Kevin Champeny
Kevin Champeny

6 Amazing Kevin Champeny Mosaics From Afar And Close-Up

Kevin Champeny
Kevin Champeny

A quick glance at one of Kevin Champeny’s large-format mosaics will reveal a beautiful, often playful image—an elegant rose, a detailed skull, or a colorful fish, for example. But a closer look reveals the true artistry of the work, as colors turn into hundreds or even thousands of tiny hand-sculpted items, chosen based on their relationship to the larger image.

Champeny is interested in the relationship between his work and the viewer: "I want people to talk about what these pieces mean to them and how their own experiences make sense of the choices I made when creating the work,” he told mental_floss. The self-labeled "organized hoarder" keeps literally hundreds of thousands of tiny sculpted pieces in his Westchester studio, where they also serve as inspiration for new ideas. Enjoy some of Champeny’s work below, and check out his tumblr and Facebook pages for the complete collection.

1. What Remains

This 60-inch wide by 48-inch tall and 1-inch deep piece is made of 35,000-plus hand cast urethane flowers.

After a skull was then chosen to be the subject, I photographed a skull and printed it out on a large format printer and visually broke down the colors to about 40-plus to work with. I hand sculpted 30 different flowers as the pixels for the skull. I then molded and cast the flowers in color (nothing is painted) in various forms of resin. It took over 35,000 castings to create "What Remains". The flowers were then painstakingly glued on by hand to create the final piece. Each mosaic can take up to several months to complete from concept of idea to finished art.

2. Sweet Death

More than 33,000 individually hand cast urethane pieces of candy make up this piece, which is 66 inches wide by 66 inches tall and 1.5 inches deep.

This my homage to 'Día de Muertos' or the Day of the Dead. I captured the beauty of the intricately designed sugar skulls commonly found around this holiday with a tattoo styled design created entirely of candy, taking the idea of a sugar skull to a completely new level.

3. A Rose By Any Other Name

This piece is 51 inches long, 41 inches tall, and 1.5 inches deep, and is made of more than 15,000 individually hand cast urethane pieces of candy.

What could be sweeter than giving flowers? Candy? A flower made out of candy with a title alluding to Romeo and Juliet? Yes, all of these. This cloyingly sweet rose is a perfect example of how far you can take a theme before it just about implodes. Had I actually made it from real candy, well, that would have been going too far. Or would it?

4. School of Transcendence

Champeny hand-cast 25,000 fish to create this 42-inch long by 60-inch tall and 1.5-inch deep piece.

I created this particular piece with all of the left over castings I had from learning how to cast urethane. It was a very cathartic piece, utilizing castings that I'd accumulated over about 15 years. Finishing this mosaic closed a chapter on a very long process that helped me get to the point where I am now in my career.

5. Hot Wheels

This Hot Wheels piece is made of 4400 tiny cars and weighs 550 pounds. It's 9 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 3 inches deep.

This is perhaps the most fun I have had creating a mosaic. This custom beauty was created for a car enthusiast and allowed me to get in touch with the joy I had as a child playing with Hot Wheels in the driveway. It took me several months just to acquire the nearly 5000 Hot Wheels needed to make this and another month to build the finished mosaic.

6. Flag

This American Flag piece is made of 44,450 hand cast urethane army men; it measures 72 inches wide by 48 inches tall and 1 inch deep.

I created the Flag mosaic as a direct commission through Jellio for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), in Michigan. I was only given 30 days to hand cast—they are cast in color, nothing is painted—and apply all 44,500 soldiers. It was exhausting but well worth it. It remains to this day, the mosaic that I have been the most proud to complete.

All photos courtesy of Kevin Champeny.

Evening Standard/Getty Images
Pop Culture
Stanley Kubrick Photography Exhibition Opening at the Museum of the City of New York
Evening Standard/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Stanley Kubrick will forever be known as one of the most important film directors of the 20th century, but he started his career in the 1940s as a photojournalist for Look magazine. Now, the Museum of the City of New York will host a photographic exhibition of Kubrick’s early work, featuring 120 pictures from his time as a staff photographer at Look from 1945 to 1950.

Much of Kubrick’s work at the time revolved around daily life in New York City—the clubs, the commutes, and the sports. Some of his most notable pieces while at Look were his photo features on boxers Rocky Graziano and Walter Cartier, the latter of which became the subject of Kubrick’s first film, a 1951 documentary called Day of the Fight.

“Turning his camera on his native city, Kubrick found inspiration in New York's characters and settings, sometimes glamorous, sometimes gritty,” the museum wrote in a press release. “He produced work that was far ahead of his time and focused on themes that would inspire him through his creative life. Most importantly, his photography laid the technical and aesthetic foundations for his cinematography: he learned through the camera's lens to be an acute observer of human interactions and to tell stories through images in dynamic narrative sequences.”

Titled "Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs," the exhibition will detail the different themes that inspired Kubrick’s work, as well as guide patrons through his Look tenure, including both published and unpublished work. One of the exhibit’s goals is to provide an “examination of the direct connection between Kubrick the photographer and Kubrick the director.”

"Through a Different Lens" runs from Thursday, May 3 through October 28, 2018 at the Museum of the City of New York.

8 Expert Tips and Tricks for Hanging a Picture Right the First Time

Framed pictures are an inexpensive way to make a house feel like a home, and they can take a room from empty to finished-looking in minutes. They can be customized easily to your space and decor, and swapped out if your tastes change. But there is an art to hanging a picture the right way—without destroying your walls. Here’s what you need to know.


There are several steps you need to take before you get anywhere near a drill or hammer. First, consider two factors: the state of the wall you want to decorate, and the weight of the picture. Your wall may be supported by studs, which are pieces of wood or metal that run vertically behind the wall every couple of feet. Screwing directly into a stud can provide more support for hanging items.

If you have a reinforced wall, you could use a basic nail or screw to hang the frame, as long as you insert the nail or screw firmly into a stud. But you should only ever use a nail if you're hanging on a stud, according to Simon Taylor, owner-operator of T&C Carpentry in Whitby, Ontario. Otherwise, the weight of the picture could rip the nail out of the wall.

No stud? No problem. "If the picture is light, then a product like Monkey Hooks"—a kind of cantilevered hook for unreinforced walls—"work great," Taylor says.

For medium to heavy pictures, use wall anchors, which are plastic or metal inserts that provide more support for screwing into an unreinforced wall. There are many styles and strengths available for different materials and weights. “Using a product like E-Z Ancors is an easy way to fix a screw to drywall where there is no stud to screw into. They are strong and easy to install,” Taylor tells Mental Floss. “You can then thread a screw into them to hang your picture, providing it has a hook on the back or a string. A good rule to follow is not to use anything other than an anchor if you are not screwing directly into a stud or backing.” (Plastic wall anchors are fine for most lightweight projects, but for a really heavy picture, or a wall made out of something besides drywall, you'll need a different type of anchor.)

If you’re renting and don't want to damage the walls of your apartment, or you’re not 100 percent committed to the picture's placement, Taylor recommends a non-nail option like the extremely popular 3M Command adhesive hooks. They provide temporary, hole-free hanging and hold strong without peeling paint off the wall when it comes time to remove them.

Others argue that stick-on hooks can be unreliable, especially for heavier frames. “All picture-hanging hardware should really include some type of component that punctures the wall,” says Claire Wheeler, design and project coordinator for Montreal-based Sajo Inc. “This provides a much more secure hanging system than a hanging system that is surface-applied.” The adhesives on these types of products are more likely to fail than any sort of nail or anchored hardware, she tells Mental Floss.


Wheeler says your hanging hardware depends on the size and weight of the frame. Fortunately, most frame manufacturers include some form of hanger on the back of their products.

While she finds that hook tabs (small triangular hangers on ready-to-use frames) work for hanging lighter pictures, a wire system—two anchor points on the back of the frame and a strong wire strung between them for looping over the wall screw or hook—is the better choice for hanging large and/or heavy pictures. The wire system setup allows the weight of the frame to be distributed evenly along the wire for more secure hanging, rather than placing all the weight of the frame on one small hanger point.

“You will notice that most frames, whether you have purchased them in a store or you've had them custom-made, have hardware already installed at the back. It’s usually a pretty safe bet to use what the manufacturer has provided,” Wheeler says.

To hang a picture without the need for advanced math, start with a center hanging point: a hook tab affixed in the appropriate spot, or, if your frame has two tabs on either side of the frame, a wire strung slackly between them.


Assemble all of the gear before you spring into action. In addition to your framed artwork, you'll need the proper hanging apparatus for your project (see #1) and a hammer for pounding in the wall anchor or nail. Use a power drill or screwdriver to insert screws in the wall anchor, if you're using one. A tape measure makes it easier to calculate the right spot for hanging. A sturdy wire for the back of your frame is optional (see #2). And the best way to ensure your picture will be level is to, well, use a level. “A level is a basic tool everyone should have,” Wheeler says. “If you own a hammer, you should own a level.”


Wheeler says you should play around with the height at which you plan on installing the frame: “As a general rule, eye level should land within the bottom half of the frame,” she says.

From a designer’s perspective, Wheeler finds people often choose pictures that are either too big or too small in proportion to the wall area. “You want the picture to have some space to 'breathe,' so to speak, meaning a wall large enough that it doesn’t feel as though the picture is overcrowding the wall," she says. "On the flip side, you also don’t want a picture to look completely lost on a big wall."

She adds, "Proportion is important, but there’s no specific ratio" of picture size to wall area that could be considered a rule of thumb. Ultimately, you're the best judge of your space.


Place the frame against the wall where you want it to hang. "It’s a good idea to have someone with you to judge if it is in the right place," Taylor says. "Having a view of it in place before it’s 'fixed' to the wall will help you decide if it looks right."

After you've picked your spot, draw a short line with a pencil along the center of the frame's top edge as your reference line. If you're hanging a really large picture, get your assistant to hold it in place while you draw.


Lay the frame face-down on a flat surface. Place your wall fastener, such as the wall anchor or Command hook, in the appropriate hook tab or on the wire on the back of the frame and pull the wire taut. With a tape measure, measure the distance from the top edge of the frame to the center of the fastener.


Now back to the wall: Measure the same distance from the center of your penciled reference line down. Mark that spot with your pencil: That's where you're going to install your fastener.

If you're not using a wall anchor, simply affix an adhesive hook, hammer in a nail, or insert a Monkey Hook.

To install an anchor, drill a hole into the wall at the penciled point with a screw that is narrower than the anchor itself. (You don't want the anchor to be too loose in the wall.) Don't screw it too tightly. Next, reverse the drill's direction and pull the screw out. Insert the anchor, hammering it flush against the wall. Finally, drill the screw into the anchor—this action makes the anchor expand slightly and press against the drywall's innards, creating a more secure fit. Be sure to leave a bit of space between the screw's head and the wall so the picture's wire can be hooked over the screw. Hang the picture.


To make sure your picture is straight, rest the level along the top of the frame, against the wall. Then, adjust until the air bubble within the small tube of water is in the center of the tube, which indicates that the bar is parallel to the floor—and, therefore, that your picture is level.

Taylor says that not using a level and assuming the hanging hardware is set evenly on the back of a frame are the two biggest mistakes he sees people make. Pros often use laser levels, but Taylor says a water level will work just as well for most people.

Need some inspirations to get started? Consider hanging a few classic movie posters, printed patents for famed inventions, or a guide to cats.


More from mental floss studios