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Vietnamese Artist Carves Bamboo Roots into Beautiful Statuettes

For the past seven years, Vietnamese artist Huynh Phuong Do, from Hoi An, has been making a name for himself by carving beautiful portraits of Buddhist deities and historical figures out of bamboo stumps and roots.

Huynh Phuong Do relaunched his artistic career completely by accident. He had been carving wood since he was 15-years-old, but living in Hoi An, famously known as Vietnam’s Bamboo Village, it was hard for him to stand out among dozens of other talented craftsmen and sculptors. But one day, seven years ago, floods in the upper reaches of the Thu Bon River brought bamboo stumps to the river bank in front of his house. The debris stirred something in Do’s mind, and he took a few stumps to make sculptures out of them. Little did he know this was the beginning of a very successful business. Today, Huynh Phuong Do has his own sculpture showroom, and his works can be found in over 20 Hoi An souvenir shops. He spends all his days contemplating bamboo roots, thinking of ways to give them a realistic human appearance, and struggles to make between 200 and 300 pieces a month to keep up with demand from tourists.

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Pu Derong’s Exquisite Eggshell Carvings

What do you get if you combine an egg, a carving knife and a pair of able hands? In Pu Derong’s case the answer is a breathtaking work of art. The 40-year-old self-taught artist from China’s Hebei Province can guide a knife across an egg’s thin shell to create amazing three-dimensional designs.

“I had always been fascinated by eggs as a child,” Pu says. “They are so fragile. Artists use canvases; eggs are mine.” The talented artist from Dongzhuangtou village showed a great interest in painting and calligraphy from a very young age, but he didn’t have the financial resources to attend a specialized art school, so he taught himself. In his adult years he did all kinds of manual labor, worked as a repairman and as a chef, but never gave up on his passion for art. One day, he discovered eggshell carving completely by accident, and he’s been hooked ever since. He made his own carving knife, and after hundreds of failed attempts, he started to master the art of carving on a fragile 0.3 mm eggshell canvas, creating all kinds of beautiful designs, from nature-inspired patterns, to Chinese traditional motifs and architectural pieces. Today, he is recognized as one of China’s most skilled artists, and his masterpieces have won several awards in various contests and exhibitions.

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The Delicate Gourd Carving Art of Marilyn Sunderland

Born and raised in Columbia, Missouri, Marilyn Sunderland is an artist in the finest sense of the word. She can take a common gourd and turn it into a spectacular work of art by carving all kinds of images onto its shell and enhancing them with her painting.

Seeing how this Halloween a lot of websites are focusing on pumpkin art, like that of sculpting master Ray Villafane, I thought I’d show you something a bit different. Meet Marilyn Sunderland, a wonderful artist who’s become known for her intricate gourd carvings. Drawings inspiration from the beautiful landscapes in the Utah valley surrounded my mountains, where she’s been living for the last 30 years, this incredible artist etches incredibly detailed shapes into the shell of gourds creating awe-inspiring masterpieces. “Art has always been a part of my life. I have painted portraits, landscapes, and various other subjects with oils, acrylics, and pen/ink mediums. I also do wood carving and glass engravings,” Marilyn says on her site. She only took up gourd sculpting a few years ago, after buying an ultra-speed carving/etching tool, because she thought it was a versatile material. Turns out it was the right decision.

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Hauntingly Realistic Human Figures Carved by Real-Life Geppetto

Whether painted or sculpted, I’ve always found hyper-realist artworks fascinating, but Bruno Walpoth’s masterpieces are particularly impressive simply because they are carved from large pieces of wood.

I’m not saying working with other materials to create realistic shapes is easy, but turning something as rigid as wood into works of art that seem almost alive takes something truly special. Bruno Walpoth uses simple carving tools to turn pieces of wood (lime and walnut) into human sculptures with detailed features that seen from afar look incredibly life-like. Only on closer inspection does one notice the carving marks on their skin, left intentionally as quiet reminders that these mind-blowing figures are not human. “Contrary to Geppetto, who constructed himself a child (Pinocchio) out of a piece of wood to banish his loneliness, Bruno Walpoth attempts, perhaps out of awareness of life’s transience, to immortalize the volatile spark of youthfulness he catches in the eyes of his models – sometimes his own children – into a wooden sculpture,” Absolute Art Gallery‘s Diana Gadaldi says about Walpoth’s work.

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The Mind-Blowing Wood-Carved Paintings of Kronid Gogolev

Kronid Gogolev is a master wood-carver who creates incredibly detailed artworks inspired by the rural and provincial life of Russia’s northern regions.

For our artist of the day we chose to showcase Russian veteran wood-carver Kronid Gogolev, a man’s whose intricate wooden paintings are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Using simple tools, he is able to turn rough pieces of wood into masterpiece depicting the way of life and the traditions of the Russian northern village, capturing its original beauty. Each of his creations has its own unique features and characteristics, but they all manage to capture the attention of the viewer, transporting him to the real-life picturesque settings of the north.

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World’s Biggest Carved Pumpkin Is a Tribute to Zombies

Life-size zombies crawling out of a 1,800-pound giant pumpkin? You have to face it, Halloween carved pumpkins don’t get a lot cooler than that.

A crowd of Halloween fans gathered at the New York Botanical Garden, the other day, to see pumpkin-carving master Ray Villafane work his magic on the world’s biggest pumpkin. Ray, an established artist known also for his incredible toy and sand sculptor, had something special in mind for this year’s event, and it’s safe to say zombie fans were pleased with his idea. He used two of the largest pumpkins from this year’s harvest, one of them a record-holder, to create a creepy scene featuring zombies covered in pumpkin guts crawling out of a giant squash. Ray spent hours painstakingly carving his undead work of art, but his efforts were generously rewarded with cheering and clapping.

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Incredibly Realistic Pumpkin-Carved Portraits by Alex Wer

Alex Wer is an awesome artist who can take just about any image and turn it into a piece of everlasting art, by carving it into a craft pumpkin. His Halloween creations look so almost to good to be real.

Alex Wer, also known as “The Pumpkin Geek” first started exercising his awesome talent as a pumpkin carver two years ago, by accident. His wife asked him to carve a pumpkin for her office Open House, and since he had always enjoyed carving pumpkins, he thought it would be fun. He only has a few weeks until Halloween, so he had to decide between carving a real pumpkin that would spoil within a week, or go for a craft pumpkin that could theoretically last forever. He went for the second option, and although he only created a logo and some script, Alex’s pumpkin was a hit at his wife’s event. Before he knew it he had 35 orders for custom logos and children pictures, and his “Orange Empire” was born.

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Talented Japanese Chef Makes Edible Star Wars Art

Okistugu Kado, a sushi bar owner from Osaka, Japan, creates detailed vegetable sculptures, inspired by movies like Star Wars.

Okitsugu, Oki to his friends, decided to combine his passion for cooking with a talent for carving and the result is nothing less than impressive. The talented chef spends countless hours carving all kinds of fruits and vegetables and putting them together with bamboo skewers and toothpicks to create popular Star-Wars characters. Why Star Wars? Well, he admits he’s always been a big fan of the franchise and he’s even part of a Japanese group that calls itself the Jedi Order.

39-year-old Oki has been carving vegetables for the last 15 years, and he has a background in ice-sculpting, as well. So far he’s created dozens of vegetable sculptures, and even though some take him over 10 hours to complete, he claims that doesn’t bother him because when he’s carving he forgets about time. Darth Vader, Yoda, R2D2 are just some of the famous Star Wars heroes he’s carved and served to his guests, over the years. If you fancy a taste of Star Wars veggies, head over to Okitsugu Kado’s Minayoshy restaurant, in Osaka. In the meantime check out more of his work here.

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The Book Stack Sculptures of Kylie Stillman

Although relatively new, book carving has become on of the most popular art forms of our time, with masterpieces of acclaimed artist like Brian Dettmer or Long Bin-Chen exhibited in galleries around the world. Kylie Stillman cuts new life into old, outdated books, by sculpting them as slabs of stone and turning them and giving them a second chance as veritable works of art.

Using a scalpel, Stillman cuts right into the stack of books, creating beautiful inverted reliefs of trees and the birds that once inhabited them. Her works remind us where the paper for the books came from, by turning the thousands of pages into versions of their original tree form.

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China’s Incredible Fruit Pit Carving Art

The miniature folk art of fruit pit carving has been practiced in China for centuries, and is still praised for turning useless fruit stones into valuable works of art.

Nut carving (Heidao), which refers to both fruit pit and walnut carving, became popular during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and by the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) it had become one of the most appreciated art forms in mainland China, with royalty and high-ranking officials considering it fashionable to wear carved fruit pit accessories. Even today, intricate nut sculptures like those made in Suzhou, Yangzhou, Weifang in Shandong and Guangdong Province are famous for their level of detail and unique characteristics.

Often referred to as “an uncanny work of art“, fruit pit carving requires a series of skills and tools in order to produce a fine piece of art. One needs exceptional three-dimensional carving skills, a great deal of patience and most importantly, he has to be familiar with the irregular texture of a fruit pit. Peach stones are the most commonly used material for nut carving, and despite its many bumps and holes, a seasoned fruit pit carved can immediately tell if a pit is right for the artwork he has in mind.

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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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Chocolatier Carves World Heritage Monuments in White Chocolate

Mirco Della Vechia, one of Italy’s most talented chocolatiers, has created a series of replicas of world heritage monuments carved in white chocolate.

Demonstrating immense talent and patience, Della Vechia has taken huge blocks of chocolate and, using a series of fine carving tools, turned them into sweet models most people would love to sink their teeth into. The Chocolate World Heritage Monuments collection, currently on display at a Hong Kong shopping mall, features white chocolate models of famous landmarks, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Parthenon, or Egypt’s Abu Simbel.

Apart from this incredible collection of chocolate models, Mirco Della Vechia also holds the Guinness record for the largest chocolate sculpture in the world – a 1.5-meter-tall, 2.5-meter-long and 5.37-ton-heavy replica of the Dome of Milan.

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The Mind-Blowing Book Carvings of Long Bin-Chen

You’ve probably seen book carvings before, but Long Bin-Chen’s works are definitely in a league of their own.

Taiwanese artist Long Bin-Chen uses discarded old books to create incredibly detailed sculptures that look like they’re made of marble or wood. Although all his artworks are made out of several books, he carves them all in such a manner that they fit together in a seamless manner. While he could use any books he gets his hands on, Long Bin-Chen only uses those that are relevant to his sculptures. For example, for one of his Buddha heads, he used New York telephone books. This way, the head will represent a caring Buddha from the East who came to take care of the west.

Bought from trash collectors or collected directly from the streets, the books and magazines are first carved with a band or chain saw and then with a dental sander, for finer details.

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The Intricate Book Carvings of Julia Feld

Using various carving tools, mixed media artist Julia Feld breathes new life into old, useless books by transforming them into beautiful artworks.

A scientist by trade, Julia Feld has always enjoyed the visual elements of science and started carving old books to draw attention to their beauty rather than their outdated content. While most people aren’t interested in the information these books contain, anymore, Julia tries to give them a second chance to be valuable. Making great use of exacto knives, rotary cutters, tweezers, rulers, pliers, files, custom cut panes of glass, and lots of glue, the artist creates incredible carvings that leave you wondering “how did she do it”?

While some people accuse her of ruining vintage books, Julia Feld insists she is actually a book lover, and would never dream of carving up a book that she believes still has valuable content. That’s why she prefers to work with reference books that are several editions out-of-date, and have been salvaged from garage sales or second-hand shops.

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Artist Spends 17 Years Carving Model of the HMS Victory

Sculptor Ian Brennan has spent 5,000 hours, in the last 17 years, carving a piece of timber into a miniature replica of admiral Nelson’s famous HMS Victory.

60-year-old Brennan, from Warsash, England, only became a full-time sculptor when he was 34, but in just five years time he became a sculptor of the Royal House. That’s how he ended up doing restorative work on the real HMS Victory, for about a year. As recognition for a job well done, Ian Brennan received a piece of timber from the legendary ship, which he later decided to use as material for a small scale replica of the Victory.

While you may think centuries old wood would be easier to carve, this particular piece of timber was as hard as concrete, and Ian had to much more work into it than expected. 5,000 hours, throughout 17 years, to be exact, during which he went through several pairs of overalls and cut himself countless times. Just like the original HMS Victory, Ian’s replica features 104 guns, 37 sails, flags bearing Nelson’s inspirational signal ‘England expects every man to do his duty’, as well as 200 feet of intricate rope.

Ian Brennan knew he only had one chance at doing something like this, as he would never again get another piece of timber from the original HMS Victory, so he made sure his 47-inch replica was just perfect. His family has been very supportive throughout the 17 years of work, although I’m sure his wife Suzanne wished her husband spent more of his free time with her.

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