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Artist Creates Detailed Portrait with 20,000 Sunflower Seeds

Shanghai-based artist Hong “Red” Yi is well known for her use of unconventional materials, and her latest masterpiece – a portrait of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made with 20,000 meticulously arranged sunflower seeds – is worthy of her reputation.

Inspired by Ai WeiWei’s quote – “the seed is a household object but at the same time it is a revolutionary symbol” – Red sprinkled 20,000 sunflower seeds onto a white canvas and painstakingly arranged them all by hand to recreate Weiwei’s famous portrait with his hands stretching his eyes wide open. Remarkably, she managed to capture his features in great detail, just like she had managed to do with other unusual mediums in the past.

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Swedish Artist Creates Incredibly Realistic Drawings with Thousands of Tiny Dots

23-year-old Julia Koceva has taken the internet by storm with her impressive drawings created using an old technique known as stippling – creating pattern and applying varying degrees of solidity or shading to it by using small dots.

A criminologist by day, Koceva spends her nights working on her amazing drawings. She takes between 40 and 100 hours to finish a piece, painstakingly applying tiny black dots to a large piece of paper, using nothing but a ballpoint pen. As Alphonso Dunn, author of “Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide,” says, stippling creates a unique texture but requires patience and a meticulous approach. It’s a technique that requires nerves of steel and mountains of patience, but the end results are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

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The Awe-Inspiring Salt Portraits of Rob Ferrel

A true artist doesn’t really need expensive tools and materials to produce something beautiful, and San Antonio artist Rob Ferrel is the perfect example. For months, he has been treating his Instagram followers with  highly realist portraits that he creates using nothing but salt, a few brushes, and a piece of cardstock.

Ferrel begins by pouring salt on a table and then moves it around with brushes until recognizable features begin to emerge. He also uses cardstock for clean, sharp lines. Once the portrait is ready, he photographs it and posts it to Instagram, and then gathers up all the salt to make his next masterpiece.

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Chinese Barber Uses Leftover Hair to Create Insanely Realistic Portraits

Li Hailing, a barber from Lingbao, in central China’s Henan province, uses leftovers from his day job to fuel his real passion – art. He collects the hair that he cuts at his salon and, in his spare time, arranges the thousands of strands to create stunningly-realistic celebrity portraits.

Li, whose inspiration comes from sand painting, uses the same techniques for his hair paintings – he sprinkles hair onto a canvas with his hands and arranges them until recognizable portraits emerge. There is no glue involved, so the hair can all be blown off with a simple swift wave of the hand, leaving nothing behind on the canvas. Li photographs each piece of hair art before he destroys it and moves on to the next. It takes him a minimum of two hours to finish each hair painting.

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The Amazing Ballpoint Pen Portraits of Enam Bosokah

Using only a simple ballpoint pen, Ghana-based artist Enam Bosokah creates stunningly realistic portraits of prominent African personalities.

“A lot of guys have already made their name using pencil, so I decided to use a pen,” Bosokah said in an interview with Anadolu Agency. “A lot of artists avoid pens because of the irreversibility (i.e., the inability to erase), but I believe it is one of the easier tools to work with. When I use the pen it is like I am adding to the paper – I can’t take it back,” he explained.

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Artist’s Painted Portraits Look More Like High-Definition Photographs

Italian artist Marco Grassi paints portraits of women that are so perfect, down to the fine hair lines, pores and freckles on the skin that people often mistake them for photographs.

However, Grassi differentiates himself from other hyper-realist painters by giving his artworks a surreal twist. In one painting, for example, his subject’s back is adorned with a tribal motif that seems carved into her back revealing a hollow interior. Other of his ‘surreal hyper-realistic” include a woman with spectacular glowing tattoos that seem to emerge from her skin, or another with a futuristic glass necklace around her neck. Although his human subjects appear photographed, it’s these little impossible details that give them away as paintings.

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Artist Creates Fluffy Celebrity Portraits with Dog Hair

Colombian-American artist and opera singer Mateo Blanco was in the news late last year for creating three celebrity portraits out of the most unusual material – dog hair! Blanco revealed that he was listening to Lennon when inspiration struck, and he decided to honor the three late singers with dog hair purchased from a local groomer.

The portraits – of musicians John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix – were purchased by Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment and unveiled at Ripley’s Odditorium on December 12. The Michael Jackson portrait is still on display in Orlando, while John Lennon is currently at Ripley’s Mexico City, and Jimi Hendrix at Ripley’s Key West Odditorium.

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Every White Line in these Ultra-Realistic Animal Portraits is Just a Scratch

We’ve seen highly talented artists burn paper, roller skate, and even kick a football around to create art. But here’s something new – Illinois artist Allan Ace Adams actually scratches away at paper to create breathtaking animal portraits. It’s called scratchboard art, and it involves using an exacto knife to scrape away a top layer of black ink off the canvas to reveal the white clay underneath.

A scratchboard is actually a hardwood board coated with a thin layer of porcelain clay. Another thick layer of black ink is added on top of the porcelain, which the artist has to scratch off in order to create an image. “I explain to people that I’m scratching in the highlights instead of the ‘darks’ like you would with a graphite drawing,” Adams wrote on his website. “Shades of gray can be achieved by how much ink is removed or by applying an ink wash. The ink wash can be scratched back though to reveal the white once again.”

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Artist Creates Awe-Inspiring Portrait with 20,000 Teabags

Shanghai-based artist ‘Red’ Hong Yi has made a name for herself in the art world by creating larger-than-life portraits of celebrities using unconventional materials. For her latest masterpiece Red used 20,000 teabags to depict a tea maker practicing his trade.

To create the incredibly complex portrait, Hong Yi stained the tea bags individually by steeping them in hot water, to create 10 different shades of brown. Hong managed to achieve this level of color variation by changing the boiling temperature for every teabag and the amount of water used. For the really dark tones, she used food dyes. Once the tea bags were ready, she carefully arranged them to form the portrait, then stapled and attached them to wiremesh before hanging them from a wooden frame.

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The Shockingly Realistic Sculptures of Kazuhiro Tsuji

We’ve featured a lot of hyper-realistic paintings on OC in the past, but here’s something we haven’t seen very often – unbelievably realistic human busts. These 3D sculptures are so life-like that they could give Madam Tussauds a run for their money. They’re the work of Japanese artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, who employs a variety of mold making and sculpting techniques to create his wonderful art.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Tsuji began to display an affinity towards art, painting, photography, nature, science and technology since childhood. Growing up, he experimented with various media, and finally discovered that ‘portraiture’ was his real passion. But with no money to attend college, Tsuji began to educate himself in the art of special effects makeup.

It all started when he came across a magazine that detailed the makeup techniques used in the 1976 TV mini series Lincoln. Inspired by the intricate craftsmanship, Tsuji gathered his meagre savings and used it to buy makeup supplies. “I took a life cast of myself and attempted to transform myself into Lincoln, which was all the more difficult considering I’m Japanese” he recalled.

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Artist Turns Discarded Paintbrushes into Elegant Female Figures

San Francisco-based artist Rebecca Szetto uses paintbrushes to create her amazing artworks, but not in the way you would expect. Since 1999, she has been carving the handles of old discarded paintbrushes and turning the essential painting tools into actual works of art.

Rebecca’s unique project began almost 16 years ago, while working as faux painting artist, which basically involved making things look old. “I’d amassed a hefty amount of eco-guilt from the sheer amount of waste, in both material and labor, I witnessed. I began collecting brushes and sandpapers from jobsites for many years with no particular end in mind,” she told Bored Panda. Eventually, she decided to either throw away the used paintbrushes or somehow make use of them, as she was running out of storage space. So she started carving the handles into busts of refined Renaissance women, with the paint-covered hairs acting as elegant gowns.

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Awesome Pixelated Portraits Made with Thousands of Expertly Arranged Paint Swatches

Peter Combe is a San Francisco-based visual artist who specializes in creating three-dimensional artwork using nothing but paint swatches, hand-punched into small disks. Using his special technique, Combe creates stunning pieces that range from abstract pattern-based compositions to highly realistic pixelated portraits with a vintage photograph-like quality.

Combe has a huge collection of paint swatch disks of over 1,100 colors that he has organized based on tonal increments and light-reflecting values. This enables him to think of tones rather than colors while working. To create a piece, he fits these disks into bezel-cut grooves on a specially prepared archival material, with the aid of a vintage operating-theater lamp.

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Multimedia Artist Creates Portrait of Nikola Tesla Using Electricity

To pay tribute to Serbian inventor and electrical engineering genius Nikola Tesla, artist Phil Hansen recently created a portrait of him using only electric sparks.

A time lapse video of Hansen creating the painting shows him connecting a couple of wires to a large battery. He then brings the two naked ends of the wire together to produce sparks. He uses the sparks to create burn marks of varying darkness on paper, creating the eyes, nose and other features of Tesla’s face until the mind-blowing portrait is complete.

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Alzheimer-Suffering Artist Drew His Self-Portrait for Five Years until He Forgot How to Draw

When American artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1995, he decided to make the best use of his limited time and memory. He began to use his art to understand himself better – for five years, he drew portraits of himself before he completely forgot how to draw.

Through this unique series of self-portraits, viewers can observe the London-based artist’s quiet descent into dementia. As the terrible disease took control of his mind, his world began to tilt and his perspectives flattened. The details in his paintings melted away and they became more abstract. At times, he seemed aware of the technical flaws in his work, but he simply could not figure out how to correct them.

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The Photo-Like Paintings of Hyung Jin Park

Korean artist Hyung Jin Park uses photographs as inspiration to create equally realistic paintings of young Asian women. He generally paints bust-length portraits of a monumental scale, up to seven feet high, depicting women at close range. The hair, lips, eyes and skin are painted with a high level of precision, making them unbelievably real. His photorealistic technique is so accurate that once he completes a piece, it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a high-resolution photograph or a painting.

But Park’s work can be identified if you are aware of his signature style. He often makes distortions of the women he’s painting, like enlarging the eyes or shrinking the chin, to give them an otherworldly look. He also gives the women a universalized, glazed appearance, softening features just like in Oriental ceramics. So his paintings do appear to be like photographs, but they’re also rather surreal. And although the artist chooses his subjects from among his students, the women in his paintings are really quite different from the real-life inspiration.

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