Delicate Pencil Lead Sculptures Carved by Salavat Fidai

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Starting with carpenter and art pencils containing thick leads, Russian artist Salavat Fidai uses an X-ACTO knife to carve miniature renderings of hands, buildings, and various characters from pop culture. The delicate process requires a good understanding of how much pressure the lead can withstand, but even then mistakes are inevitable. The Ufa-based artist is fascinated by all things miniature, and also paints on seeds and matchboxes. Watch the timelapse below to see his process for carving an entire replica of the Eiffel Tower.

You can follow Fidai on Instagram, and some of his pieces occasionally end up in his shop. If you liked this, also check out pencil carvings by Diem Chau and Dalton Ghetti.

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Globalization and the Environment Collide in Mary Iverson’s Mixed Media Paintings of Shipping Containers

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Mary Iverson fills natural and manmade landscapes with colorful shipping containers, objects haphazardly stacked on each other and taking up a majority of the otherwise tranquil scenes. The containers and boxes are cross-hatched with overlaid lines, connecting them a predetermined pattern seemingly known only by the artist.

Iverson explains her work by saying, “My paintings are colorful abstractions that spring from the theme of the industrial shipping terminal. The canvases feature mass accumulations of shipping containers and container cranes in various perspectives. My work employs a network of searching perspective lines and layers of interlocking, colorful planes and rectangles that suggest both deep space and flat surface.”

Part painting and part collage (the pieces often incorporate found photography), her artworks address what happens when globalization and the environment collide, material possessions doubling and tripling until they spill into the natural world around them. The Seattle-based painter gathers the bulk of her source imagery for her sketches through yearly trips to parks across the country, camping and photographing the landscape around her.

Iverson received her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002 and currently teaches painting and drawing at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA as a tenured faculty member. Iverson has two upcoming October exhibitions, one at Gallery FB69 in Munster, Germany and another at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle. Check out more images of Iverson’s work on her Instagram here. (via Juxtapoz where she’s the cover artist for the August issue)

Valley 8 x 10, collage on panel, 2010, Iverson

Settlement,12 x 12 inches, acrylic, ink, found photograph on panel, 2014

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Grand Canyon, 8 x 10 inches, collage on panel, 2010, Iverson

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New Ethereal Watercolor and Black Ink Cats That Fade into the Canvas by Endre Penovác

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We continue to be awed by Serbian artist Endre Penovác's ability to somehow control the unforgiving nature of water on paper to produce ghostly paintings of felines. As the mixture of water and black ink bleeds in every direction it appears to perfectly mimic the cat’s fur. In his newest pieces Penovác introduces elements of color and negative space to add a slightly new dimension. You can see more of his recent work on Facebook and Saatchi Art.

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Mentor vs. Apprentice: Ridiculously Amazing Father Versus Daughter Beatboxing

In the course of raising a child there comes a series of strange moments in when you discover your child is obtaining skills and perfecting their abilities that surpass what you yourself are capable of. It’s a humbling and awesome thing to witness. Such is the case with this friendly battle between St. Louis-based beatboxer Nicole Paris and her dad. He’s definitely a talented beatboxer and taught his daughter well, but it becomes extremely clear she’s taken things to a ridiculously different level. The video is a follow-up to a battle the duo posted online last year. Amazing. I’ve already watched this three times this morning. (via Leonard Beaty, Ambrosia for Heads, thnx Jess!)

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Timelapse Video of a Damaged Black & White Portrait Restored and Colorized by Joaquin Villaverde

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From friends who are digital artists, retouchers, or illustrators, I sometimes hear stories of clients who suggest projects should go faster or simply cost less because the software “does it all for you.” While the tools are indeed more efficient and impressive with each new Photoshop or Illustrator release, the skill required to master those tools is still substantial. Case in point, this new time-lapse from Argentinian photographer and retoucher Joaquin Villaverde who demonstrates his Photoshop abilities by giving new life to a severely damaged black and white portrait of a girl. The clip shows two hours of work condensed into three minutes. (via PetaPixel)

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Handmade Ceramic Animal Planters by Cumbuca Chic

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If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect ceramic capybara planter, look no further. Ceramicist Priscilla Ramos from São Paulo, Brazil, has a fantastic line of animal planters in the form of foxes, whales, anteaters, and yes, even the world’s largest rodent. She’s even working on a sloth! The handmade stoneware pieces are perfect for small succulents or cacti, and you can see more in her shop: Cumbuca Chic. (via NOTCOT)

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A Monumental Scaffolding of Poplar Wood at Rice Gallery by Ben Butler

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Ben Butler (previously) is fascinated by the complex structures that emerge from simple and delicate processes. This phenomena can be found in the elaborate systems produced by ant colonies to human cities, small quotidian actions accumulating into overpowering structures. Unbounded, Butler’s installation on display at Rice University Gallery in Houston, Texas, uses this same idea by assembling over 10,000 pieces of poplar wood into a matrix-like structure. This massive arrangement coalesces into an unexpectedly mesmerizing array of grids that stretch to fill the gallery space.

Butler approached this installation, as he commonly does within his practice, without initial sketches or ideas of what he would like the structure to look like. He played with the materials, discovering configurations on the spot. Although the grids within Unbounded were pre-made in his studio, the way they were configured and connected horizontally was all in response to the space. This way of acting in the present ensured that the structure’s outcome would be organic, and not purely responding to a preconceived shape.

Poplar wood was chosen for the installation because of its malleability and abundance, which gave Butler the ability to fiddle with a material that seemed endless. This idea of endlessness also tied into the title he chose for the piece. Butler wanted the piece to have no defined boundary or vantage point, but encourage the audience to walk around and within the structure, discovering it from all angles.

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Butler received an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. He currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee and Quogue, New York and has an upcoming exhibition of his sculptures and drawings at The University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford opening in September 2015.

Unbounded will remain on display at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas until August 28, 2015. (via designboom)

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