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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.

Cakeland

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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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Delicious-Looking Edible Chocolate Couch

Entitled “You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”, the chocolate couch was created by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich for an art-exhibit appropriately named “Let Them Eat Art”.

The chocolaty art-piece was covered in a thick layer of chocolate that not only made it look like a brown leather couch, but also feel like one. All the couch details, including buttons and stitching were made from chocolate.

That chocolate couch looks so real I bet there was someone at the gallery door telling visitors not to sit on it.

via mocoloco

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Steampunk Animals by James Corbett, The Car Part Sculptor

James Corbett takes used card parts and, using them like pieces in a puzzle, creates amazing steampunk sculptures.

Corbett showed artistic talent ever since he was a little boy. Colleagues at his Redcliff school would always tell him he’d grow up to be an artist. But, at 36 years old James was running a motor wrecking business. That’s when he started welding together a bunch of car parts and awakened the dormant talent inside. In just 18 months he closed his wrecking business and became a full-time artist.

James Corbet says he makes these original sculptures because he can and it would be a shame to waste his God-given talent. The Car Part Sculptor has exhibited his works in galleries all across the world.

via John Davies Gallery

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World’s Largest Matchstick Eiffel Tower

The Matchstick Eiffel Tower built by Lebanese Tofic Daher was acknowledged by Guinness Book of Records as the largest in the world.

Tofic Daher, a disabled but talented craftsman who spends his days in a wheelchair managed to create the most impressive matchstick replica of France’s most popular landmark. Tofic worked over 2,316 hours on his matchstick masterpiece, over a period of 4 years.

The wooden Eiffel Tower has a base of 190×190, a height of 6.53 meters  and it’s made out of six million matchsticks. To make it even more impressive, Mr. Daher covered his work in 6,240 tiny lamps and 23 flasher lamps. he estimates he spent around $11,000 building the tower.

The world’s largest matchstick Eiffel Tower was unveiled on November 11,  at the City Mall, in Beirut.

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The ASUS Motherboard Mona Lisa

The technological masterpiece on display inside the ASUS headquarters in Peitou, Taiwan, is a tribute to Leonardo da Vinci’s work and represents the company’s pledge to support “any kind of crazy ideas”

The Techno Mona Lisa may not look as detailed as the classic painting, but there’s a good reason for that. As you probably know, ASUS is the world’s biggest motherboard manufacturer in the world and they decided to celebrate that by recreating a famous work of art using motherboard components and computer chips. I’m not sure exactly sure how many motherboards were used in the process, but it’s definitely a fine piece of geek art.

via Wired

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