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Quirks of art: Creators who work in madcap media

Marvel at artwork made from pennies, Oreo cookies, shoelaces, rubber bands, pumpkins, CT scans and — ummm — brightly colored vomit.

An artist has created a series of out of this world portraits by shading in the areas between roads on maps to depict faces. The technique, known as cartography, was discovered by artist Ed Fairburn, 24, while he was studying at Cardiff School of Art and Design. Ed, who lives in Cardiff, created a body of work during university that looked at the human figure and was soon transferring those figures onto pre-patterned surfaces. Caters News Agency
An artist has recreated classic paintings by using miniature photographs of other famous works. Michael Mapes, from Croton Falls in New York, creates his art using thousands of photos of individual Dutch masterpieces. He began work on the collection in 2013 and has so far has created five works inspired by the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer. New York artist Michael Mapes creates elaborate specimen boxes by dissecting photographs and then compartmentalizing individual fragments within plastic bags, glass vials, magnifiers, in gelatin capsules and on insect pins. The boxes exist in an uncanny area between photography and sculpture, functioning both as portraits and as fascinating scientific canvases that make you question the the logic behind the organization of each piece. Caters News Agency
An artist has stripped family favorite cartoon toys down to the bare bones in a bid to reveal their inner character. American designer Jason Freeny, 43, has shown how loved TV characters have a heart by giving plastic figures their own internal organ system. His collection includes gruesome versions of a Barbie doll, Papa Smurf, Monsters Inc hero Sulley and Family Guy favorite Stewie Griffin. Caters News Agency
A Massachusetts dad who doodles cool artwork on his kids’ plastic sandwich bags each day. David Laferriere, a graphic designer and illustrator from Attleboro, started decorating his two sons’ baggies with clever, Sharpie-sketched masterpieces back in 2008, when they were in second and fourth grade, and has continued the tradition every since. “I started drawing on the bags as a way to jump-start my creative juices and have some fun with my kids, “ said Laferriere, whose sons are now in 8th and 10th grades. Courtesy of David Laferriere
Mosaic artist Jason Mecier made Big Bird out of kids' breakfast cereal after the Muppet was mentioned by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate. Mecier has also made Romney and President Barack Obama out of beef jerky and stars such as Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse out of pills. Jason Mecier
An Amsterdam company used the twisty cords of earbuds to make portraits of customers and friends.
British artist Nikki Douthwaite uses the little paper dots from hole punches to create art of celebrities, including this image of Marilyn Monroe. Formula 1 racecar drivers are a favorite topic for this racing fan. She uses tweezers to carefully place each dot, and some pictures require close to 200,000 of the tiny colored circles. Courtesy Nikki Douthwaite
Jacqueline Lou Skaggs has created a set of 12 mini-masterworks on the U.S. penny. Clockwise from upper left, the four pictured are "The Still Life," "The Plastic Magician," "Field of Sleeping Peasants" and "Venus Dreams." Jacqueline Lou Skaggs
Food sculptor Paul Baker recreated the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album cover in breakfast food for the U.K. restaurant chain Beefeater Grill. Andrew John Simpson / Frank PR
Samuel Silva, an attorney in Portugal, makes these amazingly detailed drawings using regular ballpoint pens. This image, "Redhead Girl," is based on a photograph. Silva knows many people don't believe he can create such works with simple pens, but says it's true, and he wishes BIC would make more colors. VianaArts
“Earthwork artist” Stan Herd created this 1-acre, permanent portrait of famous female aviator Amelia Earhart in her hometown of Atchison, Kan. He unveiled this exceptional example of field art on July 24, 1997 to commemorate Earhart’s 100th birthday. Herd has dedicated his life to turning the U.S. countryside into massive works of art, using live corn, grass and even bare earth as his color palettes. He employs tractors, earth movers and even buckets and spades to craft his creations. Jonathan Blumb / Barcroft Media via Landov
Look carefully and you'll see it: Artist Judith G. Klausner made this floral arrangement out of fingernail clippings and baby teeth.

"I am deeply intrigued by the use of hair as an acceptable material in Victorian fancywork, and its ability to cause revulsion in contemporary audiences," Klausner explained. "Unlike most other body parts, its existence apart from its original source does not imply any harm to the person. In fact, it is something we shed naturally. The other materials that fit in this unusual category are baby teeth and nails. This floral arrangement is made from baby teeth and nail clippings (my own and those of family and friends who have donated them)." Courtesy Judith G. Klausner
Artist Judith G. Klausner works with more than just baby teeth and nail clippings, mind you. She also carves detailed cameo portraits out of that white frosting stuff inside Oreo cookies. Yum! Courtesy of Judith G. Klausner
Ju Duoqi, an artist in Beijing, China, has given a lot of thought -- and used a lot of toothpicks -- in her effort to create glamorous ladies completely out of cabbage. "The different types, shapes and colors of the vegetables, with a bit of rearranging, can make for a rich source of imagery," she told a reporter. "Fresh, withered, rotting, dried, pickled, boiled or fried -- they all come out different." The name of Ju's project? "The Fantasies of Chinese Cabbage." Ju Duoqi / Galerie Paris-Beijing
For more than 25 years, Philadelphia artist Ed Bing Lee has been perfecting his knotting artistry. At this point, he can create almost anything using basic macrame knots -- including works of art that resemble food. Kinda makes you hungry, doesn't it? Ed Bing Lee
Christopher Boffoli, a writer, photographer, filmmaker and artist living in Seattle, re-created scenes from everyday life in bizarre foodscapes and photographed them.

His caption for "Frosting harvest," pictured here: "Dabney was grateful for the shift change. Shoveling double stuff had been kicking his ass." Christopher Boffoli / Caters News Agency
If you drink enough milk dyed with food-coloring, you know what’s gonna happen, right? Millie Brown sure does, and she’s gotten her technique down to an art – literally. At a recent art show in London, Brown downed a whole bunch of milk dyed pretty colors, then stuck her fingers down her throat over a stretched canvas. Two classical singers serenaded her throughout the performance. Price of this “Nexus Vomitus” painting? A cool $2,400. To learn more about Millie Brown’s show, visit this SHOWstudio site. If you have a weak stomach, though, DO NOT watch this video. Millie Brown and SHOWstudio.com
You may want to scatter your loved one’s ashes at sea. You may want to preserve them in a beautiful urn. Or, you may want to give Florida artist Raven Collins a call. She listens carefully as family members talk about their deceased relatives, and then she studies photographs of those who have passed away. When she’s finally ready, she uses graphite pencils and a teaspoon of a subject’s human remains to create lifelike portraits for surviving family members. To see more of Collins’ work, click here. Courtesy of Raven J. Collins
Looking for art that's exceptionally eco-friendly? Then check out Sandhi Schimmel Gold's papier collé mosaics, which feature hand-cut and hand-applied pieces of paper from greeting cards, advertising circulars, calendars and packaging material. "The paper tiles create an entirely new image ... utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste," Sandhi explains. This mosaic, "We'll Always Have Paris," was made from an old map of Paris. To see more, visit SchimmelArt.com. Sandhi Schimmel Gold
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei's “Sunflower Seeds” installation – featured at the Tate Modern in London from October 2010 until May 2011 – consists of 100 million handmade porcelain replicas of sunflower seeds. Each unique seed was kiln-fired two times: once before being carefully hand-painted, and another time after the painting was completed. The artist wanted visitors to walk on the seeds and even lie down on them – and then contemplate the weighty issues of mass consumption, collective work and famine. In April 2011, the artist was arrested while trying to board a flight to Hong Kong. He was released in June. Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
New York architect and artist Margarita Mileva is fascinated by office supplies and other tools that are becoming obsolete thanks to technology. Paperclips, rubber bands and ribbons all have such interesting textures and colors, so why not give them a new life? Pictured here: A dress made entirely of rubber bands that Mileva created with her daughter. Courtesy of Margarita Mileva
Talk about a work of art that would do Hugh Hefner proud. You’re looking at one of the many creations of Tim Patch, an artist who paints with his penis (!!!) and goes by the stage name “Pricasso.” The English-born resident of Australia also has done portraits of former U.S. President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and actor Steve McQueen. Over the years, Patch has learned to avoid acrylic paints and abrasive canvases -- but even so, his line of work often leaves him mighty sore. Courtesy of Tim Patch
Excuse me, is that cured human skin you’re wearing? Why, no! It’s SkinBag! Yes indeedy. SkinBag is the brainchild of Olivier Goulet, a French transmedia artist who created the material to symbolize “the ambivalence between the natural and the artificial ... and foresee the fusion between the digital and the organic.” This stuff isn’t just available in jacket form. You also can buy SkinBag handbags and accessories. To see more, visit SkinBag.net. SkinBag
Who says a humble ice cube can’t dare to dream? Of course, this little ice cube is pumping iron while studying a picture of the Titanic sinking. Hmmmm. It’s just one of the many hilarious creations of photographer Terry Border, author of “Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things.” Border is adept at using common items – snack foods, wine corks, rocks – to tell stories and grab people’s attention. Terry Border / bentobjects.blogspot.com
Guess who started the Radiology Art project? A physician! Yes, Dr. Satre Stuelke couldn’t resist using a CT scanner to explore the hidden dimensions of everyday things. Here’s what Stuelke had to say about his scan of a Big Mac: “Note the sesame seed bun, pickles, special sauce and cheese all readily visualized within the box. Interestingly, spots of glue can be seen holding the tabs of the packaging. ... Note the chef's thumbprint in the top bun.” Satre Stuelke / RadiologyArt.com
If pumpkin-carving were to become an Olympic event, Ray Villafane would be a contender for a gold medal. He’s trounced competing carvers on TV on “Food Network Challenge: Outrageous Pumpkins,” and he’s attained a healthy fan base online. One of his secrets to success: Choosing pumpkins with an oblong shape rather than a perfectly round shape. Ray Villafane
San Francisco artist Jason Mecier uses random junk, candy, pills, beer bottles, car parts and other assorted loot to create mosaics of highly recognizable celebrities. His Kim Kardashian portrait is made of Red Vines licorice, and his Courtney Love collage is made of pills. This mosaic of Lady Gaga took him two months and hundreds of hours to make. (See Kermit in the background?) To see more of Mecier's work, visit JasonMecier.com. Jason Mecier / Rex USA
For three decades Miguel Carrillo, a busboy at Gladstones Malibu restaurant in Pacific Palisades, Calif., has crafted animal-shaped doggie bags out of aluminum foil. In mere minutes, he can turn leftover halibut into an island with a palm tree and mermaid, or a dolphin. "I love it," Carrillo said. "I see the people. They are happy. They like it, so I feel good. They laugh. They talk about me and say I'm the man." Reed Saxon / AP
The medium being used here -- good old paint -- may not be particularly quirky, but the age of the painter is rather astonishing. Autumn de Forest, who turned 9 in October 2010, has become one of the art world’s youngest and biggest stars. Dozens of her paintings have sold at auction for a total of about $250,000. Autumn loves her Barbie dolls and she drew on them for inspiration for this work, which sold for $15,000 at auction. Courtesy of ImaginArt
At first glance these colorful pictures might look just like regular paintings -- but closer inspection reveals the detailed artwork is in fact made from shoelaces. The stunning creations are the work of artist Federico Uribe, who painstakingly arranges and pins the different colored shoelaces to a canvas. Each one takes up to 30 10-hour days to craft and earns up to $73,000 apiece. Moris Moreno/solentnews.co / Solent News & Photo Agency
Artist Ivan Lovatt has recreated the iconic faces of music legends the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix using nothing but chicken wire. The incredibly lifelike pieces are made of just under 100 feet of the unusual material, and they take Lovatt more than a month to twist and pin into shape. Here, a koala bear created by Lovatt clings tenaciously to a tree. Ivan Lovatt / Solent News & Photo Agency
New York artist Nic Rad is really, really, really intrigued by actor James Franco. So intrigued, in fact, he’s created an entire performance piece about Franco called “The Celebritist Manifesto” that he does in front of a fan shrine celebrating Franco.

Here’s an excerpt from Rad’s performance: “James Franco is an Ivy League grad student pursuing two separate master’s degrees / James Franco is a soap opera star / James Franco is a performance artist / James Franco is a situationalist / James Franco is a self-satirizing icon / James Franco is both over-privileged by his good genetic fortune, and also a humble a student of the universe / James Franco IS America.” Courtesy of Nic Rad
Meet another child prodigy who will blow your mind: Kieron Williamson, who turned 8 in the summer of 2010, has been drawing collectors from as far as New York City and South Africa to his little British town of Holt. A recent exhibition of his paintings fetched the equivalent of $235,804 in under 30 minutes. London's Daily Mail has dubbed him "Mini Monet." This pastel of Kieron's is titled "Morston Buoys." Alban Donohoe / ©Albanpix.com
Photographer Michael Paul Smith, a former museum display designer, combines miniature models with real backgrounds to create lifelike scenes. Here, the telephone pole, the stop sign, the white house and the tree (far right) are real and are about a full block away from the miniature models. The models themselves are sitting on a table. Freaky, eh? Courtesy of Michael Paul Smith
Now don't go thinking this amazing artist thing is confined to the realm of humans. Here, Cholla the painting horse creates a masterpiece at his owner Renee Chambers' ranch in Reno, Nev. This photo was taken in October 2008; Cholla's paintings went on to be exhibited in Italy. Scott Sady / AP