock modeled after The Toilet of Venus by Diego Velasquez. They are all made of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces of gum.

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Students Recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night with 8,000 Bottle Caps

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Two students from the University of Virginia have created a pixelated replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” using around 8,000 colorful bottle caps.

I don’t know how they got their hands on so many bottle caps, but I’m sure Ross Thomas and Elizabeth Farrell made quite an impression on their teachers and colleagues when they unveiled this recycled version of Starry Night. Around 8,000 bottle caps were used to complete the 7′ by 9′ masterpiece, but although the number itself is pretty impressive, what I find most amazing is how they used the colors and logos of the caps in just the right places to create a beautiful artwork.

I don’t know what it is about Van Gogh’s masterpiece that bottle cap artists love so much, but I think it just might be the most bottle cap reproduced artwork in history. Take a look at some other versions of Starry Night, at the bottom.

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