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Artist Makes Celebrity Portraits from Thousands of Circles

Using an original technique he calls Digital Circlism, artist Ben Heine creates detailed portraits of celebrities like Eminem, Bob Marley or Elvis Presley.

A Belgian artist born in the Ivory Coast, Heine is most famous for his Pencil vs Camera series, which was covered by many of the major online media outlets, but his Digital Circlism portraits are equally, if not more impressive. Using a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4, he applies thousands of circles on a black background, until he creates a colorful, realistic portrait. You might think he uses some kind of automated process to apply every circle, but that’s actually the most remarkable thing about Ben Heine – he adds every one of the circles individually. Each circle has a different color, a different tone and a different size, which makes creating a single one of these artworks very time consuming. His latest work, a portrait of hip-hop icon Eminem, is made exclusively with flat circles on a black background, and took nine days of intensive labour to complete.

A new technique, developed by Ben Heine himself, Digital Circlism could certainly develop into an important artistic movement.

 

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Chinese Transformers Fan Builds His Own Army of Robots

All geeks love Transformers, but Yang Junlin of Huizhou, China, took his passion for the franchise to a whole other level when he opened the “Legend of Iron” factory and began producing his own robots.

Remebre that uber-cool Megatron Tank we featured a few weeks back? That was one of Yang Junlin’s iron masterpieces, but I had no idea he had created hundreds of other incredible metal sculptures. In 2006, after retiring from the army, Yang went to a concert where various steel sculptures were placed on display. Some of them were simple human figures created from twisted metal wire, but they made such an impression on him, that he decided to try and make his own steel works.

A year later, Yang Junlin opened his own factory, Legend of Iron, and hired over 10 workers to help him realize his dream of building cool robot sculptures. They use all kinds of scrap metal, from old car parts to simple sheets of steel andcreate some of the most amazing looking Transformers replicas I’ve ever seen. Although he admits his work is quite time-consuming, Yang has built over 1,000 iron sculptures since he opened Legend of Iron, five years ago, and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

Check out more photos of the geek eye-candy Legend of Iron creates, after the break:

 

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Creepy Post-It Art by John Kenn Mortensen

John Kenn Mortensen is a Danish artist who uses the common post-it as canvas for his mysterious and scary artworks.

While other modern artists search for ever larger canvases to express their artistic talents, Mortensen lets his imagination runs wild on the tiny sheets of paper we know as post-its. Most of us use them as reminders around the office, but the Dane sees post-its as tiny canvases that allow him to quickly render the creepy products of him imagination, and get them off his mind, so he doesn’t stress himself to them over them.

A professional character animator by trade, John Kenn Mortensen says he has always enjoyed drawing, but his recent ghoulish post-it artworks are inspired by the works of Stephen King and H.P. Lovercraft. Although he didn’t expect any type of response, John Kenn admits he’s pleased so many people enjoy his work.

Check the artist’s blog for his latest post-it creations

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Unbelievable Pen and Ink Art by Sagaki Keita

Japanese artist Sagaki Keita recreates famous artworks out of thousands of whimsical characters he created using his own imagination.

Looking at the creations of this talented 27-year-old artist, I can’t help but remember my childhood days when I would doodle all kinds of drawings on the back of every notebook I had. But while my drawings were just plain silly, Sagaki’s are true masterpieces. Looking at his artworks from afar, they just  seem like well executed recreations of popular paintings and sculptures, but as soon as you approach, you notice there’s something more to them. Thousands of small characters come together so perfectly to create a complex yet very detailed composition that simply blows your mind.

Sagaki Keita doesn’t reveal much about his technique on his official site, but he doesn’t really need to, his incredible works really are worth a thousand words.

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Toothpick Artist Creates Detailed Toothpick Portraits of Celebrities

Steven J. Backman, one of the world’s most talented toothpick artists, creates detailed portraits of celebrities and icons exclusively out of toothpicks.

The first time I visited Mr. Backman’s official site I was fascinated by his incredible models of famous landmarks made from a single toothpick, which I presented here on Oddity Central, a while back. But I remembered seeing a series of incredibly detailed portraits that the artist creates exclusively out of wooden toothpicks, and just had to show them to you guys.

Using dozens of toothpicks and glue, Steven J. Backman manages to create unique masterpieces that look like the work of a talented graphic designer. He obviously spends a lot of time working on them, because the likeness and attention to detail are simply amazing.

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The Wristwatch Motorcycles of Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau

Talented Brazilian artist Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau creates beautiful motorcycle miniatures using only parts from old wristwatches.

Pfau’s passion for motorcycles began in the 1960’s. He owned various types of motorcycles, some of them modified and inspired by the movie “Easy Rider”. But the artist born and raised in Blumenau, Santa Catarina was also fascinated by the arts, and it was only natural that his artistic talent and passion for bikes combine in a unique project. At first, he developed several motorcycle images, but after reading about artists who created motorcycle miniatures out wood, pottery, wire and other materials, he decided to make similar artworks, out of a completely new medium – wristwatches.

The time pieces that inspired Jose Geraldo Reis Pfau’s creations were collected with a help of a friend who happened to own a wristwatch shop. Through an advertising campaign, clients were encouraged to give their old watches as a first installment on the purchase of a new one. This provided the artist with the necessary materials to experiment and create his unique wristwatch motorcycles.

Although Pfau only creates his art during the weekends, he has a collection of hundreds of motorcycles made exclusively from wristwatch components. They have been showcased at jewelry fairs and art exhibitions throughout Brazil and several other countries.

 

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Thai Parliament Building Made from 200,000 Food Cans

If you’re a fan of Canstruction art, you’re going to love this – a group of Thai students have built a replica of the new Thai Parliament building using around 200,000 food cans.

The event took place during the “Health Food and Ingredients Thailand 2011” exhibition and, as you can imagine, grabbed a lot of attention. The 200,000 cans were all placed by hand, and this one-of-a-kind replica of the Thai Parliament will most likely find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Just like it happens in Canstruction events, I’m sure the cans will be donated to various charities, as soon as the sculpture is dismantled.

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Artist Creates Impressive Punching Bag Portrait of Muhammad Ali

Using tear-shaped punching bags, steel wire and aluminum pipes, internationally renowned artist and sculptor Michael Kalish has created an awe-inspiring monument that pays homage to one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali.

Kalish, who is famous for his license plate portraits, came up with the idea for a complex installation dedicated to Muhammad Ali when he was falling asleep one night, in 2008. He had already met the Ali family, after Lonnie Ali (Muhammad’s wife) saw a report on the artist’s license plate works and commissioned a piece. This led to a long-lasting relationship which eventually inspired the remarkable artwork known as reALIze. But Michael Kalish knew he couldn’t pull off a complicated project like the one he had imagined, so he reached out to architectural firm Oyler Wu, for help.

Made up of 1,300 raindrop-shaped punching bags, 6.5 miles of stainless steel cable and 2,500 pounds of aluminum pipe, reALIze is a monumental 22-foot-high tribute to one of the world’s greatest boxing icons. The coolest thing about this thing is that if you look at it from any side it looks like a whirlwind of hanging punching bags, but if you look at it from a certain point, in the front, you’ll see a clear portrait of Muhammad Ali.

“I love turning ordinary objects into extraordinary works of art. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m honored I could create this monument to pay homage to such an incredible man.” Kalish said about his magnificent work. reALIze will be unveiled on March 25th, at Nokia Plaza L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, where Muhammad Ali himself is expected to make an appearance and hang the last punching bag.

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The Book Autopsies of Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer, also known as “The Book Surgeon” uses knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve old dictionaries and encyclopedias into incredible works of art.

Born in 1974, in Chicago, Brian Dettmer studied art at Colombia College, where he focused mainly on painting. During his time working in a signage store, the artist started exploring the relationship between codes, text, language and art. He began producing paintings based on sign language, Braille and Morse Code, then moved on to layered works that involved pasting newspaper and book pages to a canvas, and it was just a matter of time before he would discover the talent he is now renowned for – expert book carving.

The Book Surgeon takes outdated books, dictionaries and encyclopedias that would otherwise end up at a landfill somewhere, and gives them new meaning and the chance at a second life, by carving them into intricate artworks. “Their intended role has decreased or deceased and they often exist simply as symbols of the ideas they represent rather than true conveyors of content. When an object’s intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises.” Dattmer says, explaining the philosophy behind his work.

Reference works are Brian’s favorite material, because of the rich illustrated content, but regardless of what he works with, he never inserts any new material or move the content of the book around just to make it more interesting. Using his trusty precision tools, he cuts out unwanted content stabilizing what’s left with layers of varnish. In the beginning, Brian Dettemer focused on carving one book at a time, but in recent years his art has become even more ambitious, as he began using sets of books to create the images he desires.

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The Button and Pin Artworks of Ran Hwang

Instead of using pins and buttons to stitch-up clothes, Korean-born artist Ran Hwang uses them to create gigantic installations in the shape of birds and cherry blossom trees.

To create her unique artworks, Ran Hwang hammers thousands of needles into a wall and hangs colorful pins from them. Seen from up close, her pin and button works look pixelated, but from afar, the whole piece seems to come together naturally. “My immense wall installations are extremely time consuming and repetitive manual work. This is a form of meditative practice that helps me find my inner peace. Like the monks practicing Zen facing the wall, my work is a form of performance that leads to finding oneself.” Hwang says about her unique technique.

Asked why she uses buttons as an art medium, the artist replies “because they are common and ordinary, like the existence of human beings”. She uses no glue in her art, so the buttons are free to move or fall at any time, which reflects the irresolute nature of human beings.

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Transformers Fans Build Awe-Inspiring Megatron Tank

A Chinese Transformers fan who goes by the name of “Steel Legend” has designed and built an incredible real-life replica of Megatron in tank form.

Now this is something you definitely don’t see everyday. I’ve seen quite a number of Autobot replicas (most of them built in China) but this is the first impressive Decepticon model I’ve ever seen. Steel Legend and his friends really went all out on building this baby and the result is nothing short of mind blowing. According to the short description posted on Chinese portal Zcool, the Megatron Tank is 4.5 meters long, 3.2 meters wide, 2.5 meters high and weighs a staggering 5 tonnes.

No clues on what Steel Legend plans to do with this spectacular Transformers model, but if he decides to sell it, I’m sure there are many fans out there who would pay top dollar to get their hands on it.

 

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Chinese Artist Creates World’s Largest 3D Painting

“Lions Gate Gorge”, a giant 3D artwork created by artist Qi Xinghua has been acknowledged as the world’s largest 3D painting, by the Guinness Book of Records.

The amazing painting, located in front of a shopping mall in Guangzhou, China, measures an impressive 23 meters wide and 32 meters long, on the ground, while the wall in the background is 6 meters high. It covers an area of 892 square meters and looks so realistic that people say they actually get dizzy when walking on the painted ropes that traverse the colorful gorge.

Qi Xinghua, China’s first 3D painter, said the giant illusion took him a whole month of painstaking work to complete, but looking at the end result I’d say he doesn’t regret it for a moment. He was actually the holder of the previous record, a 3D painting measuring over 535 square meters, but his latest achievement beat that by 356 square meters.

 

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Kapala – The Human Skull Cup of the Gods

The kapala is a sacred sculpted cup made from the top of a human skull frequently offered by Hindu and Buddhist worshipers to their fierce deities.

A legacy of the ancient tradition of human sacrifice, the kapala is nowadays perceived as a dark but fascinating form of sculpture. Tibetan kapalas, in particular, feature impressive bas-relief artworks depicting religious figures and scenes, and are often adorned with semi-precious stones and silver-work. The elaborate carvings were handmade and the skull was soaked in water to soften the bone.

In Tibet, skull cups are used at Buddhist altars to offer wrathful divinities either wine, which symbolizes blood, or dough cakes shaped as human eyes or ears. Through the force of tantric visualization based on meditation and deep philosophical study,  a sort of transubstantiation will occur and the wine will be transformed into the Wisdom Nectar, a liquid form of the enlightened mind of one or all the deities in the Celestial Palace of the Mandala. This is just one of the many uses of the kapala in Tibetan ritual culture.

Some modern-day kapalas are still shaped like the top of a human skull, but they are made of brass and while they are adorned with artistic motifs, they aren’t nearly as fascinating as  genuine human skull cups.

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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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