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Talented Artist Recreates van Gogh Paintings with Spices and Food Coloring

Cincinnati-based photographer, Kelly McCollam recreates classic paintings, particularly Vincent van Gogh’s, using salts, spices and food coloring.

You could say Kelly McCollam is literally spicing things up in the art world, with her original interpretations of van Gogh’s masterpieces. While most people use pinches of seasoning to make their cooking tolerable, the skilled photographer uses handfuls to create artworks. Her favorite materials include salt, food coloring and various spices, from cloves and onion chips to mustard and lemon powder. After carefully spreading the spices on a board and arranging them to best replicate van Gogh’s works, she photographs them and simply wipes them off. It’s kind of painful, considering the effort and patience that must go into something like this, but Kelly is a photographer, and that’s what she’s really all about. The grainy and flaky textures of the artworks really improves the quality and effectiveness of her photos, which become masterpieces in their own right.

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Chinese Chef Builds His Own Jeep with Just $600

Qu Zhibo, a chef from Zigong City, China’s Sichuan Province, spent three years and just 4,000 yuan ($628) building his own knockoff Jeep. His efforts have made him somewhat of an Internet celebrity, in China.

I was convinced Chinese car enthusiasts can be very resourceful when it comes to building their own dream cars after seeing photos of a young man working on his home-made Lamborghini, so Qu Zhibo’s achievement just comes as a confirmation. Because he was busy running his own restaurant, Qu Zhibo took three years to complete work on his 2-meters-long, 1.5-meters-high Jeep, but he did use just 600 bucks to do it. The car, which many Chinese netizens called a “knockoff Hummer” was actually inspired by an American military vehicle, and even though right now it pretty much looks like a pile of junk on wheels, a bit of camouflage paint could go a long way.

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Artist Makes Awesome Transformers Costumes from Household Goods

We’ve posted some pretty cool Transformers statues and costumes here, on Oddity Central, but the Brooklyn RobotWorks costumes created by artist/cosplayer Peter Kokis are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

When we look around the house, in our kitchens and bathrooms, most of us see a lot junk we don’t use very often, but Peter Kokis sees the perfect materials to build his über-awesome exoskeletons and thus bring our favorite Autobots to life. Looking at his creations for the first time, your jaw suddenly hits the floor as you stare in awe, but as Peter anticipates, looking a little closer you’ll eventually say “hey, I have those at home”. It’s hard to believe, but he’s somehow able to turn a common dog bowl into the perfect cannon muzzle and pooper-scoopers into realistic shins.

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Designer Creates Shirt That’s More Expensive Than a Car

The Royals of ancient times wore clothes that were studded with precious stones and metals. Now you can too, if you are ready to pay an arm and a leg, that is. Or just five million rupees ($97,500).

This pricey shirt was created by an Indian designer, Amitabh Chandel. A descendant of a royal family himself, he says he wanted to create a shirt suitable for today’s royalty. What makes the shirt so expensive is the fine silk it’s made of, and the diamond buttons, set in gold. The shirt is in fact part of an entire collection, the price range starting at around 50,000 Rupees ($950). He says that modern royal men, as well as commoners are welcome to place orders for the shirts. Mr. Chandel says claims these shirts are a perfect blend of the practical and the royal. Since traditional royal attire cannot be worn every day, these shirts allow a sense of richness to pervade regular clothing.

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Taiwan Trades Lottery Tickets for Dog Poop

This is perhaps one of the most innovative methods ever employed to keep a city clean. The authorities in New Taipei City, northern Taiwan, promised the citizens a  free lottery ticket, in exchange for each bag of dog poop they collect from the street and hand over.

It has become a common sight in the city now, several citizens cleaning up the streets. The competition was started in early August, and so far 14,000 bags of dog waste have been handed in. In fact, the response to the campaign has been beyond the expectations of the city’s environment protection bureau, according to one official. The top prize of the lottery draw was gold worth T$ 60,000 (US $2000). The second and third prize were T$18,000 and T$12,000 respectively.

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Art Critics Go Bananas over Paintings Made by Monkey

Pockets Warhol is a monkey who lives in a sanctuary near Uxbridge, Toronto. The monkey was named after American pop artist Andy Warhol, whom he resembles, with his wild white hair. But that’s not what he’s famous for. Pockets has a little art scene of his own going on. His paintings sell for as much as $300, and he even has a Facebook page.

The teenage monkey has been living in the sanctuary since his owner gave him up due to ill health. He was put in a rehab program that introduced him to non-toxic children’s paint, in order to keep him occupied. Volunteer Charmaine Quinn never realized that his work would one day become famous. She says that Pockets has the attention span of a 3-year-old, so it’s not always easy to get him to concentrate on a painting. But when he gets going, each piece sells for a minimum of $25. He loves working with bright colors, and the unique aspect of his work is that he doesn’t make use of a painting brush. Instead, he uses his bushy tail, furry butt, hands, feet and even tongue as tools. The paintings themselves are quite abstract, with colors splattered all over the canvas.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #21

7 Great Inventors Killed by Their Own Inventions (Environmental Graffiti)

LEGO Tourist Travels the World (Orange News)

Chinese Rapunzel Has World’s Longest Hair (Sina)

10 Incredibly Bizarre Art Installations (Oddee)

Stuntman Balances on His Head, on a Spike (Daily Mail)

Man Fakes Mother’s Obituary to Get Time Off (Huufington Post)

World’s 7 Creepiest Abandoned Zoos (Environmental Graffiti)

Totally Awesome Diablo 3 Body Costume (YouTube)

Japan’s Regal Dancing Monkeys (MyModernMet)

Taekwondo Finger Guy Is a handy Martial Arts Expert (Laughing Squid)

Mom Buys Realistic Baby Doll, Treats it Like a Real Baby

36-Year-Old Ashleigh Kirby is obsessed with her new-born baby, Finlay. Only, Finlay isn’t a real boy. In a story that strongly reminds us of Pinocchio, Ashleigh is emotionally attached to a realistic, life-size baby doll, even more than with her own daughter when she was born.

Ashleigh lives with her 12-year-old daughter Becky in Andover, Hampshire. She separated from her partner when Becky was just five. After trying several years, she lost hope that she would ever find a suitable man and have babies again. Describing herself as strongly maternal, she wanted to have a baby in the house at any cost. When Ashleigh came across the ‘reborn’ dolls online, she immediately placed an order for one, priced at £250. She has since spent hundreds of pounds on the doll, on clothing, nappies and more. She takes the doll out to the park for a walk in a stroller, cuddles with it and even takes it shopping, treating it just like a real baby. Sometimes other women come over to her to see the baby, mistaking it for a real one. Ashleigh says she just plays along.

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Twitter User Gives Modern Twist to the Nativity Story, Gains Massive Following

A Twitter user has taken on the identity of Joseph of Nazareth, to give us a perspective of what he might have been going through during the birth of Jesus Christ.

The work of an anonymous tweeter from Germany has attracted thousands of followers on social networking site Twitter. He goes by the pseudonym Joseph Von Nazareth. His profile page, joseph_von_naza, is aimed at re-inventing the nativity. He writes “We have heard the story a thousand times, but nobody has ever thought about how Joseph felt about the whole thing.” The tweets began on Dec 1 and are written in German. The tweeter intends to continue until Christmas, narrating the nativity in 140-character messages right until then. For now, his tweets are focused on his girlfriend Mary and her pregnancy. He has been in a state of turmoil ever since he found out about it.

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Woman Lives with Both Her Boyfriend, Her Lover and Their Baby

We’ve seen polygamy, same-sex marriages and even threesomes. But what about the polyamorous? Defined as the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved, Jaiya Ma’s relationships are a perfect example of this.

This is the bizarre story of Jaiya, aged 34, and her two lovers – Jon Hanauer, 49, and Ian Ferguson, 44, along with – get this – the baby she’s had with Ian. Confused? Let’s start from the beginning. Jaiya and Jon met in 2000 and lived together for six years, when Jon suggested that she take a new lover… Incidentally, they had met at a Tantric Yoga class and fell in love when they were training to be teachers. At the time, Jaiya was engaged to another man, Tony, who wasn’t comfortable in an open relationship and called it quits. She then lived with Jon in an open relationship the whole time.

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Extinct Bird Sculptures Made from Leftover Bones

Christy Rupp, an artist based in Chelsea, has created skeletons of extinct birds with the help of chicken bones that she collected over a period of time. Rupp describes herself as an ecological artist. She’s put up the sculptures for display at a museum called the “Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans.” Her goal is to draw attention to the number of species we humans have driven to extinction.

“In our lifetime, more things have gone extinct than in all of the time before us,” she said. Rupp is a vegetarian, and collecting chicken bones wasn’t easy for her. She started by rummaging through garbage cans at parties and barbecues. She would literally wait for people to throw out food, and sometimes get kids to help her too. Sometimes, she would wait for her friends to finish their meal, asking for the carcass as soon as they were done. She even went as far as putting an ad in a local circulation, asking people to save bones for her.

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Japan’s Creepy Hotel for the Dead

A hotel for the dead, now that’s something. This one is for real, actual corpses. And it’s pretty luxurious, going from the pictures. It’s a place where your folks check you in, and you wait it out until it’s time for you to be cremated. Also, it’s pretty luxurious.

The hotel Lastel run by Hisayoshi Teramura in Japan’s Yokohama suburbs, looks like any other building from the outside. In fact, young couples mistake it for a regular hotel and come asking for accommodation. But the place is not meant for lovers, or for weary travelers. Only for those who have already made their final exit from this world. The need for such a hotel very much exists in Japan, where there is a wait time of at least four days for a crematorium. With a total of 1.2 million deaths in the country in 2010, the annual death rate is at 0.95%, while the global average is only 0.84%. The Japanese also apparently tend to splurge on funerals, on the cost of flowers, coffins and memorial services. Mr. Teramura seems to have found a business opportunity in the area of death. Read More »

16-Year-Old Creates Dress from 4,000 Tea Bags

The latest in bizarre dresses has arrived. After paper napkins, newspapers, and even condoms, we now have a dress made of tea bags. This one was made by a 16-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, and she used a whopping 4,000 tea bags to create her masterpiece. She won the top prize at the Green Awards 2011 held in Kuala Lumpur in October.

Suraya Mohd Zairin is a science student from SMK Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. She says that she chose to make a dress out of tea bags because they were easily available to her. With the help of her friends, she was able to collect the 4,000 bags and then it took her three months to complete the dress. The theme followed by the budding designer was ‘flowers’, because their shapes have always mesmerized her.

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Leila’s Hair Museum Is a Tribute to Victorian Hair Art

Leila Cohoon of Independence, Missouri is a retired hairdresser. She now teaches hair weaving and runs her own cosmetology school. She is however, linked to hair in more ways than apparent. Leila collects hair art, and puts it all on display in her museum.

What is hair art, you ask? We wondered the same. Contrary to expectations, the museum does not display human hair in bunches, like the hair museum of Avanos, nor is the hair taken from the heads of the dead. Ask Leila, and she explains that hair art consists of intricate wreaths of hair set in frames to create beautiful designs. These frames were frequently used to decorate Victorian homes. Leila’s collection started in 1956, with wreaths and jewelry made from hair. Initially she stored her collection in her house, under the bed. Around 20 years ago, she decided to display them and started a one-room museum in her cosmetology school. She later rented out a commercial space and runs her museum there. The walls of Leila’s Hair Museum are completely covered from floor to ceiling, with hair art. Her collection includes over 300 wreaths and 2000 pieces of jewelry containing human hair.

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Students Take Up Boxing to Become Better Musicians

 The students of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., learn more than just music. In groups, they are asked to attend classes of a highly different nature. Classes that test and train them physically, and teach them the basic skills of boxing.

While it’s perfectly understandable that a musician may enjoy a little physical exercise, fitness is not a priority for these students. They have taken up boxing to improve their music skills. It all started when their professor, James VanDenmark, took up the sport himself. The world renowned double bass soloist says the classes had a remarkable difference upon his skills on the instrument. He reports better bow control, more confidence, stamina and energy. Intrigued, VanDenmark began to send a few of his female students to learn boxing, along with some conditioning and strength building. When they displayed the same results, he made this a regular feature with all his students. He now sends them in groups to Rochester gym ROC Boxing & Fitness to learn boxing basics and practice strength training. The students, he says, are now able to produce a bigger and more focused sound from the big instrument.

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