Bridget Polk – The Rock Lady of New York

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Bridget Polk is a New York resident who came to be known as the “Rock Lady”, by fellow New Yorkers who saw her amazing balancing rocks, on the banks of the Hudson River.

Polk, a 50-year-old personal assistant from the upper West Side, began experimenting with rock balancing about a year ago. The idea had been planted in her head a while ago, when a friend showed her the works of a rock balancing artist in Sausalito, and added that she probably couldn’t do it herself. Competitive by nature, Bridget took the comment as a challenge and began practicing rock balancing, on her daily walks along the Hudson River.

She soon found that she had a natural talent for the art of rock balancing, and that it inspired her and people who laid eyes on her works. And that’s understandable, because Bridget Polk’s rock balancing skills are truly remarkable, enabling her to stack rocks in seemingly impossible positions, with their wide ends in the air, balancing on a tiny tip.

When she sees photographers and passers-by admiring her rock balancing masterpieces, Bridget admits she’s tempted to walk up to them and say something like “I did that!”, but she prefers to just stand back and observe people’s reaction. Some of them knock down the rocks, to convince themselves they aren’t glued together, but most of them just try to add to her work or build rock stacks of their own. Regardless of their reactions, Bridget Polk says she feels happy about making any kind of contribution to their daily lives.

The Rock Lady of New York will soon be leaving the Big Apple, to live with her partner, in Portland, Oregon, but she has made sure her rock balancing legacy will live on even after she’s gone. She has been teaching some of her admirers the secrets of the art, and she’s certain that with a bit of practice, they’ll soon follow in her footsteps.

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The Wonderful Can Sculptures of Canstruction 2010

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Every year, dozens of teams of architects and engineers compete in creating the most impressive can sculptures for the Canstruction exhibition.

This year, 25 teams did their vest to arrange around 100,000 cans of food into detailed sculptures that would ultimately win them the title of Canstruction champions. The intricate works of art are on display at the World Financial Center Garden, in New York City, until November 22, and visitors are encouraged to donate canned foods like tuna, beans or vegetables. Once the exhibition closes, all the cans are donated to the poor people of New York, by City Harvest.

Last year’s Canstruction winner was a piggy-bank sculpture made from 3.024 cans of salmon and 24 cans of tuna, but this year, judges have a tough decision to make. They have to pick between mosaics of Marylin Monroe and Super Mario, a can-made van and several other mind-blowing creations.

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Ben Wilson’s Tiny Chewing Gum Masterpieces

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English urban artist Ben Wilson has made it his mission to make the streets of London more colorful, by painting every piece of old chewing gum he can find on the pavement.

Over the last six years, Wilson has been roaming the streets of London, looking for pieces of chewing gum to turn into miniature works of art. Spitting a piece of gum, rather than throwing it away in a bin, or at least using a tissue is definitely the wrong thing to do, but fortunately, an artist like Ben Wilson can turn the whole situation around, using his talent.

Wearing a paint-covered coat and carrying his trusty paint kit, Ben spends most of his days looking for suitable pieces of gum to turn into artworks. He needs them to be a bit old, so that they lack any moisture, then heats them up and applies lacquers. This makes a much better surface for his acrylic paints and hardens the piece of gum. He paints his own designs, but also gladly accepts commissions from passers-by or institutions like the Royal Society of Chemistry, who asked him to paint 118 themed chewing gum artworks, one for each of the known elements.

Each of his beautiful pavement masterpieces takes between a few hours and days to complete, depending on the level of detail. So far, Ben estimates he has painted around 8,000 pieces of gum throughout London, and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon, although his passion got him into trouble, a couple of times. He’s been arrested twice, but the charges were eventually dropped, since he wasn’t the one who threw the pieces of gum on the pavement, in the first place.

Ben Wilson’s chewing gum art have made him quite popular around London, and even in distant South Korea, where he was featured on a television show.

 

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The Hyperrealistic Paintings of Tom Martin

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Tom Martin is a young English artist who  makes use of acrylic paint to create the most amazing paintings. Looking at them you could swear they are simple photographs, but in reality they are painstakingly painted by hand.

Hyperrealism evolved from the “photorealism” movement of the 1970s, and it’s dedicated to making artworks that are “more real than real”. Hyperrealists try not just copy a photograph with paint, but emphasize elements that were not evoked by the original. 23-year-old Tom Martin is already one of the most respected hyperrealist artist in the world, with works featured in art exhibitions all around the world.

Just have a look at his amazing super-sized paintings and tell me if you’d have known they aren’t simple photos or computer generated images.

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Patriot Dedicates 10 Years to Sculpting Wooden Declaration of Independence

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Charlie Kestead, a talented woodworker from Johnstown, USA has spent ten years of his life carving the Declaration of Independence in dark walnut wood.

The giant wooden replica of famous document was completed a few months ago, after 10 years of constant labor. Kested would have probably finished it earlier, but a stroke forced him to abandon his project for a while. Although it impaired his speech and mobility, the dedicated woodworker continued work on his wooden masterpiece, as soon as he was physically able. Almost as tall as its creator, the wooden Declaration of Independence is an exact replica of the original document, down to the bottom signatures. Every letter and character was hand carved out of dark walnut and placed on a background of light Baltic birch, for contrast.

The 81-year-old retired teacher of industrial arts says it was a labor of love, despite the fact that it took most of his free time, during the last decade. He added that all of his efforts paid off when he was awarded first place and best in show at the 2010 Florida State Fair. Fellow woodmakers who saw Charlie Kested’s wooden Declaration of Independence were blown away by his unbelievable patience and attention to details. Every little bit of it is so precise, it’s almost impossible to believe it was done by hand.

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The Excel Drawings of Danielle Aubert

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Usually, Microsoft Excel worksheets look like endless rows and columns of important data, but artist Danielle Aubert makes them look like pixelated works of art.

By repurposing data software in a whole new way, Danielle Aubert manages to transform a tool into an original art medium. For each of her Excel paintings, Aubert crated a brand new worksheets, which were automatically set up as grids, and began tying with cell background color, fill pattern, border styles, as well as insert comment boxes, letters and characters.

So far, Danielle Aubert has created three series of her unique Excel drawings. She published a 16-day series as a book, she published a 58-day series on the Internet and created a time-lapse video of her 4.5-month series. You can view all of them on her official website.

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Unreal 3D Murals by Eric Grohe

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Eric Grohe is a well known artist who makes use of a technique known as trompe l’oeil to create jaw-dropping murals.

American artist Eric Grohe transforms common-looking structures into unbelievable works, and since uses keim mineral paint, his masterpieces can last for over a hundred years. He takes bland looking buildings, derelict walls and manages to give them a whole new life as unbelievable artworks. Each of the murals take Grohe and his two assistants up to a year to complete, as they spend a huge amount of time analyzing Google Earth and Global Imaging Satellites data, in order to get the shadows just right. He often also ads various real items to his 3D murals to make the illusion more believable.

 

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British Artist Turns Lost Hub Caps into Amazing Animal Sculptures

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Ptolemy Elrington spends his time collecting hub caps lost on the streets of Britain, and transforming them into impressive-looking animal sculptures.

To prove that “one person’s junk is another man’s treasure”, 43-year-old Ptolemy Elrington has chosen to use reclaimed materials, like hub caps, as the main medium of his art. After finishing college, the Bradford-based sculptor lived close to a sharp curve where cars would often lose their hub caps. He began collecting them from the roadside ditch, and planned to turn them all into an original suit of armor, but noticing they had a marine look about them, he decided to mold them into fish.

After he gave his first sculptures to his family, as gifts, friends started coming to him asking for some hub-cap sculptures of their own. Elrington realized the business potential of his art, and now spends most of his time creating animal sculptures in his workshop. Because his work materials are practically free, he only charges customers for his time, about 75 British pounds per day. His most expensive work so far, a 10 meter tall dragon made out of 200 lost hub caps cost 3,000 pounds, but most of his works are sold for a few hundreds.

A strong supporter of recycling, Ptolemy Elrington only uses discarded materials. He never buys hubcaps, he always uses lost ones, and even the wire used to tie the hubcap pieces together comes from the junkyard.

After seven years of hub cap sculpting, Elrington says he is a fan of luxury car hub caps, from BMW or Mercedes, because they can be flexed more,and hardly ever snap.

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The Scrap Metal Sculptures of Edouard Martinet

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French artist Edouard Martinet transforms metal pieces found at flea markets and car-boot sales into beautiful works of art.

Using a series of common metallic objects, from rusted kitchen pans, to old typewriter keys and car lights, Martinet manages to create intricate sculptures of fish, reptiles and insects. Without any soldering or welding whatsoever, the artist first draws up a few detailed sketches of what he wants to create, then begins a painstaking process of piecing the metal parts together, like a puzzle. As you can imagine, his scrap metal masterpieces take quite a long time to complete, but they are definitely worth the effort.

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Designer Turns Old Refrigerators into Beautiful Couches

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The Fridgecouch is the original concept of Canadian artist Adrian Johnson, who came up with the idea of combining used leather car seats with old refrigerators.

Adrian Johnson came up with the idea for his Fridgecouches in 2006, while searching for some stylish outdoor seating, for a wedding. It had to be relatively cheap and encourage people to relax and, as the artist puts it: “break free from the typical cliquey wedding scene.” A car enthusiast who’s always been trying to keep old cars running, Adrian went on one of his frequent trips to the junkyard, looking for spare parts. He stumbled upon a two-door BMW coupe, and noticed the cherry-red leather back seat was practically brand new. That’s when he knew back seats were exactly what he was looking for.

With part of his problem solved, Adrian spent that night thinking of something to put the car seat in that would have the same aesthetic look and could be found at a dump. His mind stopped at a refrigerator, and the next morning he rushed to the local dump, with a tape measure in hand. As he kept looking through the junk, his eyes got stuck on an old, almost perfectly preserved green olive refrigerator. The Fridgecouch was already born in his mind.

Fast forward to 2010, Adrian Johnson has only built three of his impressive-looking Fridgecouches, but hopes they will soon turn into a profitable business that will also teach people the value of reusing, instead of contributing to our world’s waste problem, by constantly buying brand new furniture from the store. Fridges and car seats are large scale wastes that are practically un-reusable and take a great deal of energy to crush and recycle. Through his concept, Adrian turns them both into a whole new product without wasting any energy at all.

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The Fat Monkey of Sao Paolo

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A giant sculpture looking like a fat, colorful monkey lying on its back, has become one of the most popular attractions of Brazilian city Sao Paolo.

The curious landmark has been featured on many spammy photo blogs around the Internet, in the last few days, but hardly any of them provided any real information about it. Luckily, I was able to find a link to the site of Fat Monkey’s creator, designer Florentijn Hofman.

Fat Monkey is a very interesting art installation simply because it’s made out of 10,000 colorful flip-flops, a true symbol of Brazilian beaches. It was created during the 2010 Pixelshow Design Congress, with the help of local art students. A part of the Obestias art series, Fat Monkey can now be admired on a lawn, close to the Pixelshow venue.

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Spice Skulls by Helen Altman

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Using common spices most of us put in our food, American artist Helen Altman creates all kinds of “spicy” lifesize skulls. She glues the various seeds together and molds them into human skulls that can be hanged as ornaments. I don’t now who would want to have this sort of thing around the house, but I’m sure they’d come in handy if you need to add some flavor to your food.

According to Designboom, her series of spice skulls explores “notions of reality versus artificiality in everyday life and the boundary between authenticity and absurdity”.

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5Pointz Aerosol Art Center – The World’s Premiere Graffiti Mecca

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5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is an outdoor art exhibit space where graffiti artists can exercise their artistic talent, legally. Dubbed a “an institution of higher burnin’ “, 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is viewed as the Mecca of the graffiti art world.

If you’re interested in discovering one of New York’s off-the-beaten-track attractions, 5Pointz should definitely be at the top of your priorities. An old factory converted into an outdoor graffiti museum, the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center features 200,000 square-feet of art covered space that will probably blow your mind. Practically every square inch of this once bustling industrial complex has been covered with colorful layers of graffiti paint, depicting everything from peace messages written in WildStyle to portraits of The Notorious B.I.G.

Provided they receive the approval of Jonathan Cohen, the curator of 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, any artist from around the world can leave their mark on the largest graffiti art exhibit in the world. Artists from Japan, Brazil and the Netherlands have contributed to the space, and if you visit here on weekends, between noon and 7 pm, you’re likely to catch graffiti artists at work.

So if you happen to be in New York, head to Long Island City and visit 5Pointz. It’s always free, it’s always open, and it’s always has some new art exhibits for you to discover.

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Sofa Made of Coins by Designer Johnny Swing

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Johnny Swing is a very original furniture designer who decided to give literal meaning to the phrase “sitting on cash” by building a series of sofas and chairs out of thousands of coins.

His latest creation, entitled “All the King’s Men” was made out of thousands of 50-cent coins, which makes it not only ridiculously uncomfortable, but also insanely expensive. Each coin was welded to a steel frame, which obviously takes a lot of patience, but considering Johnny has done it a few times before, it probably wasn’t that much of a problem.

While it’s not the kind of comfortable furniture you’d want to slouch on when you get home from work, Johnny Swing’s coin sofa is definitely something to look at, especially knowing that owning it is actually illegal in many countries.

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German Artist Sails on the Thames in a Paper Boat

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After carefully folding it on the banks of the Thames, artist Frank Bölter jumped into his origami boat and sailed it under the surprised gazes of passers-by.

Named “To The World’s End”, Frank Bölter’s paper boat was part of the Drift 10 art exhibition, in London. It was created out of giant sheets of paper that he and the public at the Canary Wharf Docks folded, using origami techniques. Reinforced with metal poles, the unusual sailing craft didn’t seem to sink, and its creator was so relaxed that he laid back and read a newspaper, while the public stared at him in awe.

This is not Frank Bölter first strange boat. In 2007, he put together a boat out of Tetrapack (the aluminum plated cardboard that milk cartons are made of) and sailed in it around Lauenburg harbour, in Germany. Just like “To The World’s End”, it was folded using origami techniques.

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