These Surreal and Contemplative Murals Loom Over Russian Cities.

The Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod just got a bit fancier with the addition of a nine-story surreal mural by street artist Rustam Qbic. Entitled “Blossom,” it shows people reading books while their heads bloom into flowers. Despite the mural’s springtime imagery, Qbic spent eleven days braving snow and freezing temperatures to complete it.

Blossom, in Nizhny Novgorod

Blossom, in Nizhny Novgorod Rustam Qbic

Blossom detail

<i>Blossom</i> detail Rustam Qbic <i>Blossom</i> takes up nine stories on the side of this building. Rustam Qbic Blossom takes up nine stories on the side of this building.

This isn’t the first mural Qbic completed. In fact, his large-scale murals are found in various cities in Russia, adding soft colors and images of nature in urban areas. In addition to natural themes, his surreal images create a singular universe populated by serene boy-men and hybrid creatures that are part human (or animal) and part building. The murals also explore themes of homes and peoples’ relationships to the natural and the man-made world.

Oasis, Magnitogorsk, Russia

Oasis, Magnitogorsk, Russia Rustam Qbic

Meeting, St. Petersburg, Russia

Meeting, St. Petersburg, Russia Rustam Qbic

Aside from painting murals, Qbic also creates more traditionally-sized paintings. While they’re smaller in scale, they’re no less intricate or beautiful, and carry the same themes as his larger pieces.

Little Island

Little Island Rustam Qbic

The Return

The Return Rustam Qbic

Flying Mind

Flying Mind Rustam Qbic

Three Locks

Three Locks Rustam Qbic

Deep in the Forest

Deep in the Forest Rustam Qbic

Qbic is a prolific artist, so it’s best to keep up with him through his website, where you can also see snapshots of his in-progress work and making-of videos. I wish he would come to New York City and add a mural on the side of a few dull, lifeless buildings.

Via Colossal

Read more: http://viralnova.com/a-splash-of-surreal-nature/

The Secrets of Paintings Are Revealed Thanks to Imaging Technology. What You Can See Is Pretty Cool.

A painting can tell you a lot about the subject, the artist and the time and place it was made. Sometimes, they seem like perfect windows into another world. But what about how they were made? A painting is meant to be seen as a finished product, and the process of their creation is largely lost.

Now, thanks to x-rays, multi-spectral imaging and laser scanning, we can see a painting’s past. The revisions, mistakes and edits are revelaed.

Because of that, sometimes some interesting history is discovered as well.

Isabella Medici gets a makeover.

Because of its style, the Carnegie Museum of Art thought this Medici portrait was a fake. When it was x-rayed, however, it was found that the painting was actually from the Renaissance–the lower layers, anyway. During the Victorian period, someone decided to give Isabella some reconstructive surgery to make her more attractive to Victorian-era viewers. The real Isabella is underneath, and the more golden-tinged painting is the later “improvement.” As part of a conservation effort, the Museum removed the Victorian addition, so the real portrait can be seen once more.

Evolution of a unicorn

The unicorn Raphael’s Lady With a Unicorn has been a favorite subject of historians for a long time, who have posited many theories about its meaning. A look at the underpainting, though, reveals that it began life as a regular old lapdog.

A finally visible portrait

Even before x-ray technology, it was suspected that Picasso’s The Blue Room was painted on a recycled canvas due to the texture of the brushstrokes. An x-ray reveals that there is a portrait of a man underneath. He was likely a friend of Picasso’s, but his identity remains unclear.

Old girlfriend

Phillip Otto Runge’s portrait of his wife, Pauline, hides what might be an old flame. Underneath Pauline, there’s a second face of a different woman with blonde hair.

A change of clothing

Before he opted to dress his sitters more casually, Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp had them in formal military attire, which included some impressive headwear.

Another hidden portrait

Underneath Picasso’s Old Guitarist is a painting of a young girl pulling an ox. It appears that Picasso didn’t care for the old painting and decided to repurpose the canvas.

The secret of Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa has been the subject of much intrigue, but it turns out, the mysterious lady isn’t actually hiding anything. The painting’s lower layers reveal an adjustment of her hairline and that’s pretty much it. No da Vinci code here.

Keep the arm

Titian’s Venus With a Mirror was painted over a double portrait of some unknown people. Reusing a canvas is resourceful, but Titian took reusing to the next level and even incorporated one of the original figure’s arms into Venus.

Elizabeth I usurps a painting

This portrait of the famous monarch covers up another portrait of an unknown lady. Given the drama that followed the royal family, there may well be a sinister story behind this one.

Haunted pope

Look over Pope Julius II’s right shoulder in the x-ray of this Raphael painting to see a ghostly face that also kind of looks like Spiderman. It’s actually part of the original background, which was a patterned wallpaper.

Artists get homework, too

Underneath Van Gogh’s still life is a study of two boxers. This original image was actually a homework assignment from his art school days.

No dead whales, please

The previous owner of this painting made a request–take out the dead whale. The beached whale was only discovered later, by a restoration team, in this Hendrick van Anthonissen beach scene.

Crabby Madonna

The serene face of Raphael’s Madonna hides an earlier, crabbier one; maybe Jesus was colicky that day. As the painting progressed, though, Raphael lightened her mood, likely because this would be more appealing to patrons.

A new ‘do.

The bartender in Edouard Manet’s painting had, at one point, a long braid. You can see it against her black jacket in the reflection behind her. Evidently Manet didn’t like it, though, and changed her hairstyle in the final version.

These incredible new ways of looking a paintings can teach us a lot about the artists and their worlds. The next time you go to a museum, consider that every painting might be hiding a story under its surface.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/hidden-paintings/

This Small Street In China Has Some Of The Best Food You’ll Ever See.

Rural China is peppered with small, hardworking towns that most Americans would never think to visit. However, if you never stopped by the small village of Qibao in Southeast China, you’d really be missing out. This tiny water village is known for its street food. It may be some of the best in the world. 

Even if you’re not familiar with Chinese cuisine, you won’t be able to deny just how delicious this looks. WOW.

At first, this little village might not look like much…

Just like this “beggar chicken.” A whole chicken is wrapped in a mud shell, then baked.

Or how about some skewers of lamb, beef, giblets and fried chicken? And “fake duck” tofu rolls?

Known as malatang in China, these skewers of giblets, tofu, seaweed knots and mushrooms are dunked in spicy soup and eaten out of paper containers.

Would you care for some fresh fruit punch? Or gelatin?

Delicious.

A huge chunk of salt is hollowed out, filled with hundreds of quail eggs. Then, this big cooker salts and cooks them through at the same time.

All of these squares are sticky rice cakes. They are all different flavors, like red bean, durian and Chinese medicinal herbs.

These little baskets have steamed brown rice, dates, prunes and raisins in them.

Meat skewers, Chinese fries and fermented tofu squares are fired on these grills.

Some of it may be stinky, but any fried food is good food.

Marinated pork legs could be bought whole. After being purchased, they’re chopped up so they can be eaten right out of the bag.

Love crab? What about fried, crunchy crab with mayo and lettuce?

Thankfully, these dogs weren’t for eating. They were being sold on the street as adorable little pets.

For some reason, I want to eat every single piece of street food in this village (even if it looks totally gross). Some of the best experiences in the world are the ones you don’t read about in magazines. This little village’s food would have to be one of those experiences. 

Click on the button below to share this deliciousness with others.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/chinese-street-food/

I Thought His Idea To Do This With No Money Was Ridiculous. But It Turned Out AWESOME.

I think just about every boy dreams of building his very own secret base. That’s exactly what reddit user kahnuck did. Except he’s not a kid any more, nor did he decide to build this shack as a secret base to discuss how icky girls are. He built this amazingly affordable shack on his parent’s land using pretty much nothing but scrap wood and metal he gathered from the surrounding area. Only buying a few things from a local store. But all of this begs the question, why?

Mainly just to get experience building something. I’ve read a ton of books on tiny homes and small cabins over the last few years, but I’ve never physically made anything. By using mainly reclaimed and found materials, I was able to gain a ton of experience at a minimal expense. Now I feel confident investing a little more money in my next project :)

“So I started building a shack three summers ago on my parents property. I had no previous building experience, and no real plan.”

“The logs were harvested from wind-fallen trees around the property. I bought some 2×4’s to frame the skeleton of the structure, and some concrete blocks to prop the structure up off the ground.”

“In hindsight I should have turned the roof beams on edge in order to maximize load-bearing capacity.”

“I finally returned home this summer, and decided to continue tinkering with the shack. I picked up a window and door for five dollars each, and was able to get some scrap metal roofing from a family friend who just completed building her own log cabin. I randomly started infilling the walls with logs collected from around my parents eighteen acre property.”

“I found another wooden door and a lot of miscellaneous pieces of wood from a local scrap yard. The more you reuse, the more affordable making a structure like this can be. My mom and aunt decided to “spruce up my shack” by adding the colorful solar-powered lights…”

“The shack also benefits from a large amount of evergreens being conveniently located on it’s north side – somewhat sheltering it from prevailing winds.”

“I decided I wanted to add a look-out tower to the eastern side of my shack. There are a few local shipbuilders in the area who dump a lot of their scrap wood off on an old, rarely used, historic road. Luckily for me, most of the wood is still in great shape – the entire tower is built from that salvaged wood. I used old tire rims to prop the ladder and tower posts up off the ground, to minimize water damage and rot. “

“I decided to spend some money and get a few packs of cedar shingles to cover the outer walls of the shack. In total it took three bundles, at twenty dollars per bundle. Normally you only expose five inches of the shingle, but I exposed six-and-a-half inches in order to stretch the shingles as much as possible. I was reluctant to put any more money into this thing, but I decided the functionality this provides would make it a worthy investment.”

“I secured some sturdy logs to the tower in order to increase its stability and strength.”

“While I was building the shack, my parents were working on an outhouse. I was able to use a lot of their scraps to start filling in around the windows.”

“By attaching these thin strips of wood to the back of the structure, it gave me a secure and level surface to attach the cedar shingles to. I used a staple gun to attach the shingles to the wood strips.”

“Using logs found around the property, I started building a front overhang. The front posts are propped off the ground with bricks.”

“I decided the tower needed more secure ladders. Using a level and measuring tape, I marked along the logs at one-foot intervals where a notch would be cut for the step. After sawing along the markings, I notched out small piece of wood with a hammer and chisel. Lastly, I slid the steps into the notched out spaces, and secured them down with screws.”

“I painted the corner posts and bottom boards with fisherman paint I found in my parents basement. The cedar shingles should last untreated for decades, but the other wood isn’t as hardy, and needs some added protection.”

“I decided to cover the front overhang with a double layer of clear plastic – this provides shelter at the front of the shack, while still allowing light into the shack. The gap between plastic sheeting and metal roofing is covered by more scrap metal.”

“In the woods beside the old historic road, there was also a large pile of old lobster traps. I salvaged a bunch of wire mesh from them, and used it to reinforce the plastic sheeting. I also framed some of the wire mesh and used it as walls on the tower – it allows the wind to pass through the structure without shaking the whole thing.”

“Interior tower facing wall, nothing pretty.”

“The floor is composed of a few layers of sand and some square chunks of cement I salvaged from the lobster traps.”

“Western windowed wall.”

This is the finished product. It might not be fancy, but for a cost of almost $0…I’ll take it! He even built a nice bench out front to sit on. :)

Gotta say, as a kid this was my dream, to build a shack and tower exactly like that. Except I’d probably have called it the Secret Fort of Doom or something equally cheesy. Good to see someone is living every kid’s dream. Next step, to become a Ninja Turtle and eat pizza for breakfast every day. Source

Read more: http://viralnova.com/affordable-shack/

Every Day, Artist Nina Levy Draws On Her Kids’ Napkins. The Trade Value On These Lunches Must Be Insane.

Each morning, Nina Levy gets lunch together for her 11 and 7 year-old sons. Archer and Ansel then take their packed lunches to school, like many other kids do. Unlike other children, though, they can expect to find a special surprise in their lunches every day. (It’s not something they can eat, either.) That’s because their mom Nina is an artist and she has been drawing on her sons’ napkins daily since 2006. She mainly uses art markers and paint markers for these little projects. Since Nina began surprising her sons with these awesome, tiny artworks, she has been documenting the napkin designs and posting them on her blog. And good thing, too. They are awesome.

“Octobear and Sharktopus”

“Octobear”

“Cherry Blossoms with Cat and Bird”

“Skateboarding Dog”

“Hiccup’s Father, Stoick’s Dragon, “Skullcrusher””

“Around 11 pm at our House”

“Fox With A Fish”

“The Spring Cherry Blossom Themed Dragon”

“Fluffy Longboards an Icelandic Highway”

“Happy Thanksgivukkah from the Menorah Turkey”

“Superman and Batman”

“Kitty Water Gun Sniper”

Nina Levy

Ansel and Archer

Winner of The TUACA Napkin Art Competition (Not For The Kids)

“I haven’t missed a school or summer camp day yet, so I have had plenty of opportunity for practice to participate in the TUACA napkin art competition. My fixation with lions (the TUACA bottle features two lions) was fortunate to win the grand prize.” (Nina Levy via Bored Panda) Hopefully Nina’s children appreciate just how cool their mom is. When I used to take my lunch to school, I would just get excited if there was an extra Twinkie inside. It’s hard to imagine the excitement they get to experience every day when they open up their bags. Share her work with others by clicking below. What she does for her kids is truly special.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/daily-napkin-art/

To Help Combat A Local Issue, These Friends Came Up With A Hilarious Idea.

The conditions of the roads in Kaunas, Lithuania, were so poor, a group of friends decided to do something about it. Their solution, though, was a little different. The photographers, who called themselves Z999, took a series of photos to highlight the potholes.

Those photos were hilarious.

They depicted the potholes being so large, a man might fancy a swim in them, posting up for an Olympic dive and everything. Or hey if you don’t want to swim in the water, you can always use it to baptize your child.

LOL. Also, please don’t brush your teeth with puddle water though.

Bathtime!

Unrelated, but do girls always wear kimonos when they paint nails?

The gates to Wonderland.

Even if you don’t think pot holes are dangerous, bachelorette parties in the middle of the road could prove to be fatal.

Good form.

I think he got something!

I’m actually ok with this pot hole solution.

This is just how people in Philadelphia hang out all the time though.

I one dog that has become a supporter of the road refurbishment.

A romantic evening

Wipeout!

And lo he was baptized in the river Delancy Street.

Wait, isn’t that concrete? Didn’t they just fix the problem right there?

I’d still eat ’em.

Flower pot holes.

Spelunking at night.

This is an Olympic sized pot-hole.

That’s a sick basket.

This picture really saddens me for some reason.

Old school.

Maybe if Pamela didn’t run so slow this person wouldn’t be mostly drowned.

Does nobody where closed-toed shoes in Lithuania?

These roads are berry bad.

Now, that’s ONE way to get the attention of your local government.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/z999-pictures/

What This Guy Did With A Bus From 1948 Is Unbelievable. Look Inside – I WANT ONE!

In May 2012, freelance Surf-craft builder Ryan Lovelace met a new love in the form an old Chevy bus from 1948. He named her Ophelia. His blog post about the day he bought her says it all:

Late May 2012 – The day I bought Ophelia.  The 1948 Chevy bus I found on craigslist that was described as, “Runs, Drives, Stops, Registered.” That was all I had to know.

Since then, Ryan has worked tirelessly to refurbish Ophelia and has successfully turned her into his new rolling home.

A picture from the day he bought Ophelia.

As part of the refurbishment, Ryan added a bedroom pad to the top of the bus.

The bedroom pad in its early stages of construction.

Ryan’s inspiration for redesigning Ophelia was a DIY bus from a 1979 book called Rolling Homes.

The view out from the finished bedroom pad.

Wow. The finished interior of Ophelia looks amazing.

He also added a small antique stove.

Ryan’s dog Herbie settling in.

The second coming of Ophelia.

That’s it… I’m going to start looking on Craigslist for a 1948 bus of my own. Before you do the same, give me a head start by sharing this story below.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/old-bus-home/

In Case You Needed Another Reason To Love Amy Poehler, Here Is Her Author Photo

1. Everyone’s favorite comedian has a book coming out on October 28 called, “Yes Please”

2. And a lucky journalist got her early copy in the mail and THIS is what Amy picked for her author photo.

I thought I had reached peak excitement when Amy Poehler’s book came in the mail today. Then I saw her author photo.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mackenziekruvant/amy-poehlers-author-photo

This Is The Only Time A Bucket Of KFC Will Blow Your Mind. What The?!

For Kyle Stockton’s birthday, his wife Laura wanted to do something extra special for him. To make sure it was a birthday he would always remember, she decided to create something in the kitchen he would never forget. She’s quite the chef in the kitchen and Kyle was blown away by what she came up with. She got the idea from her two sons, Josh and Harry. For them, it was a no brainer. Their dad loved KFC, so they thought his treat should be KFC-themed. What Laura was able to make was a work of art.

Kyle was a giant KFC fan…

So much so, his wife baked him a bucket of chicken for his birthday.

But it wasn’t REALLY chicken.

It was a delicious, delicious cake.

Mind = blown.

(H/T Mirror.co.uk) Laura never imagined that the Internet would go wild over her cake. After all, she hasn’t been trained in making cakes. Now, she is inspired by its popularity to start a baked goods business (with hopefully more awesome cakes). It’s hard to tell if this cake is savory or sweet, but one thing is certain: it’s making me hungry.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/kfc-birthday-cake/