Where there is an idea, there is an expression– at least when it comes to art. Artists can come in many forms—some disguised as your regular barista who can make amazing latte art, or a QR code designer who creates images that just jump out at you, or very patient people who make amazing origami structures from paper or dollar bills.
There are artists who create works out of the strangest, unexpected materials: fairy tale fruit, silk sculptures, and even flames.
Here are 16 unconventional mediums artists have bent into shape or breathed life into:
You’ve probably never heard of using toilet paper rolls as a medium to tell stories.
Anastassia Elias uses toilet paper rolls to create miniature scenes of life. She cuts out the scene from paper and places it inside the roll creating a silhouette of life inside a paper roll.
Dice. Frederic McSwain created this portrait as a tribute to his friend, Tobias Wong, a Canadian artist and designer who died.
The portrait was made using 13,138 dice – one for each day of Tobias’s short 35 years of life.
Land. Cornelia Konrads works are inspired by land art and she is widely known for her site-specific art. She brings art outdoors by choosing a specific place and installing her structures, floating in mid-air!
Cassette Tapes. Erika Iris Simmons uses old cassette tape to create popular celebrity portraits. She likes to preserve old technologies such as cassette tapes that are no longer being used. With the tapes, she recreates portraits of celebrities such as John Lennon or Marilyn Monroe.
Matchsticks. Stanislav Aristov uses burnt matchsticks and bends them to his desired shapes before editing photographs of them via Photoshop.
Paper Books. Guy Laremee erodes paper books in defiance of how everyone else uses books as a way to accumulate knowledge. Nonetheless, the sculptures he makes out of these books can really blow your mind, bringing life to these foreign landscapes in a completely different way.
Pencils. Jennifer Maestre has always been attracted to sea urchins because of their beauty despite their dangerous spikes. A less-dangerous artificial alternative, sharpened pencils have thus become her main material for creating sculptures.
Old Watch Parts. Susan Beatrice uses old watch parts to create steampunk sculptures. She mainly uses recycled parts, which coincide with her love for nature.
Light and Shadow. Kumi Yamashita uses light, shadow, and cleverly placed blocks in order to produce amazing images upon illumination.
Sand. Kseniya Simonova uses sand to create animated stories. From a pile of sand, Kseniya can push, rub and pinch sand into accents that translates into beautiful depiction of stories. A quick rub and she can start from a clean slate and start telling stories with sand again.
Leftover Objects. Wolfgang Stiller uses leftover objects such as bamboo and head molds to create Matchstick Men, large wooden matchsticks that have faces on the burnt ends.
Chewing Gum. Here’s one with a slight eek factor: Maurizio Savini uses chewed bubblegum to create sculptures. He likes using chewing gum because of it versatile nature, working on the gum with a knife, while it is still hot.
Beer Cans. Paul Villinski is a visual artist who uses discarded materials such as beer cans to bring out his artwork in poetic ways. His concern for environment issues can be seen as he often use recycled materials and give them a new breath of life as art pieces.
Resin. This is not a photograph of fish swimming in a barrel. It is a 3-D sculpture of fish swimming in a barrel, recreated layer by layer in resin, a product of the genius that is Riusuke Fukahori. Each layer will be poured in, dried, painted on, and the process will be repeated until the full 3-D painting is finished.
Dirty Cars. In Moscow, you can be fined if your car is too dirty. But for Scott Wade, he purposely makes his car dirty (sometimes using artificial dirt) so he can create wonderful “dirty” art on the back of his car window.
Nails. Vlad Artazov bends nails to portray scenes from real life but it is our imagination that helps his photographs come to life. Fancy using two bent nails to depict a young couple in love.