Cuban Sculptor Proves Tobacco Can Be Used for Better Things than Smoking and Chewing

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Janio Nunez is a talented Cuban artist who has the gift of making incredible sculptures exclusively from tobacco leaves. He creates works of art both tiny and life-size that prove there are better things to do with tobacco than smoking it.

Janio’s fascination with tobacco began as a little boy, watching his grandparents roll cigars at the factory. He started copying them and ended up becoming a tobacco leaf roller himself. He worked at the factory, but after passing evaluations, he was sent to Varadero, Cuba’s largest resort in Cuba, to roll cigars for tourists. Everything was normal until one day when something really strange happened. He began seeing his co-workers like they were made entirely of tobacco leaves. He would get scared and close his eyes, and when he opened them they were normal again, dressed in their regular clothes. Then would turn around and see another colleague sitting down, all made of tobacco (clothes, face, skin, etc.). This happened sporadically for about four months, and his friends even took him to see a doctor about his “problem”. That didn’t help very much, and realizing something was wrong with him, he decided to do somehow fix things himself.

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Seo Young Deok’s Bicycle Chain Sculptures Are Off the Chain

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You’ve probably sculptures made from bicycle chains, but I bet they’re nothing like the ones created by South Korean artist, Seo Young Deok.

The incredible ‘works of Seo Young Deok are clearly inspired by the shapes of the human body, but artists have been sculpting masterpieces based on our natural curves for hundreds of years. What makes this Korean designer special is the material he uses for his unique creations – bicycle chains. Miles of metal chains, to be exact, welded in such a way that they recreate the human body to the finest details. Deok says he finds inspiration for his art in crowded markets, and metro or bus stations, but also in Buddhist sculptures and paintings, which he has alway admired. “I like Asia Beauty” he says, “so most features of my work seem to take an Asiatic pose”.

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Hauntingly Realistic Human Figures Carved by Real-Life Geppetto

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Whether painted or sculpted, I’ve always found hyper-realist artworks fascinating, but Bruno Walpoth’s masterpieces are particularly impressive simply because they are carved from large pieces of wood.

I’m not saying working with other materials to create realistic shapes is easy, but turning something as rigid as wood into works of art that seem almost alive takes something truly special. Bruno Walpoth uses simple carving tools to turn pieces of wood (lime and walnut) into human sculptures with detailed features that seen from afar look incredibly life-like. Only on closer inspection does one notice the carving marks on their skin, left intentionally as quiet reminders that these mind-blowing figures are not human. “Contrary to Geppetto, who constructed himself a child (Pinocchio) out of a piece of wood to banish his loneliness, Bruno Walpoth attempts, perhaps out of awareness of life’s transience, to immortalize the volatile spark of youthfulness he catches in the eyes of his models – sometimes his own children – into a wooden sculpture,” Absolute Art Gallery‘s Diana Gadaldi says about Walpoth’s work.

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Would You Believe These Goldfish Are Actually Painted?

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Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori paints incredibly realistic three-dimensional goldfish embedded in layers of transparent resin. His artworks look more like photos of actual fish swimming peacefully in their little tanks.

Riusuke Fukahori’s work could best be described as a a combination between painting and sculpture. The talented artist creates his “living masterpieces”using a complex process involving layers of cast resin and acrylic paint. He patiently builds up his fish, layer by layer, adding transparent resin to create a realistic three-dimensional effect. Despite the tedious and complex nature of the artistic process, the end results are highly dynamic, capturing the animated life of the fish.

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Incredible Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

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Can’t find any use for those thick books lying around your house? Carve landscapes out of them! At least, that’s what Guy Laramee has been doing for some time now.

An interdisciplinary artist who has been practicing for 30 years now, Laramee has done several things in his lifetime, from stage writing to contemporary music, painting painting and literature. But the work he became most famous for is book sculpture. Rocky mountain ranges, bodies of water, islands and hidden caves, you name it,  he can bring it to life out of a book, in 3D. For instance, from a set of English and Chinese hardcover encyclopedias, he has created two series of stunning landscapes, named The Great Wall and Biblios.

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Italian Sculptor Creates Miniature Colosseum from 10,000 Corks

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61-year-old Ciro Califano, from Italy’s Nocera Inferiore, is one of the world’s most incredible artists, with the power to turn corks into beautiful works of art.

A former postal worker, who lived most his life traveling between Milan, Naples and Nocera, Ciro Califano has always had artistic ambitions. Even as a child, growing up in the Italian countryside, he always dreamed of exercising his talents and leaving his mark on the art world. And ten years ago, after his sons opened a local restaurant called “Cantina del Vescovo”(Bishop’s Cellar), he finally decided to exploit his gift as a sculptor. The fast accumulation of wine bottle corks was just the right pretext, and before he knew it, Ciro was creating cork miniature replicas of ancient wonders like the Roman aqueduct in Nimes, France, the Saracen Tower, the Church of Monte Albino, and many others.

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Belarusian Builds Impressive Car Part Bison Sculpture

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Roman Beybutyan, a young car enthusiast from the Grodno region of Belarus has built an impressive bison sculpture exclusively out of car parts.

Using shock absorbers, springs, steering rods, clutches, chains and various parts from soviet era cars like UAZ, Moskvich and Lada, Roman and his father managed to create a life-size metal bison, in three months. Roman and his father got all the parts they needed from their neighbors’ garages and from the local scrapyard, and welded them together using a photo for reference. Although the young boy, whose family arrived to Belarus from Armenia, has never seen a real bison, he did a fine job recreating one from metal parts.

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Mercedes Supercar Recreated from 10,000 Pieces of Scrap Metal

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Three German friends set out to recreate one of the most impressive cars ever made – Mercedes 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’ – out of pieces of scrap metal. It’s not drivable, but their replica is definitely easy on the eyes.

Armin Ciesielski, Peter Brakel and Walter Willer, three friends working at a German company called Giganten aus Stahl (Giants of Steel), decided to pay homage to one of the greatest cars ever made, by making a life-size model out of metal. The three sculptors sourced thousands of pieces of metal for their recycled masterpiece and spent seven months cutting and putting it together. Although Ciesielski claims he could rebuild any car out of crap metal, he admits this particular project was a rather difficult one because of all the intricate details and the work that went into making even the car’s engine identical to the original.

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Dutch Artist Makes Creepy Flower-Covered Skeleton Sculptures

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Amsterdam-based sculptor Cedric Laquieze decorates real cat and dog skeletons with colorful fake flowers to create some of the creepiest sculptures you’ve ever seen.

Flowers and skeletons make one strange combination, but that’s probably what makes Laquieze’s sculptures so intriguing, the contrast between morbidity and beauty. He takes cat and dog skeletons and applies various fake flowers on them to make them look…prettier. I don’t care how many flowers he glues on there, these skeletons are still creepy as hell, if you ask me. Originally hailing from France, Cedric Laquiez has specialized in using all kinds of dead things for his artworks, from animal and bird skeletons, to dead insects and plants. Head on over to his blog, if you’re into this stuff.

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Finnish Artist Uses Discarded Car Parts to Make Giant Sculptures of Cows

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Helsinki-based Miina Akkijyrkka has made a name for herself in the art world based almost exclusively on the image of the cow. Throughout her long career she has created various representations of the bovine that have managed to spun both interest and controversy.

Using the cow as inspiration for an art career may seem strange, but it makes a lot more sense once you take a look at her schooling history. She studied horses at the Equine College Ypäjä, then turned to studying dairy farming at the Dairy Farming School of North-Savo, before attending the School of Fine Arts of Finland. Miina is known as a protector of Finncattle, the native Finnish dairy breed, and even owns her own cows.

Asked about her relationship with cows, Miina Akkijyrkka told art21: My feelings for the cows are deeper than a mother’s feelings for her children, stronger than any feeling I have ever had for a lover, more than any other thing on earth; it’s like blood vessels. I share a placenta with cows. We share the same blood. I look at the world through a cow’s telescope. I have a tiny piece of macaroni through which I look at the world from a cow’s point of view. 

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The Awe-Inspiring Paper Sculptures of Allen and Patty Eckman

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Allen and Patty Eckman create detailed cast paper sculptures inspired by Native American culture, using a special technique they themselves invented.

Allen Eckman took an interest in art and design after returning from Vietnam, where he served as a Sargent. He attended the Art Center College of Design, where he met Patty, who obviously shared his passion for the arts. They married, had kids and managed an advertising company in the Los Angeles area for about 12 years, after which they decided they had had enough of their stressful careers and agreed it was time for a fresh start in something they were truly passionate about, art.

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Father Sculpts Giant Clay Head of His Daughter

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Indonesian artist Eddi Prabandono has created a giant clay sculpture modeled after the head of his 5-year-old daughter, Luz.

Tourists walking through Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, will be surprised to see a 4 meter by 4 meter child’s head made of clay, in a 2,5 meters-deep hole in the ground. It’s not exactly the kind of sight you normally see in Indonesia, but it’s definitely breathtaking to look at. Part of the “Luz Series” envisioned by Indonesian artist Eddi Prabandono, the giant head in question is actually modeled after the head of his daughter, Luz.

Although he had the help of 15 workers, Eddi also needed to rent an excavator to make the hole for his giant clay sculpture, but the 47-year-old artist is just happy he received the support of local authorities who allowed him to dig a hole right in Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. Luz’s giant head is made of 25 tons of special clay and was created for the 2011 edition of Jog Art, and artistic exhibition featuring 241 artworks by over 150 artists.

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Sweet Architecture: The Sugar Cube Sculptures of Brendan Jamison

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Brendan Jamison is a young contemporary artist who creates arguably the sweetest sculptures in the world, literally. His designs are top notch, but its the sugar cubes he uses as building material that make his works irresistible.

31-year-old Jamison, from Belfast Northern Ireland, first started using sugar cubes as building blocks for large scale buildings in 2004, when he created a series of 9-foot-tall minaret-style buildings. They caused quite a stir in the art world, and even caught the eyes of building developers, many of which commissioned him to create sweet models of their architectural projects.

Although he has worked with a variety of materials throughout his artistic career, including  bronze, wood and wool, it’s safe to say it was his sugar-cube creations that brought him international recognition. “Sugar is a beautiful material to work with, it can be cut and carved into organic shapes, and the sugar crystals can provide a sparkling surface in natural light”, Jamison says about his favorite medium.

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Italian Artist Recycles Found Objects into Colorful Sculptures

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the work of Italian artist Dario Tironi is evident proof. While most people look at discarded objects and see only trash, he sees precious materials for his beautiful sculptures.

Old toys, discarded computer components, broken calculators, even plastic bottles, they’re all part of Tironi’s recycled universe. Similar to Robert Bradford, who uses old toys for his sculptures, and Leo Sewell,  the young Italian artist manages to glue together various junk items and create detailed sculptures of people and animals, and gives everyone who sees his art a whole new perspective on the concept of recycling.

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China Inaugurates Park Made Entirely Out of Clay

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A unique cultural park made entirely out of clay has recently been open to the public, in Tangshan City, China.

Featuring rows of houses, busy streets filled with vendors and their carts, high ranking officials and horse-pulled carriages, the park is a reproduction of Zhang Zerui famous scroll painting Riverside Scene during the Qingming Festival. The man behind this unique project is a local from the city’s Fengrun District, named Qin Shiping. Tangshan has along standing tradition in ceramics, and Qin worked as a sculptor and painter ever since he was a young boy. In 2005, he got the idea to offer a unique view on China, and since he had always been a fan of Zhang Zherui’s painting, he decided to recreate the images depicted in the artwork with clay sculptures.

Qin Shiping put his idea into practice in 2008. He hired two clay sculpture experts with plenty of experience behind them, and 100 more regular clay workers who got started on the project. Three years later, the Tangshan clay sculpture park has finally been completed and opened to the general public. It’s 300 meters long and 60 meters wide and has been built at 2/3 life-size scale. The exact cost of the park hasn’t yet made public, but back in 2009, Qin Shiping stated he had already invested over 10 million yuan ($1,545,000).

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