The West End
The West End

17 Stunning Works of Mosaïculture

The West End
The West End

Some artists work with brushes and oils; others create with chisels and marble. Still others create art from nature itself. At a triennial competition coordinated by Mosaïcultures International of Montréal, artists from around the world present arrangements of still-living plants atop mesh skeletons, creating towering exhibition pieces that put the best-trimmed privet hedges to shame.

1. Mother Earth

Denis Savard

This outstanding entry in the 2013 Mosaïcultures International competition stars a larger-than-life Mother Earth—an appropriate guest to have at a horticultural exhibit. She’s in good company: More than 200 artists have contributed to the event, representing regions of Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

2. Mighty Ducks

Mosaïcultures International of Montreal

This quirky water-based piece, energetically titled Mallards Taking Off!, was Quebec’s own contribution to the very first MIM competition, which they hosted in 2000. The competition was themed, simply, “The Planet is a Mosaic.” Those early entries over a decade ago established the practice of mosaïculture as an international pursuit, with participating organizations from 14 countries and more than 30 cities. Quebec chose to pay homage to their ubiquitous water birds—perhaps after comparing notes with the team from Boston, Massachusetts, who submitted a display of more sedately posed swans.

3. We’ll Always Have Paris

Mosaïcultures International of Montréal

This all-natural replica of the famed Eiffel Tower (submitted, naturally, by the city of Paris) from 2006 wins no points for originality, but quite a few for structural integrity. For increased accuracy, the creators might have thought to include hordes of miniature tourists wielding cameras and grinning cheesily.

4. China’s Got A Winner

Mosaïcultures International of Montreal

The 2000 entry from Shanghai, China, blew away the competition to win the first-ever Grand Honorary Award for both 2-D and 3-D works. The piece, Two Dragons Playing With a Pearl, paid appropriate homage to the Asian nation’s rich cultural aesthetic while mastering the very modern art of mosaïculture.

5. A Pretty Good Wall

Mosaïcultures International of Montreal

While Pekin (Beijing), China’s 2003 entry doesn’t quite possess the imposing stature of the real Great Wall’s nearly 4000 miles of stone fortification, it looks far sturdier than the average garden sculpture. If defense-readiness were a criterion for judging, we’d have a clear winner.

6. Flipper

Mosaïcultures International of Montreal

When Hong Kong hosted the MIM competition in 2006, their leaping dolphins impressed audiences with artfully placed jets of water that made them appear mid-jump.

7. Acropolis Now

Mosaïcultures International of Montreal

In a throwback to their classical heritage, participants from Athens, Greece reconstructed Athena’s temple for Mosaïculture International 2006. One of the themes that year included “illustration of the architecture of the city the participant comes from,” and what better example of Athenian architecture than the Parthenon itself? Still considered today to be the most perfect archetype of the Doric style ever built, a temple good enough for the goddess is certainly good enough for us lowly mortals. The Olympic rings out front are a nice added touch, serving as both a reminder of the Winter Games taking place that year in Turin, and of the original Olympics founded by Greeks thousands of years ago.

8. Face-Off

Andre Vandal

What this flat masterpiece lacks in dimensions, it more than makes up for in sheer size. The 2-D mosaic’s finer details might be lost in an up-close viewing on the ground, but the view from above reveals this piece’s real artistry.

9. Flora and Fauna

Andre Vandal

There’s something to be said for the self-referential nature of larger-than-life flowers made of flowers.

10. Man’s Best Friend

The West End

This shaggy pup is constructed entirely of a variety of sedge, a grassy plant family that includes such diverse cousins as water chestnuts, sawgrass, and papyrus. 

11. Butterfly Effect

Andre Vandal

Another 2-D entry into the 2013 competition, this brightly hued butterfly spreads wings made of over a dozen different flowering plants.

12. The Nervous Horseman

johey24

This uneasy-looking fellow is a rarity in the competition, one of the few full human figures shown in any sort of action pose. Although he looks to be securely perched on his horse, his anxieties might be due to a considerable size difference between himself and his pony pal.

13. Won’t You Be My Neigh-bor?

Andre Vandal

Horses appear to be a popular theme for mosaïculturists. This particular equine scene eschews living plants for the bulk of its materials, instead opting to use loose branches of salvaged wood. What’s impressive is how little work seems to have gone into shaping the wood: the branches maintain their natural shape, and together their bumps and bends still clearly convey two horses in three dimensions.

14. Head and Shoulders

Denis Savard via Flickr

This Easter Island-inspired head is plenty big compared to the man tending to its top, but the real moai on which it was modeled have been measured to a height of over 32 feet. At least there’s no mystery as to how this one got here.

15. How Does Your Garden Grow?

Guy Boily c/o MIM

Are those cabbages you see? Not quite. This clever play on plants is simple, but sweet.

16. Planet of the Apes

Guy Boily c/o MIM

These stern-looking primates evolved from grass.

17. Garden Guardian

Eric Sonstroem

This green lady is featured in the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s current exhibit, entitled “Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger Than Life.” It is the largest piece of the 19 “living sculptures of fantasy delight,” measuring 25 feet tall. Atlanta is the first botanical garden in the U.S. to host an exhibit in conjunction with Mosaïcultures International of Montreal.

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Central Press/Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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iStock
11 of the Most Extreme Junk Foods Ever Created
iStock
iStock

It should come as no surprise that National Junk Food Day is traditionally celebrated on July 21—smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the streets run thick with ice cream trucks and county fairs boast the kind of fried treats that can only be described as “awesome” (both in the modern sense and the more dated, whoa, we are in awe of that usage). But National Junk Food Day shouldn’t be celebrated with commonplace junk food; oh, no, it deserves something far bigger and better. So save your potato chips and chocolate bars for another day, and get ready to try some truly wild treats.

1. THE KFC DOUBLE DOWN


KFC

Perhaps the most unexpectedly clever way to create a new extreme junk food item is to turn a non-junky foodstuff into something that just oozes calories and decadence. Fried chicken giant KFC knew that—and played it up to major effect—when they introduced the KFC Double Down to America back in 2010. The sandwich foregoes the most traditional aspect of any sandwich (the bread!) and substitutes two fried chicken filets. In between the two pieces of chicken? Bacon, two different kinds of cheese, and the Colonel’s “secret sauce.” There’s no room for a bun here, folks.

2. PIZZA HUT'S HOT DOG STUFFED CRUST PIZZA

We may associate items like fast food pizza and hot dog-stuffed anything with all-American palates, but cheesy juggernaut Pizza Hut saw things a bit differently. In 2012, the chain introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust to our neighbors across the pond, treating their UK customers to the kind of taste sensation some people might have had literal nightmares about. Is it a pizza? Is it a hot dog? Somehow, it’s both—and yet something much more.

3. FRIENDLY'S GRILLED CHEESE BURGERMELT


Friendly's

Once again, a wily restaurant chain took a normal food item—in this case, a hamburger—and amped up its junk factor by doing away with something as commonplace as buns, in favor of an entirely different (and, yes, very junky) item. In 2010, Friendly’s rolled out its very own spin on the Double Down, slamming a regular old burger between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. Who needs buns when you can have four pieces of bread, gooey cheese, and unfathomable amounts of butter?

4. GUY FIERI'S CHEESECAKE CHALLENGE

Whiz-bang chef Guy Fieri has long drawn ire for his more wild culinary creations, but what sets his cuisine apart from that of other junk food aficionados is his steadfast dedication to the key elements of any extreme item: size and odd combinations. Fieri’s “Guy's Cheesecake Challenge” is currently on the menu of his Vegas Kitchen and Bar, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home: Just halve a cheesecake, throw it on a plate, and douse liberally with hot fudge, pretzels, and potato chips. (What, no bacon?)

5. DENNY'S FRIED CHEESE MELT


Denny's

In August 2010, Denny’s introduced the Fried Cheese Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Yes, it was served with both French fries and a side of marinara sauce, because it’s important to eat vegetables with every meal.

6. DUNKIN' DONUTS'S GLAZED DONUT BREAKFAST SANDWICH


Dunkin' Donuts

If you’ve ever hit up your local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and found yourself stumped when it came time to decide if you wanted a donut or a breakfast sandwich to get your morning motor revving, Dunkin' Donuts came up with a brilliant culinary brainstorm in 2013: the fast food favorite unveiled a breakfast sandwich that used glazed donuts as “bread,” wrapped around bacon and peppered egg.

7. JACK IN THE BOX MUNCHIE MEAL

What Jack’s Munchie Meals lack in creativity, they more than make up for in pure, unadulterated size and content. Each Munchie Meal—there are four total—features a massive sandwich (from the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger to the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich, and all sorts of wild fried things in between) accompanied with two beef tacos, “Halfsies” (a combo of fries and curly fries), and a 20-ounce fountain drink. These intense snack boxes are still available at most Jack in the Box locations, but you’ll have to wait until after 9 p.m. to procure your very own.

8. PIZZA HUT CHEESY BITES REMIX PIZZA

Apparently, there’s nothing that Pizza Hut loves more than using its crust as a delivery system for other junk food items. The hut that pizza built may have crammed hot dogs and hamburgers on to their pie sides, but there was something special about the Cheesy Bites Remix pizza. It featured fried cheese pockets stuffed with three different varieties of extra junk, from spicy seasoning to cream cheese and sesame to mozzarella and parmesan.

9. DEEP FRIED BUTTER

County and state fairs have long been hotbeds (sizzling, oily hotbeds) of wild, deep-frying invention. Dunking things in batter and then tossing them into a vat of oil is a nifty way to turn almost anything into a delicious crisp pocket of junky decadence, perfect for utensil-free eating—but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to get the deep-fried treatment. While deep-fried Oreos may be a stroke of brilliance, deep fried butter is just plain madness. Here’s a quick test: If you wouldn’t eat something if it weren’t deep-fried, don’t eat it if it is deep-fried. When was the last time you ate an entire stick of butter? See? Point proven.

10. THE BACON BUN BURGER

Not content to have a bacon sandwich between two chicken filets? Is a grilled cheese bun replacement not for you? Then try making your very own hamburger buns out of bacon. Carbs are bad for you, right?

11. FRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH

The Florida State Fair is the proud home of the first fried ice cream sandwich, a junky treat that bears a name that doesn’t even begin to explain what it holds between its buns. It’s not a fried ice cream sandwich so much as a bacon cheeseburger (technically a sandwich) topped with a ball of fried ice cream. It might be a good meal for multi-taskers—no need to worry about dessert—but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing good for anything else.

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