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Bashir Sultani’s Art with Salt

They say it’s back luck to spill salt, but Toronto-based Bashir Sultani clearly has little regard for superstition, as he has no problem spilling the seasoning and shaping its fine crystals into detailed portraits of modern icons.

After spilling salt onto a black background, Afghan-born Sultani uses basic tools, like a razor blade and Q-tips to manipulate the grains into portraits of actors, singers, popular movie characters and other icons. He makes it all look easy in his videos, but it’s obvious you need a great deal of patience and skill to create such original masterpieces.

Be sure to check his YouTube channel for more making-of videos of his amazing salt portraits.

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Photographer Makes Creative Portraits from Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers

Klaus Enrique Gerdes, a New York City photographer, has created a series of original portraits made exclusively from vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Seeing these incredible artworks for the first time, I thought they were masterpieces of the famous Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593) – an Italian artist known for his imaginative portraits made entirely from fruits, vegetables and flowers. But whereas Arcimboldo painted his portraits, Gerdes first created them from real fruits, vegetables and flowers, and then took photos of them. They actually remind me a little of the fabulous vegetable art of Ju Duoqi, and Carl Warner’s foodscapes.

Gerdes told the PDN Gallery that the idea for his organic portraits first came to him while working with leaves.  “While I was photographing a human eye that was peeking out amongst hundreds of leaves, it occurred to me that I could actually utilize leaves to construct portraits or masks.” It just evolved from there and he started using fruits, vegetables and flowers.

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Artist Creates Black Eyed Peas Portrait of Black Eyes Peas Member

To tell you the truth I often wondered why no one bothered to create a portrait of the Black Eyed Peas using black eyed peas, before. We’ve seen all kinds of weird portraits, like those made of toast, broken vinyl or bottle caps, so a black eyed peas portrait of the Black Eyed Peas seemed almost logical.

English artist Lee Mericks finally rose up to the challenge and created an 85 cm by 60 cm portrait of BEP singer will.i.am using nothing but thousands of black eyed peas. The artwork was commissioned by Alton Towers, to celebrate the Black Eyed Peas’ forthcoming concert at the Staffordshire resort, and took 24 hours, over a four-day period, to complete.

According to Lee Merricks, the black eyed peas portrait of will.i.am contains approximately 5 kilograms of black eyed peace, each of which were painstakingly placed by hand. If you’re curious to know the exact number of peas used, feel free to count them yourself.

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Lily Allen Portrait Is Made of Real Lilies

British singer Lily Allen is getting married this Saturday and London florist McQueens wanted to celebrate the event by creating a unique portrait of the artist, using actual lilies.

A team of six flower experts worked nine hours arranging the Asiatic lily blossoms into an Andy Warhol-style portrait of the acclaimed artist. The one-of-a-kind floral masterpiece measures six by ten feet and numbers a total of 1,800 lilies. Asiatic lilies were chosen because apparently they represent romance, femininity and purity. The lily portrait was a collaboration of English florist McQueens and The Flower Council of Holland, and will on display for a week, at one of McQueens’ London branches.

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Commemorative Portrait Made from 13,138 Dice

To commemorate the death of his friend, Canadian artist and designer, Tobias Wong, Frederick McSwain has created a giant portrait of him, from 13,138 dice.

The artist says:

The idea of a die itself was appropriate—the randomness of life. It felt like [a medium] he would use. Because [Tobias] was a very street-level force, I thought it was appropriate [to install] the portrait on the floor. Its not something I wanted to suspend on the wall; I wanted it to be right there on the floor where you almost interact with it.

The idea of every decision you make and everything you’ve done in your life, defines who you are. All of those days symbolically makes up the image of Tobi.

Tobias Wong was 35-years-old when he passed away, more accurately 13,138 days old, so McSwain used a die for every day he lived…

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Scott Blake’s Impressive Bar Code Portraits

Scott Blake is one of those rare artists who use original mediums to create unique works of art, in his case bar codes. He uses them to create unique portraits of celebrities like Elvis, Madonna or Ronald Reagan.

Blake, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, began making bar code art over 12 years ago, right before Y2K, inspired by the whole year 2000 computer bug, and threatening digital apocalypse. While experimenting with halftone dot patterns, “looking for a black and white shape that could be repeated and modified to create grey tones in a digital mosaic”, he stumbled upon bar code imagery. He first tried circles and squares, then rectangles and notice the clusters of lines looked a lot like bar codes, so he started putting numbers on the bottom to describe the pixels’ grayscale value and grid coordinate.

But placing thousands of bar codes on a canvas to create a portrait is only half of Scott Blake’s work. Each of the bar codes he uses are somehow related to the person they describe. For example, when scanned each of Bruce Lee bar code plays one of the actor’s kung-fu scenes, while in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s case they play one of his movie trailers. Eventually, all of the bar codes end up in Photoshop where Scott uses Action scripts to place each code in the right mosaic tile, but even so, it takes him between two and six months to complete a portrait.

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Artist Draws Portraits Using the Ashes of Her Subjects

Raven J. Collins thinks she may be the only artist in the world to brush the raw ashes of a deceased person onto a pencil portrait.

Using ashes as a medium is a growing trend in the artwork, but while some are mixing it with paint to create abstract works, moulding them into bizarre sculptures, or even compressing and using it as pencil filling (like lead), Raven Collins uses the ashes to create commission portraits of the deceased, whether they be human or animal. She’s only been doing it for a while, but ash-portraits already make up 90% of her business.

As cremation becomes the more popular option in the funeral industry, the number of choices of what to do with the ashes also increases. Some people prefer to keep them in a fancy urn, others spill them into the ocean or over a peaceful pasture, but more and more people opt to incorporate their loved-ones’ remains into various artworks. Artists like Raven sometimes get referrals from funeral homes, but most of their advertising is word of mouth and online exposure.

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Artist Creates Dog Portraits from Recycled Magazine Photos

San Francisco-based Samuel Price uses pieces of photographs he finds in old, discarded magazines to create intricate portraits of man’s best friend.

Sam Price’s career as a collage artist began when he was too young to afford paints and would tear up magazine and newspaper pages and glue them to a canvas. He did it out of necessity and because he has “always believed in the use of accessible materials as part of the instinctive process of creating art”. Stepping in the footsteps of artists like Pablo Picasso – a pioneer of collage art – Price uses recycled photographs as the medium for his artworks.

Unlike other collage makers, Price doesn’t use a computer as a guide when he creates his masterpieces. He spends several hours looking through discarded magazines, in the search for just the right color and shape that would fit his needs, and then glues every strip of paper himself.

Samuel Price takes great joy from creating something new and special from materials other people simply throw away, and says his work has helped him create a strong connection with many dog lovers. Through his collage portraits he tries to capture the special relationship between a dog and his owner.

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Cube Works Makes Twisted Artworks from Dozens of Rubik’s Cubes

Solving a Rubik’s Cube is pretty tricky, but using dozens of them to create portraits of famous figures and recreate artistic masterpieces sounds even harder.

Toronto-based Cube Works Studio is a collaboration of graphic architects and “cubers” who use the popular Rubik’s Cube to create an art form that is retro yet avant-garde. Throughout the years, the studio has produced dozens of Rubik’s Cube artworks so impressive and detailed that people often wonder if they’re not taking the cubes apart and use the colored squares individually to create mosaics. But that’s not the case, as many photos and videos taking during the creative process prove.

Apart from their intricate celebrity portraits and artistic recreations, the guys at Cube Works have also set a few world records, including a monumental recreation of the Sistine Chapel’s centerpiece made of over 12,000 Rubik’s Cubes and a 4,050 Rubik’s Cube replica of The Last Supper. This may not be the original purpose Erno Rubik had in mind for his toy, but I’m sure he’d be happy to see it used as an art medium.

 

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Licorice Mosaic Portraits by Jason Mecier

Jason Mecier is a famous mosaic artist who uses all kinds of materials, from sweets to pills and recyclable junk, to create incredibly detailed portraits of celebrities and pop icons.

Looking at the masterpieces Jason Mecier creates, you’d find it hard to believe he has no formal art training, but he is indeed a self-taught artist with incredible talent. His greatest inspiration is his grandmother who nurtured his artistic inclination ever since he was just a child. The artworks she created mesmerized him as a boy, and Jason remembers she was the one who encouraged him to create art using materials readily available to him. You can say he followed her advice to the letter, as he is now known as one of the world’s most gifted junk artists.

The first time I heard about Jason Mecier and his unique artworks, was when he created a series of pill portraits of celebrities who had drug problems throughout their careers. This was back in January of 2010, and since then Jason has completed his portfolio with all kinds of other beautiful creations made of various materials. Some of them are part of his RedVines portrait series, made of delicious licorice.

 

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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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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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Swiss Artist Creates Realistic Portrait from 20,000 Cigarette Filters

Jinks Kunst, a Swiss street-artist known for his beautiful stencil artworks, has created a portrait of legendary French singer Serge Gainsbourg, out of over 20,000 cigarette filters.

These days, France celebrates twenty years since the death of one of its greatest-ever artists, singer and song writer Serge Gainsbourg. In Paris, the city where he was born and where he died, artists are showcasing a series of unpublished photos of Gainsbourg, but Kunst wanted to make something truly special for this occasion.

A big fan of the singer, the Swiss street-artist spent the last three years collecting cigarette butts off the streets and used them to create a unique portrait. His one-of-a-kind depiction of Serge Gainsbourg numbers an impressive 20, 394 used cigarette filters he gathered himself, since March 2008. The legendary Gainsbourg, author of “Je t’aime moi non plus”, had a passion for cigarettes and alcohol, so Jinks Kunst choice of cigarette filters as a medium makes perfect sense.

The cigarette butt portrait of Serge Gainsbourg is currently on display in Nantes.

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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 Crocheted Portraits of Jo Hamilton

Portland-based artist Jo Hamilton has a house full of balls of yarn,which she uses to create amazing crocheted portraits and landscapes.

Jo remembers she was only six when her grandmother taught her to to crochet, but it wasn’t until ten years later that she really dedicated herself to the old craft and started crocheting in a crafty way. She attended the Glasgow School of Art, where she experimented with both painting and drawing, but she felt that she needed an original medium to help her express her talent.

She was inspired to use crocheting as an art form after seeing an exhibition at the Portland Craft Museum that inspired artists to use techniques that are originally considered to be art. Happy that she had finally found a means of expression that she was comfortable with, Jo immediately started crocheting a cityscape made of six blocks, named “I Crochet Portland”. She now spends anywhere from forty five hours on a portrait, up to three years on one of her cityscapes, but the most important thing  is she never gets bored of crocheting.

The portraits Jo creates are incredibly detailed, and many people have speculated about the techniques and stitches she uses, but the artist claims her pieces come alive from the inside – it’s an organic process that implies no graphs, plans or charts. Of course, this means she doesn’t know the exact outcome of her effort, but Ms. Hamilton says she has learned to trust her way of working.

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