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Paul Hazelton Makes Art Out of Dust

I know I’ve said “you can turn anything into art”, but I never imagined someone could actually use household dust as material.

Paul Hazelton collects dust and manages to shape it into incredible works of art. The British artist says his affinity for dust might have something to do with his upbringing in a very clean environment. At one point n his life he noticed a layer of dust on a mask and realized he could pick it up. That was the beginning of an extraordinary dust-shaping career.

Paul works with ordinary household dust, which he gathers from furniture, hanging paintings, pictures, but never from vacuum cleaners. He stores the “precious” matter until he’s ready to mould it. Then he wets it, gives it the desired shape and carefully dries it.

It’s a painful process, but the 43-year-old dust artist loves it.

via Metro.co.uk

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Toothpick San Francisco Took 34 Years to Complete

San Francisco has been rendered by many other artists before, but never quite like this.

Scott Weaver always dreamed he would build the world’s largest toothpick model and 34 years ago he started working on it. Fast-forward to present day and he still hasn’t fulfilled his dream, but he did create one of the most impressive toothpick sculptures in the world.

“Rolling through the Bay” is a 9 feet tall, 7 feet wide and 2 feet deep toothpick model of san Francisco that features 4 pingpong ball rolling tracks and several entry points. That’s right, it’s the tracks that make this wooden masterpiece so unique. That’s how Mr. Weaver began his adventure in the world of toothpicks, by building abstract models and rolling pingpong balls on them. It just got out of hand at some point and turned into this amazing model.

Though “Rolling through the Bay” does feature some of the most iconic sights in San Francisco, like the Bay Bridge, Golden State Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alamo Square or the Cable Car tour, Scott Weaver says it’s just his view of the city and unlike more traditional models, his has rolling pingpong balls.

The toothpick model of San Fracisco took over 3,000 hours of work to complete and over 1,000,000 toothpicks. Luckily, a pack of 750 toothpicks costs just 99 cents, so Weaver can’t say his hobby is too expensive. Ripley’s Believe It or Not offered Scott $40,000 for his unique model, but he isn’t ready to part with it just yet.

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Guns, Ammo, Art and Religion, by Al Farrow

They may look like just elaborate models of Christian, Jewish and Islamic holy places, but Al Farrow’s artworks have a much deeper meaning.

Al Farrow’s Religious Trifecta: A Synagogue, a Cathedral and a Mosque tries to reinterpret three of the world’s major religions according to their political, military and cultural history. As you surely know, religion played a major role in some of the greatest conflicts in history and that’s what the artist is trying to emphasize through his models. Built with used gun components, bullets and steel shots, these unusual holy places reveal the violent side of religion.

Al Farrow‘s steel masterpieces are displayed at the de Young Museum, in San Francisco.

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Melting Polar Bear Sends Grim Message

A polar bear statue, carved out of a nine-ton block of ice and placed outside Copenhagen climate change conference center, sends a frightening environmental message.

Mark Coreth, the artist behind the Ice Bear Project created the sculpture in the hope of raising awareness to the melting of arctic ice due to increasing temperatures. A huge pool of water and the bronze skeleton of a polar bear is all that will remain as the ice statue gradually melts, revealing the fate of all real life polar bears, unless the global warming issue is addressed.

Coreth is urging all passers-by not only to look at the bear-sculpture, but also to touch it and help it melt, in the hope that more people understand how mankind “contributes” to the melting of the Arctic. Asked when his ice polar bear is going to completely melt, the artists said it is impossible to tell, just like nobody knows how long the Arctic will last.

Photos by XINHUA/ZHANG YUWEI

via People.com.cn

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The Grotto of the Redemption

The Grotto of the Redemption is an excellent example of what man can achieve with faith and hard work.

Paul Dobberstein was a German immigrant ordained as a priest in 1897. At some point he fell critically  ill with pneumonia and vowed he would dedicate his life to building a shrine to The Virgin Mary, if she would save his life. Father Dobberstein survived and soon after his recovery began gathering piles of rocks for his mission. His search for materials lasted 14 years.

Construction of the Grotto of the Redemption, in West Bend, Iowa,  began in 1912. Foundations were poured, stone slabs were set into place, all in the name of The Holy Virgin. Father Dobberson was actively involved in the building process and many times his hands would crack and bleed from all the cement. He would say “there isn’t any redemption without a little blood”.

Though West Bend isn’t the best place to look for crystals and semi-precious stones, Paul Dobberstein traveled to Hot Springs, Black Hills and Carlsbad Caverns and managed to gather truckloads of materials for his Grotto of the Redemption. The redeeming priest worked on expanding and improving the grotto until he died, in 1954, at the end of a long day’s work.

At the time of Dobberstein’s death, the Grotto of the Redemption was the size of a city block and is still expanding today. The crystals, semi-precious stones and petrified wood used to decorate the structures of the grotto are said to be worth over $4,300,000.

Considered “the world’s most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells and petrifications in one place”, the Grotto of the Redemption welcomes over 100,000 visitors every year. It reminds me a lot of the Ideal Palace.

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Cakeland – A Sweet Illusion

Do you know those dreams that start out all nice and dandy only they turn into horrible nightmares in the end? That’s sort of what Cakeland is like.

Cakeland is an art installation in Oakland, created to look like a delicious collection of cakes. Featuring cakes placed on tables, stacked on top of other cakes, mounted on walls and even hanging from the ceiling, Cakeland literally looks like heaven for sweet addicts. But alas Scott Hove’s cakes are anything but edible. Unlike the regular treats that last only until celebrations end, Cakeland cakes are made from acrylic, wood and cardboard and will last “as long as the artist or society have the wherewithal to preserve them”.

But that’s not the worst part of our nightmare. In order to protect their delicious beauty, the artists equipped some of the cakes with sharp teeth that act as defense. Hove says “without this aggressive aspect– call it the anti-cake– the beauty is vulnerable, transitory, and not to be respected”.

Cakeland is a very interesting place, but unlike Scott Hove who sees it as a pilgrimage site away from the problems of reality, some might consider it torture. After all finding yourself surrounded by seemingly delicious cakes, without the possibility of even tasting them can be a grueling experience.

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Giant Pink Snails Invade Milan

A group of 12 overgrown pink snails have taken over Plazza Scala, in Italy’s fashion capital, Milan.

These unusual plastic models were created by the Italian Cracking Art group and are on a mission to change people’s lifestyle. In a world where everything is happening so fast, the pink snails are here to let you know “speed isn’t always a virtue” and slowing down to enjoy the beauty of the city can be quite refreshing.

“We need to play with the city to break with our obvious daily routine and rediscover the experience of moving about the city” said Finazzer Flory, Milan’s culture counselor. He added that the giant pink snails are shaped to resemble an ear to also make people listen to what’s going on around them

The slimy giants will be moved periodically towards the Palazzo Reale and, in January, they’ll make an appearance at the central train station. They’ll then go on a series of international visits to Amman, Tel Aviv and Chicago. They’ll return to Milan in 2015, as part of a 120-snail army. That sounds kind of scary…

via UPI

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Kerry Skarbakka and the Art of Falling

The Falling Photographer, as he is commonly known, shoots photo of himself right in the middle of a big fall, in the name of art.

Kerry Skarbakka says he first began taking falling pictures right after the events of 9/11 and uses his body ” as a metaphor to describe the tensions and anxieties we all feel.” For some of his works, the artist uses special rigging and climbing equipment to achieve the desired effect, but he often  plunges dangerously, with no protection.

The Falling Photographer travels all over the world in search for suitable locations to shoot his photos and he also sets up scenes in his personal studio. For the bathtub photo below, he installed an installation to make him flip in the air, but he still banged his head on the side of the tub a few times.

Kerry’s works have been exhibited in art galleries across the world and he plans to shoot enough photos to put together a book. So far he has around 40 photos that can be purchased for as much as 4,500 pounds.

Photos by KERRY SKARBAKKA/BARCROFT MEDIA

via Telegraph.co.uk

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Nail Art at Tokyo Nail Expo 2009

Held at the Tokyo Big Site, on Odaiba Island, the Tokyo Nail Expo featured some of the most amazing fingernail artworks.

Apparently, the nail industry is really big in Japan right now, so it’s no wonder they’ve actually organized an exposition where nail artists could showcase their latest masterpieces. The Japanese nail industry has grown to 200 million yen, so it’s no wonder this year’s event drew in a crowd of approximately 50,000.

I’m not a big fan of painted, long nails, but I have to admit the nail artworks presented at the Tokyo Nail Expo 2009 were pretty impressive.

Photos by Junko Kimura/GETTY IMAGES

via 923NOW

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Disabled Artist Paints with His Foot

48-year-old Peter Longstaff is living proof that ambition and hope can overcome pretty much anything. Although he is armless, he manages to create artworks most of us couldn’t paint with three hands.

Ever since he can remember has had get around using only his feet. He had the misfortune of being born in a time when mothers were given thalidomide, a drug that alleviated morning sickness. But it also caused serious deformities in newborns and Peter was seriously affected by it.

Fortunately, this serious handicap didn’t affect the artist’s ambition and, starting from an early age, he figured out how to get things done with his feet. Now he says his right foot is like a normal person’s right hand. He can operate switches, open doors, all while gracefully balancing on just one leg.

Before embracing art, Peter Longstaff worked on a pig farm where he had to drive tractors, stack hay and handle the animals. He didn’t leave because work got too much for him, but because the market was getting to crowded. He retired and turned to art. He quickly enlisted in a movement called “Mouth and Foot Painting Artists”, as a student, and now his works are displayed all over the world.

Peter specializes in landscape paintings and also makes Christmas cards. His works are on display at the Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, Britain, from Friday till Christmas Eve.

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The Matchstick Paintings of Annie Drew

19-year-old Annie Drew has developed a new painting technique by applying paint with a piece of hardwood a little bigger than a matchstick.

The talented painter from Torquay, Devon thinks she might be the only artist in the world who uses this technique, which she calls the “pixellation technique“. It’s a really meticulous job, but it was the only way to “create a piece of wildlife art in mosaic” without turning to pointillism, which is completely accidental.

For example,to create the silverback gorilla painting bellow, Annie Drew applied 75,000 paint dots in 40 different colors. The whole thing took over 100 hours to complete.

Photos by APEX

via Telegraph.co.uk

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The Knotted Foods of Ed Bing Lee

Ed Bing Lee, a talented artist from Philadelphia, has been perfecting his knotting skills for the past 25 years and is now able to create practically anything using basic macrame knots.

His “Delectables” series features some of the most delicious art pieces I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. They may not be edible, but Ed Bing Lee’s knotted foods sure look good enough to eat. Using as many as 500 half-hitch knots per square inch, the artist managed to transform into a unique art form.

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The Wonderful Cardboard Sculptures of Chris Gilmour

Chris Gilmour is a world famous artist who creates representations of every-day objects from cardboard.

You may have seen cardboard art before, but the level of detail and complexity of Mr. Gilmour’s works is simply breathtaking. Although he also works with “dirty cardboard” (salvaged from packaging cardboard boxes with labels and common writings), his “clean cardboard” pieces are he most astonishing. People often have the impression his cardboard sculptures are actually real objects wrapped in paper.

Take a look at some of his most famous masterpieces and be sure to pick your jaw off the floor.

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Mike Stilkey’s Incredible Book Paintngs

Mike Stilkey is an artist from Alta Dena, California, who creates amazing works of art by stacking spine-painted books.

Mike had been drawing on book pages for a very long time, even publishing a book with 100 portraits painted on old book pages, called “100 Portraits”, when he realized it would be a good idea to paint on the book covers themselves.

His plan was to paint the books and then place them all against the wall, but he eventually got it in his mind that painting the book spines would be even better.He wasn’t very impressed with his first work, but when he presented it during the second Artist’s Annual group show, it got quite a lot of attention. Now his book paintings made Mike Stilkey one of the most respected artists of his generation

Photos by Dave Kinsey

via Fecal Face

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This Is What They Call Coffins in Ghana

These are the famous “fantasy coffins” used by the Ga Tribe, on the coast of Ghana to both mourn and celebrate the death of a beloved family member or friend.

The tradition of burying people in strangely-shaped coffins began roughly 50 years ago when a fisherman was set to rest in a funeral casket shaped like a fish. Ever since then photographers have been buried in camera-shaped coffins, people who like to drink in caskets shaped like beer bottles and avid smokers, you guessed it, in cigarette-like wooden coffins.

Families of the deceased spend enormous amounts of cash on these intricate caskets, sometimes even as much as $600. Sure, that may not seem like a lot to you, but in a country where the average income is somewhere around $50/month that’s a lot of money. The wealthier relatives usually put up  the most part of the sum with the rest of the families providing the rest.

The coffins of the Ga tribe symbolize the essence of the deceased, his profession, a vice or his place in the community.

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