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Lennie Payne captures iconic images on toast, preserves them with lacquer

By Dominique Vidalon

LONDON, – British artist Lennie Payne says he first thought about working with bread after making shapes with toast to entertain his daughter at breakfast.

That was 14 years ago, now the 46-year-old Payne is selling his portraits of famous faces such as Kate Moss and Barack Obama branded onto slices of bread for at least 5,000 pounds ($7,734) apiece.

Payne’s artwork, some 28 paintings, will be on display through May 25 at the Maverik gallery in East London’s Shoreditch at a show named “Where Is The Love?.”

Payne views bread as an exciting, constantly changing medium and as a metaphor for “the basic human need for survival and a great way to look into the spirituality of every day life” he told Reuters while putting the finishing touches to the show.

Many of the works on display are portraits of rock musicians such as Ian Brown or Noel Gallagher but the show also features a Gandhi portrait as well as anonymous faces of starving people.

It is both a meditation on the obsession of the media with celebrity and an attempt to reveal the human being behind the famous face. There is for instance a striking black and white portrait of a haunted-looking Amy Winehouse.

Following a tough path to art
Born in 1964, in Hammersmith, London, Payne is no stranger to human sufferings. Adopted when he was a child by a very religious family, he was diagnosed with epilepsy during his teens. When the fits worsened, he sought refuge in drugs and alcohol. Prison and depression followed.

Through the ordeal, he said he kept a burning desire to create. Self-taught, he experimented with many mediums before turning to toast art.

Considered as a founder of the discipline, he has built a reputation with critics and collectors. He recently hooked up with a patron, the Donnellys, founders of trendy British fashion label Gio Goi, who are branching out into art.

Payne said he likes working with toast because “you can get your hands on it. It’s more like sculpture and it’s constantly developing. Even now I come up with new ways.”

Most of the time he uses a blowtorch to scorch the bread and turn it black, and then he scraps away the burnt bread to create different shades.

“If you burn it as it’s fresh, which I like to do, you get a lot of dark and smoke effect. After, the bread needs to be flattened, it needs to shrink and obviously the picture changes,” he said.

Then the bread is lacquered and a resin is soaked in.

Payne has been experimenting with resin and bread crumbs lately and the often stunning results can be seen at the show.

The next step will be to mix toast with other mediums, possibly objects, and start work on some installations, he said.

One downside to working with a food product, Payne discovered a few years ago was that his work attracted unwanted fans. When he sent a portrait of Ian Dury away to be framed for an exhibition, he received a phone call from the framer saying the mice had eaten part of the toast canvas.

Payne had to work frantically to replace the lost pieces to make his deadline.

“Now the paintings go to the framer already sealed,” he said.

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You won’t find any of these items in eBay’s motors section or in collectibles. Instead, the strangest eBay auctions are to be found by trawling through the thousands of items in the “everything else”. Here, we run through the 10 most bizarre.

1. Dead fairy found at yard sale

A couple of months ago, I stopped in at a yard sale and came across this strange little creature. The apparent mummified corpse of a fairy being – or some kind of demon offspring (?) – this specimen is surreal to be around. My cat continually tries to get at the diminutive cadaver through the jar; and the thing just generally unnerves people whom have been in its admittedly creepy presence. It does have a definite Black Magick, otherworldly, Voodoo feel about it. In my opinion, the faint of heart are better off not having this thing around them.

2. Halloween prop female dismembered

You are bidding on what was “originally” a Real Doll. Never was “used”, used only for display. Now, being made available, as a PREMIER, Halloween prop. Made of top grade silicone material. I could only imagine what could be done with this item, from a person with a creative imagination. Amazingly, the life like feeling of the flesh is truly, something to behold. You won’t be disappointed in the realistic touch.

3. Petrified dead frog (not sure how it died)

Well, I know this is kinda freakish, but this is not my idea you see. I found this dead frog that apears to be petrified in some way behind my couch when I was vacuuming one day. You can imagine my suprise. Actually, I just freaked! First, I thought It was a huge dead bug from a distance. So, I went to grab a paper towel to pick it up and just throw it away. I came back, got down there, and I noticed what looked like a tiny backbone showing through skin. Upon closer invetigation, I realized that this weird-looking object was a frog at one point. It’s kind of sad. You can see the position he died. Just sitting there, back legs bent just like a frog does. I don’t know what killed him or why. I just found it. I don’t want to keep this, but I really can’t see throwing it away when it is so interesting to look at. I mentioned it to my mom, and she knows I have been trying my hand at reselling things on ebay. So, she said why don’t you try to sell it? So there you go! Here’s your petrified frog. I will start the bidding at what I estimate it will cost to list and ship it. Thanks for listening to me jabber. Enjoy your dead Frog!

4. Silicon rubber tapeless foreskin tugger

If you’re circumcised, chances are you have no idea what you’re missing. The foreskin you were born with was meant to protect your glans, keeping it supple and sensitive. Now you can get back some of the sensation that was taken from you. 200,000 men are restoring their foreskins.

5. 1 Pint sun dried California bees, Yellowjackets

Here we have a full pint of organically grown Yellowjacket bees. Sun dried and ready for your creative use!

6. Face in chocolate chip cookie

I baked some choc chip cookies and when I took a tray out of the oven this one was looking up at me.

7. My medicinal nipple hair

I know it sounds crazy but you be the judge!!!!! I plucked out one of my nipple hairs just for fun the other day and when I touched it to a cut I had…two weeks later the cut healed!! What? You Say…I said that too but OMG(for you texters out there)…it really works!!! Here’s what you do: scotch tape my nipple hair to the area that’s hurt like if you have a cut or a broken leg( now if it’s a broken bone the nipple hair may take a few months to help you but it’s still worth a shot!!! Once the nipple hair has done it’s job(leave it scotch taped to your boo-boo until your boo-boo heals) pass it on to a friend. You get one of my medicinal nipple hairs per price listed so hurry before they’re all gone. Don’t worry I’ll use both nipples!

8. Mutant cucumber – must see – words fail me!

Be the first and only person on your block to own this item! 100% ORGANIC! Words cannot describe this item! I’ve seen worm’s disguised as plants, but never a plant that looks like a caterpillar! This is a must have for any collection! Preserve it and keep it forever! Amaze friends with this unique item! Wonderful conversation starter! Hurry! This is only listed for a short while, as it is currently perishable!

9. Yelling services – call me to just yell your heart out

Hey My Name Is Justin Vames And I’m Looking At All The Ways I Can Earn Money For College. So You Know Or Remember The Times You Were So Mad And Just Need Someone To Yell Or Curse At? Well Here It Is, The Chance To Just Pickup The Phone And Yell Your Heart Out, (Included Are The Optional Talk Back Mode For Free), I Am Trying To Earn Up Money For James Madison University Next Year And Thought This Would Be A Great Service For The Public, And Myself. So What Are You Waiting For, I Will Give The Highest Bidder A Ten Minute Session, And A Optional Talk About Your Problem For Free. The Highest Bidder Will Be Messaged Through eBay, The Way You Can Contact Me, Fast And Easy. Good Luck And Happy Bidding’s!

10. Really Weird Unique iMac Computer Cage for Hamsters

Up for auction is a one of a kind very unique iMac rodent cage, handmade by ak_drummer. Made from the shell of a blue iMac with all the guts removed. Comes with the keyboard and mouse shown, no idea if they work or not. Everything is safe, I put my own hamster in there for a while just to get a good laugh and sense of accomplishment. Nothing toxic was used in constructing of the cage, nothing is poking out. It is more for ascetic purposes then an actual cage. HOWEVER the best rodent suited for the cage would be a hamster due to the fact that they do not chew as veraciously as mice, gerbils, and rats. WOULD NOT recommend a rat being in this cage as they can more then likely just chew through the cage front, let along the thin plastic in back.

After a lion nearly mauled Telegraph journalist Charles Starmer-Smith, we asked wildlife experts to share their thoughts.

Brian Jackman
British wildlife journalist and author

Bloody hell, Charles is one lucky writer. Thank goodness that lion still has his milk teeth! With adult canines the size of one’s thumbs it would have been a great deal worse. What madness, to invite Charles into the lion’s den. With those two guys crouching over him I suspect the lion felt threatened and reacted in the way he would if scrapping with his litter mates in the wild. As soon as I saw its tail thump I knew there was going to be aggro.

As for being asked to tickle its tummy, how crazy was that? Just try it at home with your own fireside moggy. More often than not you can end up with four paws and lots of sharp claws wrapped around your hand.

Sub-adult male lions are invariably unruly. I was once in the same position at Okonjima, Namibia, and went into a compound with a year-old male lion and its handler, Dave Houghton. He said: “If the lion shows an interest and approaches you [which it did], just stand close behind me [which I did], and I’ll fend it off.” The lion then lost interest in me, but I still felt very uncomfortable and was glad when it was all over.

It was a sub-adult male (Shyman) that nearly did for Tony Fitzjohn at George Adamson’s camp back in the Seventies. It bit him through the throat and nearly killed him. So even an experienced lion handler – someone regarded as a human “pride member” – can be at risk.

Jonathan Scott
Wildlife photographer, zoologist and host of the BBC’s Big Cat Diary

That is a scary bit of footage. Having watched wild lions for more than 30 years I could feel my blood running cold. It was very apparent that the “handler” did not have control of the lion in the first place – not sufficiently to allow the Telegraph’s writer to stay in the enclosure for one extra second once the young male began to show signs of real aggression.

I am very wary of these situations. I have a friend, David Mascal, who has worked hands-on with lions for years at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. He has routinely gone into enclosures with young cubs and “played” with them. I have seen Dave roughhousing with lions of the kind of age that Charles encountered, but those lions did not show the kind of aggression that young male displayed. In fact, Dave was later seriously mauled by a lioness which tore his hand up. She had been rescued from Nairobi National Park as a one-and-a-half-year-old incapable of fending for herself. Dave was outside the enclosure when the attack occurred, but she grabbed his forearm and started to pull him through the wire mesh! His hand had to be operated on and was a mess.

Young adolescent males are particularly tricky – they are increasingly full of testosterone and routinely test their strength in play-fights with their age mates. Normally these are played out with claws retracted and without biting hard, but every so often these sessions escalate as one or other of the combatants becomes increasingly rough and/or dominant. It is one thing to be a lion in these circumstances; equipped to fight back in time-honoured manner and possessing all the nuances of how to show submission or dominance. But a thin-skinned human is an easy target and cannot just break off the encounter whenever they want to.

Crucially perhaps, too, Charles had entered the lion’s domain, and the lion felt very confident.

Charles did all the right things once the young male started to cut up rough. In fact, he did brilliantly by containing and controlling his fear.

It is easy with hindsight to question what went on, but the “handler” really should have got Charles out of there the minute the lion showed signs of aggression. Instead, it was allowed to escalate progressively making it very difficult to extract Charles from the enclosure. You simply cannot take risks like that.

Colin Bell
African wildlife veteran and founder of Great Plains, a conservation and wildlife tourism company

Every time I see footage like this, I get angry – at the people who cage animals and at the people who treat wild animals as adrenalin toys. From the moment the video started rolling you could see the lion was uneasy. I was uncomfortable about every part of that situation: the cage itself, the handler and the journalist – for wanting to go into the cage in the first place, and then for not reading the signs and saying that the moment was not right. He should have backed out long before he did. In the past 50 years, the African lion population has plummeted from 450,000 in the middle of the last century to fewer than 20,000 today. These are animals that should be afforded the highest levels of protection and not considered as play animals. Along with respect will come protection and the start of their conservation. Lions in the wild are in grave danger and this type of behaviour does not bode well for their long-term future.

By Stephen White 4/07/2009

Blind Martin’s amazing op

Martin Jones’s friends reckon he looks like something out of a science fiction film.

The 42-year-old has had a tooth implanted into his eye socket, allowing him to see again after 12 years in darkness.

The bizarre, groundbreaking operation took eight hours to remove one of his front teeth and transform it into a lens holder.

Martin, who was blinded when a tub of white hot aluminium exploded in his face, said: “My eye looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. My friends are amazed at it.”

The procedure means Martin has finally seen his wife Gill, 50, who he married four years ago, for the first time.

He said: “I met my wife when I was blind and the first person I wanted to see was her. The doctors took the bandages off and then I saw this figure and it was her. She’s wonderful. It was unbelievable to see her for the first time.”

Martin, of Rotherham, South Yorks, had the horrific accident when he was working in a scrapyard.

He suffered 37% burns and had his left eye removed after it was destroyed in the accident. But his right eye was saved even though he was unable to see through it.

Specialists first tried to save his sight using stem cells from a donor but the attempt failed.

It was then decided that he would be suitable for the revolutionary tooth transplant carried out by Christopher Liu, the country’s only consultant able to carry out the surgery.

Mr Liu is a corneal specialist and consultant ophthalmic surgeon based at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton.

The procedure, called osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis or OOKP, began when one of Martin’s canine teeth was removed.

The tooth was converted into a holder for a special optical lens by drilling a hole in it. The tooth was then inserted into Martin’s cheek for three months to enable it to grow new tissue and blood vessels.

Then finally came the delicate operation to insert the tooth, complete with the fitted lens, into Martin’s right eyeball.

Within two weeks he could see as the special lens, held in place by the tooth, allows light into his eye.

HOW THE TOOTH BECAME AN EYE

1 Martin’s canine tooth is removed. It’s converted into a holder for a special optical lens by drilling a hole through the middle

2 Tooth is then inserted into Martin’s cheek for three months to enable it to grow new tissue and blood vessels

3 Tooth and lens fitted in centre of Martin’s right eyeball

By Greig Box Turnbull 23/07/2009

We’ve heard of being totally immersed in your work… But artist Liu Bolin’s amazing talent sees him blend so completely into his scenes he is almost invisible.

Liu, 36, of Shandong, China, spends up to 10 hours a time being painted so he perfectly matches the background.

Spots he has chosen in China and the UK include a phone box, a cannon and even earthquake rubble.

Some people walking past have no idea he is there unless he moves.

Liu calls his Hiding In The City series a “protest against the state” for cracking down on artists. He’s one artist they might struggle to find.

 Dormice asleep in the middle of the A30 in Cornwall.  Photo: EPICNEWS.CO.UK

Dormice asleep in the middle of the A30 in Cornwall. Photo: EPICNEWS.CO.UK

Endangered dormice are thriving on the central reservation of a busy road in Cornwall, and are even able to regularly cross safely to the other side, according to ecologists.
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent Telegraph.co.uk

The mice, which snooze all day and hibernate for seven months of the year, usually live in quiet woodland areas or the margins of fields.

However, a year-long study, commissioned by the Highways Agency, found that a population has built up on the central reservation of the A30 at Penlan, Cornwall.

The creatures are not only thriving but appear to be able to regularly cross the busy road to forage in the surrounding area.

Leo Gubert, an ecologist who carried out the research for the Highways Agency, fitted microchips to 50 dormice.

By returning regularly to monitor the movement of the animals, he found that many were able to cross the road safely and one even managed to do it twice.

“They are not supposed to be able to walk across open spaces of grass or tarmac so this is a very surprising result. We believe that as the population increases they have been forced to disperse for breeding, or to look for food. We have suspected that they were able to cross roads but no-one has been able to prove until now.”

Dormice used to be found all around Britain but numbers have decreased recently because of intensive farming methods and loss of habitat like hedgerows and woodland.

The nocturnal animals forage for insects and seeds at night and usually live in trees.

But Mr Gubert said the animals can also live by roadsides.

“The striking thing is that the population density on the central reservation is similar to what you would find in ancient woodland. They are not ideal conditions obviously, but the dormice seem to thrive. This might be because although they are in the middle of a dual carriageway, they are less likely to be disturbed by predators such as cats and dogs.”

The Highways Agency, which has a responsibility to protect endangered animals living on the verges of roads, has had to build tunnels or rope bridges for creatures like dormice in the past.

“If we can show that dormice can cross roads by themselves and are adaptable to different environments that saves money for us as we do not have to put in mitigation methods,” said a spokesman.

However the People’s Trust for Endangered Species said dormice still require protection in order to boost numbers.

 

Manor is home to eight Rothschild giraffes, they are some of the rarest on earth second only to the Niger Giraffe, with only a few hundred left in the wild Photo: CATERS

Manor is home to eight Rothschild giraffes, they are some of the rarest on earth second only to the Niger Giraffe, with only a few hundred left in the wild Photo: CATERS

 

Guests at this hotel in Kenya must prepare themselves to share the breakfast table with some rather unusual companions – a colony of giraffes.

The 140 acre estate, run by Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, is home to eight Rothschild giraffes – some of the rarest on the planet.

Every day shortly before 9am the animals stroll up to the house and poke their heads through the windows and doors in search of morning treats.

The Carr-Hartley’s, both 38, spend breakfast sipping orange juice and picking at croissants, literally sharing their dining table with the world’s tallest mammal.

And now the pair are sharing the mesmerising experience with the outside world – opening the manor gates to guests at the world’s first giraffe hotel.

Mrs Carr-Hartley said: “Mikey and I grew up near to this manor house when we were children.

“We are both third generation Kenyans who have always wanted to work in conservation.

“Mikey’s family have been involved in the protection of animals for many generations.

“His grandad was even involved in the relocation of giraffes as far back as the 1930s. Moving the giraffes ensured their protection and continued existence.

“When the house came up for sale we jumped at the chance to buy it as we had always dreamed of one day owning it.

“We are now absolutely overjoyed to be involved with the protection of this very endangered species.

“Having the giraffes so close is very special and something which people can now experience by staying in one of the six rooms at the hotel.”

Giraffe Manor is home to eight Rothschild giraffes, they are some of the rarest on earth second only to the Niger Giraffe, with only a few hundred left in the wild.

A conservation project to save them was started at the Manor In 1974 when the grandson of a Scots Earl, Jock Leslie Melville and his American wife Betty bought the stately home.

Later that year they moved two highly endangered Rothschild giraffe into the estate where third and fourth generations live on.

As well as the herd of giraffes, the manor plays host to a large families of warthogs, exotic birds and the elusive bush buck.

Guests feed the giraffes at breakfast, but can also get up close and personal with them from the second floor bedrooms.

Mrs Carr-Hartley added: “We know all of the giraffes by name, 13-year-old Lynne is the leader of the herd and can be very persistent about getting treats

“Pretty Arlene is 15-years-old and is the smallest of the six females. She loves people and will stand below the terrace and allow people to hug her.

“She quite often loves to just hang out with us and loves to be stroked and touched.

“She had her only calf, Barney, in August 2007, they are devoted to each other and he has really come on in the last few months.

“He is still a little bit nervous about being stroked and touched but he loves kisses.

“He is currently on the cusp of a scruffy schoolboy and always has food between his horns dropped by the larger females

“He is a typical teenager – one moment a sweet little boy and next second full of attitude.

“Every day at 9am the herd like nothing better than to stroll over to the house and have a good morning stretch.

“They have special pellets which are made for race horses, but are very nutritious, otherwise they snack on twigs and leaves around the grounds.

“The giraffes bend all the way down to take treats from the front door entrance, they are very friendly.

“But guests need to keep in mind giraffes are graceful, but very powerful animals so we ask them not to approach them when they are roaming the gardens.

“The conservation of the giraffes is very important to us, the giraffes here are semi tame because they have been hand reared.

“But the previous owners ran a very successful breeding programme, where many giraffes were released into the wild and we hope to continue.”

The Rothschild giraffes that roam the estate are the second most endangered subspecies of giraffe and there are only a few hundred of them left on earth.

They lost much of their natural habitat in western Kenya and faced extinction.

The giraffes at the site grow up to more than five metres tall, weigh 1,900kg and have a life expectancy of about 20 to 30 years.

Story by the Telegraph.co.uk