Artworks Made From Seriously Weird Materials

Marble, oil paint, granite, graphite and all those other classic art materials are so outdated. If you want to make a splash in the art world these days, you’d better turn away from the art store and instead try jumping into a dumpster or even your own bathroom. Here are some of the weirdest materials you’ve ever seen incorporated into art.

If one artist has truly mastered the skill of working with non-traditional materials above all others, it’s certainly Jason Mecier who has made amazing portraits from all variety of materials, including pills, make up, pasta, jellybeans, yarn, pencils –even a Sasquatch from Jack Links Beef Jerky. Even if you aren’t a big fan of his style, it’s still hard to deny his talent. After all, who else could make Marilyn Manson out of yarn, Jerry Seinfeld from  breakfast cereal and Amy Winehouse out of pills?

Those of us old enough to remember using cassette tapes also remember what happened when they broke –a spool of thin magnetic tape would inevitably escape and cascade over everything in the immediate area, somehow making an even bigger mess as you tried to clean it up. I doubt many of us miss that experience, but if you had the ability to capture and master the tape, things might be different, which is precisely why it is so easy to love artist Erika Iris Simmons’ exquisite “Ghost in the Machine” series, made exclusively from broken cassettes. The works might not make you nostalgic for the old times, but they’ll certainly make you appreciate the skill that went into Simmons’ amazing portraits.

What better way to send a message about the dangers facing ocean life than to make artwork from one of sea creature’s greatest foes –the plastic shopping bag? Artist Helle Jorgensen makes yarn from these bags and then crochets gorgeous coral reefs and other sea creatures showing just what we might lose if we continue in our wasteful ways.

As a tattoo artist, Dr. Rev Mayers saw plenty of blood when he carved up his customer’s skin in order to make art, to it really wasn’t a huge jump when he started painting with blood. But the intricate, amazing paintings he has created with the substance are far more impressive than even the best tattoo could ever be in part because the artist is able to use so many different techniques, from brushing to scraping to smudging to airbrushing.

If you’re curious as to where he got the blood –no, he didn’t start taking it from his customers, it’s all his own. Still, I can’t help but wonder if he’d be willing to take donations, particularly for a commissioned portrait.

Hate creepy, crawly insects? Then you might just love Chris Trueman’s “Self Portrait With a Gun,” which was created with over 200,000 dead ants covered in a layer of resin. While you’d be forgiven for thinking Chris really hates the creatures, the truth is precisely the opposite. In fact, the artist claims the hardest part of making the creation was killing the insects, which he considers “right on the line of what I consider intelligent life.” He even took a one year hiatus from the project because he hated killing the creatures so much, but decided to push on because he didn’t want the first ants to have died in vain.

Most hairdressers toss hair clippings in their trash, but Huang Xin wanted to ensure something more productive was done with the frayed ends of his clients, so he created a detailed replica of the many monuments and buildings around Tiananmen Square with the hair fragments. The models took almost a full year to complete, but there’s no word on how many haircuts he had to perform to get enough material.

You have to admit, “Self” is a particularly fitting title for a sculpture of Marc Quinn’s head made from his own frozen blood. On the other hand, you don’t have to admit that it’s good art or even a good idea.

Even stranger, there isn’t just one of these sculptures, but many, as the artist has recast his head in frozen blood every five years, starting with 1990, in order to establish a record of his aging process. Each sculpture takes over five months to complete as 4.5 liters of blood takes a few draws to accumulate and after they are created, they must be carefully stored in a special refrigeration unit.

Gary Blum spent his life in Rochester, MN, which happens to be home to the one lake in the area that doesn’t freeze during the winter. As a result, the city serves as home to around 30,000 Canadian gray geese every winter –which leaves the city with around 30 tons of poop piling up every day while the birds are making themselves at home. So Gary decided to do something with the bird droppings, creating custom artworks for residents and tourists to Rochester. He does wild life scenes and custom portrait commissions, which he calls “Sh*theads.”

While not the most famous in the area, the master of body fluid art might just be Grethell Rasua, a Cuban artist who, while best known for feces artworks, also works with any bodily excretion given to him. He has created jewelry from vaginal discharge, panties embroidered with menstrual blood and vomit-filled pendants (which is suiting because most of the artworks make viewers want to throw up).

“Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads.” It seems impossible to even look at the art of Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard without having the catchy tune stuck in your head, but just because it’s probably Smegol’s favorite artwork doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimately enjoyable. After all, who doesn’t appreciate the sight of fish heads carefully placed on doll bodies and arranged in incredibly lifelike scenes? Personally, I love how the characters always look surprised.

It goes without saying that there are plenty more bizarre artworks made from even stranger materials but it would take a whole textbook to even begin to cover them all so instead, just assume that if you’ve ever excreted something, threw something away, or even just touched something, someone has probably made some kind of art with it


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