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Artist Creates Detailed Cardboard Busts of Famous Figures

Scott Fife is an American sculptor well-known for his incredibly detailed busts of popular icons, made only from archival cardboard, drywall screws and glue.

Scott says he has been working with cardboard for the last 25 years, and he remembers he first decided to use it purely for economic reasons. He would find cardboard boxes on the streets, cut them up into pieces, paint on them and create unique artworks, but the high acid content of cardboard meant the lifespan of his works could be limited, so he eventually switched to archival cardboard. He liked the coolness of the blueberry coloring from the beginning, and it wasn’t that much different to work with than ordinary cardboard, so archival cardboard became his favorite material.

The cardboard busts Scott Fife creates look so realistic, it’s hard to believe he uses only low-tech tools. All he really needs is loads of archival cardboard, an Xacto knife, drywall screws, a screw gun, and glue.

Seattle-based Fife has been exhibiting his works across America since 1976, and while his technique hasn’t changed much since then, his incredible cardboard art is just as fresh and popular today as it was back then.

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World’s Most Expensive and Amazing Children’s Beds

Every parent wants the best for his child, but would you pay the price of a luxury car to get them the fantasy bed they’ve always dreamed of?

Posh Tots, a company that makes “the most extraordinary children’s furnishings in the world”, is offering you the chance to buy your little princess a real palace bed, complete with a fiberglass slide, staircase and enchanted balcony, for the modest price of $47,000. No, I didn’t add an extra zero by mistake, that really is the price of a children’s bed. It looks perfect, and I’m sure any little girl would be happy to have it (if not, the company’s also makes a Fantasy Coach bed, for the same price), but you’d need to be shoveling cash to pay almost fifty grand for it.

If the beds mentioned above are a little out of your league, Posh Tots offers a few cheaper alternatives, like the $22,605 Woodland Princess Castle Bunk Bed. Still way too rich for my blood, but after reading about the world’s ultimate children’s playhouse, I’m sure some people consider this a bargain. Still, if you can’t afford to buy one of this furnishing masterpieces, you could try building one, like this guy.

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The Microscopic Marvels of Vladimir Aniskin

Vladimir Aniskin is one of the few people in the world who can create microscopic artworks so tiny they fit on half a poppy seed.

The 33-year-old scientist, who works at the Syberian branch of the Russian Academy of Science, in Tyumen, has been practicing microminiature art since 1998, and devotes several months to completing a single piece. Over the years, he has learned to work in between heartbeats, which gives him about half a second to do a controlled movement before his hand shakes. “While working I hold my creation in my fingers. Even one’s heartbeat disturbs such minute work, so particularly delicate work has to be done between heartbeats.” Vladimir says.

His miniature masterpieces are created using powerful microscopes and a set of tools he himself designed, and to fully appreciate the fine detail of his art, one also needs a microscope. That’s because some of his works are measured in microns. Aniskin’s amazing portfolio includes a grain of rice inscribed with 2,027 letters, which took three months to complete, a caravan of camels in the eye of a needle, and a Christmas scene on a thin horse hair.

The following photos don’t do Vladimir Aniskin’s work justice, but if you’re ever in St. Petersburg, you can admire 80 of his microscopic wonders at the first Russian museum of micro-miniatures – The Russian Lefty.

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Upcycled Action Figures Made by a Soldier in Afghanistan

This wonderful collection of junk action figures was put together by Private First Class Rupert Valero, who is stationed at a forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A former oil rig engineer, Valero has been collecting and customizing action figures for years, but ever since he was sent to Afghanistan, he had to create his own action figures from recycled materials like bottle caps, soda cans and fabric. The artists/soldier says he has the mind of an engineer and never stops thinking about building things, whether they be robots, buildings, or anything else for that matter. It’s just his way of staying sane in a dangerous place like Afghanistan.

Because toys are universal, people react to them the same whether they are in the middle of the desert or in America, and Private Valero says they have allowed him to interact with the locals. By giving a child one of his upcycled action figures he puts a smile on his face and maybe takes his mind off doing something that he shouldn’t do.

You can buy Rupert’s upcycled action figures at reasonable prices, on his Etsy shop, and you can find an extended interview with him, here.

 

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Arthrobots – Steampunk Insects by Tom Hardwidge

Using nuts and bolts to connect various bits of metal, English artist Tom Hardwidge creates beautiful steampunk insects he calls Arthrobots.

They may look like metal toys, but Tom’s arthrobots are actually intricate steampunk sculptures inspired by real insects and built from various recycled metallic parts. The Manchester-based artist starts by drawing up a series of sketches, then starts looking for parts on sites like eBay, and local small shops. The assembling happens on the dinning-room table, to make sure no actual dinning takes place there.

In case you’re wondering what arthrobots are made of, Tom says most of them start off as pieces of deactivated ammunition, that are later covered with sheets of copper, brass or aluminum. Limbs, wings and antennae  are then attached, and no respectable steampunk creation would be complete without some old pocket watch gears and springs.

Arthrobots come in a cool-looking wooden box, together with a small leaflet which includes a series of details like the sculpture’s name, the phylum, order and class it belongs to and some of the early sketches. If you’re a fan of steampunk, head over to the arthrobots official site, for more details.

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Wayne Kusy and His Impressive Toothpick Fleet

Chicago-based artist Wayne Kusy uses thousands of ordinary toothpicks and gallons of glue to create impressive-looking models of famous sea vessels.

50-year-old Kusy remembers he built his first toothpick model when he was just a child in the fifth grade. It was an Indian tepee and it got him a B+ in class, but toothpicks were to play a much bigger part in his life. He moved on to build a house out pf toothpicks, then a year later he started working on a ship that didn’t come out perfectly, but wasn’t far off the mark either, so he decided to build another one. And, before he knew it, he was pretty much obsessed with toothpicks.

Wayne Kusy’s amazing toothpick fleet began to take shape when he bought a plastic Revell model of the Titanic, studied the blueprints and deck plans, and spent the next three years recreating it with 75,000 flat and square toothpicks. It was impressive to look at, but it was so big that his small Chicago apartment could barely accommodate it, and there was no way to move it out without hitting the corners of his home and damaging the ship. The Titanic lost a lot of toothpicks on its maiden voyage out of Wayne’s apartment, but it taught the artist a valuable lesson – from there on he designed his ships so they could be reassembled from multiple segments.

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Artist Builds One-of-a-Kind Imperfect Boats from Discarded Materials

John Taylor is a self-taught artists who uses scrap wood, computer parts, hockey sticks and various other discarded materials to create unique replicas of famous sea vessels.

John has been fascinated with ships ever since he saw a photo of his great-grandfather standing on the deck of a vessel, during the Spanish-American War. He was only a child, but the obsession stuck with him throughout the years, and, as an adult, he began creating these unique models of ships he saw in old photos. Working from his garage in San Juan Capistrano, he turns buckets of junk (computers chips, nails, copper wire, lawn chairs, drift wood, staples and more) into imperfect interpretations of old sea vessels.

A landscape architect by trade, John Taylor will use any materials he can find that will give him the old, tattered results he aims for. “If it’s an exact replica, there’s no room for you to really wonder about it,” he says, trying to explain why he creates models that look like they’ve been fished from the bottom of the ocean, instead of making perfect replicas of the ships that inspire him.

The 3 to 5 feet long models are based on real boats, from Civil War river boats to World War II battle ships, John finds in old photographs.They are an authentic rendition of memory, rather than accurate historical replicas.

 

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The Mind Blowing Pull Tab Sculptures of Herman Divers

Herman Divers, also known as the master of pull-tab engineering, is known for creating impressive sculptures exclusively out of aluminum pull tabs.

Environmentalists have always preached about the need to recycle metals like aluminum, and Topeka based Herman Divers is one of the few people who listened and decided to do something about it. Using old-fashioned pull tabs that were found on beer and soda cans in the 1970s, he created impressive artworks that are now on display at the Grassroot Art Center, in Kansas.

A retired hospital handyman, Divers developed a unique affinity for pull tabs in the early 1980s, when he asked the hospital’s  snack bar attendant to save them for him. “I told her I was going to make a beadspread and she thought I was crazy” Divers remembers about his early days as a pull-tab artist. But he was on to something, because unlike the modern pull tab, the old-fashioned one had a extension that could be wrapped/bent to secure it to another one. Using this process and without any glue or steel reinforcement, Herman Divers spent many of his nights working on some of the most incredible pull-tab artworks I have ever seen.

His unique collection of pull-tab sculptures include replicas of a Harley Davidson motorcycle (made from 179, 200 pull-tabs) and a classic automobile, a set of costumes for him and his wife, as well as pieces of pull-tab furniture. When old pull-tabs became obsolete, Divers started working with bottle caps and buttons creating more beautiful creations, but his aluminum wonders remained his signature works.

And to think it all began with his simple credo “I just figure you can’t get into too much trouble when you’re working”.

 

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Woman Makes Giant Penny Sculpture Using 84,000 Pennies

Wander Martich, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, spent three months working on a giant penny sculpture made of 84,000 common pennies.

The story of how an average woman managed to create this unique artwork began in 2006, when Martich and her family were going through a really tough time. She had just got divorced, lost her house to foreclosure and was an unemployed mother of two daughters, aged 6 and 9. She was literally saving every penny and her girls pitched in the contents of their piggy bank, to help out in these troubled times. The pennies ended up in a plastic water jug, and even after Wander finally found a job, she took $20 from every paycheck, changed them into pennies and kept filling up the water jug.

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Artist Makes Imperial Walker Sculpture from Recycled Computer Parts

Etsy artist TGNSmith has created a realistic replica of the iconic Imperial Walker out of various recycled computer parts and other scrap metal pieces.

The main body of the Star Wars AT-AT is made of power supply boxes from old computers, its head is made of floppy disk shelves, and the legs and feet from other scrap metal components. The one-foot-high and over one-foot-long sculpture was covered with two coats of galvanizing primer, followed by a coat of gray paint and finished off with two layers of protective gloss. The walker was also “attacked” with a welding arc that gave it those nice battle scars.

Weighing about 15 pounds, this miniature Imperial Walker has some sharp edges and corners and should not be used as a plaything for children. Star Wars fanboys can take it off TGNSmith‘s hands for only $450.

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Designer Creates World’s First Rocking Piano

Chichi the rocking piano was designed by Sarah Davenport as a way of strengthening the relationship between the pianist and piano, and is unique in the world. Apparently, the rocking motion creates a perfect harmony that allows the piano player to completely get lost in the music, ignoring the world around. At least that’s how Sarah says it makes her feel, and she’s been playing piano since she was just three years old, so I guess we can take her word for it. At some events, pianists have been known to get so immersed in the music and the rocking that they kept playing for hours on end.

Chichi has been around for three years now, and after being featured in prestigious venues like the London Design Festival and The Nottingham Contemporay Art Gallery, Sarah decided it’s time to find it a proper home. She auctioned it off, at the end of January, and I’m sure it sold for a pretty hefty sum.

Ms. Davenport has already been approached by some of the biggest names in the music industry, to create more rocking pianos, each of which will be custom made, but she says there will never be another Chichi.

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Desiree Palmen – The Real Life Invisible Woman

You’ve probably already seen photos of Liu Bolin – the real life invisible man, now it’s time you met Desiree Palmen, the invisible woman.

Just like the famous Chinese artist we’ve featured before, Desiree Palmen is a master of the camouflage who manages to perfectly blend into the background. She first takes photos of the scene she wants to blend into, and then spends hour in her Rotterdam studio painstakingly painting cotton suites to best simulate the scenery. Then she or another person puts on the suit and poses in the selected place. Although her patience and painting skill are amazing, Desiree remains modest and says it’s never perfect, but she likes people can actually see it’s a person in a suit and not a digitally altered image.

The 46-year-old artist says her work was inspired by the increasing use of “Big Brother” surveillance in everyday life and man’s wish to simply disappear. Ms. Palmen also says people react differently when seeing her artworks, some are confused others are surprised, but they all seem very interested in the idea.

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It’s Simply Amazing What a Man Can Do with a Single Toothpick

San Francisco-based artist Steven J. Backman uses simple toothpicks to create the most incredible artworks.

Steven’s fascination for toothpick art can be traced back to his elementary school days, when he used toothpicks and beans to create a project of DNA molecules. Unfortunately, after accidentally getting a toothpick stuck in his palm, he had to quit his favorite hobby. But, even though he didn’t practice it anymore, his passion for building toothpick models stuck with him all the way through university, when he started to give it another shot. In 1984, he decided to build a replica of a San Francisco cable cart, from toothpicks and glue, as a way to show his appreciation the iconic landmarks. Soon after, he established his toothpick art company, “Landmarks of San Francisco”, which he still operates today.

Throughout the years, Steven J. Backman has created some truly impressive toothpick sculptures and replicas, from a 10,000 toothpick electric powered radio-controlled yacht and a 30,000 toothpick replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, acquired by Ripley’s Believe or Not. I promise to cover all of his incredible artworks in the future, but I thought his one toothpick wonders deserved a full post of their own.

I’ve stared at his miniature masterpieces for a while now and I still can’t wrap my head around how he managed to reproduce all these famous landmarks in such fine detail, using a single toothpick, some glue and tweezers. His mini models are under two inches long and take anywhere from a a few hours to a few months to complete, and some of them currently hold the Guinness Record for the world’s smallest replica. One thing is for sure, Steven’s favorite motto – “The Essence of Patience” – best describes the time and effort that goes into his work.

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The Decaying House Models of Daniele Del Nero

Italian artist Daniele Del Nero uses scale paper models of houses and mold to create a series of grotesque yet fascinating buildings that look like they’ve been abandoned for centuries.

In reality, it only takes Del Nero a few weeks to achieve this repulsive yet intriguing effect. With a background in building engineering and architecture, he creates realistic models out of black paper, which he then dampens and covers with a thin dusting of flour. The models are then placed in a transparent plexiglass case, where the mould takes over. Within two days it starts to grow on the building’s walls and after just two weeks it dies and leaves behind what the artist calls “a dusty spider-web which covers the model like a rambler plant”.

Del Nero avoids direct contact with the mould, removing the glass cover only to take photos of his artworks, and he even used to throw the models away after shooting them, but his vision has changed and he now believes “the models are part of my work as well as my photographs.”

Daniele Del Nero says the idea for his grotesque collection, entitled “After Effects”, was inspired by man’s perception of urban spaces – “We are used to imagining our cities as permanent and definitive, but it’s amazing how little time it takes for nature to reclaim its spaces”.

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Artist Turns Insects into Fashionable Pieces of Jewelry

The “Living Jewels” created by Etsy artist aquakej are made from real colorful insects collected from all around the world.

Insect art is definitely not for everyone, but if the mere thought of bugs doesn’t make your skin crawl, you might actually consider wearing one of these unusual accessories. The Insects come from various insect farms that provide a healthy and eco-friendly living for people in developing countries, so you don’t have to feel guilty about wearing insect species into extinction.

Here’s what aquakej has to say about her rather creepy collection of insect jewelry:

Insect Art is made of real insects from around the world. They come to me dried out and all folded up. I re-hydrate them to make them flexible again, and then spread them out on a styrofoam board with sewing pins and little strips of paper. I do not put any pins through the bodies of my insects; I like them natural-looking and lifelike. This makes the insects a bit more difficult to handle, but the end result is worth it. Lastly, I choose an art background for the shadowbox frame and glue the insects onto that. The whole process takes several days, and each end result is unique.

Unique is right, but I’m not sure I’d willingly have these creepy crawlies on my body, but if you like them, you can check the artist’s shop and official site.

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