Sculptor Ronit Baranga has reimagined the dining room table as a freakshow of fingers and mouths protruding from everyday tableware in the name of art. Although we may chalk this up to an artistic case of “why the hell not?”, there is actually a purpose to the weirdness. Baranga’s intention is to blur the boundaries between the “alive” and the “still” and, for some reason, change the way we observe useful tableware:

The useful, passive, tableware can now be perceived as an active object, aware of itself and its surroundings – responding to it. It does not allow to be taken for granted, to be used. It decides on its own how to behave in the situation.

Indeed. So now we can all imagine dinner conversation with a plate and getting flipped off by a teacup.

Check out some additional examples after the jump.

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middle earth cup top

As the story goes, a barista found this cup during his shift. As in, some customer drew a wonderfully detailed map of Middle Earth on a Starbucks cup and just left it there. Seems a little suspect.

The Redditor behind the pics insists that he’s just a barista, and not part of the Starbucks marketing team—but that hardly matters. Starbucks should have officially worked this out for all the cups as part of a Hobbit-themed promotion.

See more pics after the break…

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These fun photos are the work of Rebecca Rütten who is a German photographer. She took photos of people with modern-day fast food posed to look like paintings straight out of the Renaissance. She calls them Contemporary Pieces and explains them thusly:

During the conception of “Contemporary Pieces, “I became enamored with the eroticism, presentation and charisma of paintings from the Renaissance Period. In the Late Renaissance, Italian and Dutch painters dealt with the middle and lower classes. In my opinion, Fast Food Culture represents these two social classes in the United States today. To eat healthy is expensive. However, one can buy large amounts of food at a fast food restaurant for a comparatively low price.

Tacos and donuts have never looked so elegant.

See more examples after the break.

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Professional artists and photographers Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman don’t just play with their food–they make art with it. In their latest photo series, titled “Processed Views: Surveying the Industrial Landscape,” the duo created miniature landscapes using a whole mess of junk food. The landscapes are inspired by the works of Carleton Watkins, a 19th century photographer who specialized in documenting the western United States.

In fact, Watkins’ pics of Yosemite helped to expose the valley’s natural beauty to the broader public, which in turn helped the region eventually become a National Park. However, as an interesting aside, Watkins was also commissioned by various corporate entities as well (especially those with ties in the rail, mining, lumber and milling industries). Ciurej and Lochman wrote on their website that “[Watkins’] commissions served as both documentation of and advertisement for the American West.”

Their junk food art serves as a commentary on that idea of blending modernism and natural beauty, or what they refer to as “the frontier of industrial food production: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology.”

“As we move further away from the sources of our food,” said Curej and Lochman on their site, “we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”

Take a look at some more examples after the break…

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When the chefs at Jurassic Park stocked the freezer with ice cream, I’m hoping they considered something like this fictional Jurassic Sweet dessert line. Artist Alejo Malia took the dinos from Jurassic Park and mixed them with Ben & Jerry’s fun naming conventions and came up with concoctions such as Donutsaurus Rex, Oreosaurus, Cookieraptor, and Wafflesaurus. If this concept was ever made into a real product line, I’d buy it all just because of the names and illustrations. I’m a sucker like that.

More of the prehistoric dessert art after the break.

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Your Mom probably warned you not to play with knives, but artist Li Hongbo chose to play with them just the same and created some beautiful artwork in the process. Images are cut from the knives of the blades to leave a negative space in the metal with images of animals like frogs, bears, and human skeletons. It’s currently part of an art show called Contemporary by Angela Li. The artist says it’s to serve as a warning that humans are destroying ourselves and our world through poor treatment of animals.

See more pictures after the break.

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Think you’re looking at a delicious meal of sushi and sashimi? Wrong. The above dish is made of candy. Artist Jess Gabe used the following materials to make her faux sushi: Airheads, Rice Krispie Treats, fruit jellies, fruit roll up, sugar crystals, icing and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. It’s all part of her drool-worthy Candy Cuisine project.

She takes a variety of savory meals like sushi, pot pies, and tacos and makes them from candy for fun, and she does an incredible job.

Check out more sugary meals after the break.

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Sure, beverages quench your thirst, but some of them have stories. Photographer Jason McGroarty worked with project curator Karen McDermott to bring the cultures of different drinks to life with beautiful images of miniature cities sitting atop beverages like wine, coffee, and Guinness in his “A Place to Go, Please” project. I want to go there. Fortunately, prints are available.

More of the creative series after the break.

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Cartoonist Josh Hara is turning his daily cup of Joe into a work of art by sketching pictures on the back of Starbucks coffee cups. They all come with a punchline, many coffee-based, and are really impressive. He’s even done some that involve more than one cup to create the scene, like a line of evolving cavemen. He told Mashable:

I think that if I was just sharing cartoons on a flat piece of paper, people wouldn’t be enjoying them as much as they have been. I think there is some extra interest in taking something we see every day, something that often gets thrown into the trash, and transforming it into a piece of artwork.

See more examples of his work after the break.

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Artist Soo Min Kim uses his artistic skills to transform the iconic Starbucks siren into all kinds of different characters. He starts with an existing cup, covers up everything but the siren’s face and uses a marker to transform the cup into a piece of art. He’s turned the siren into Darth Vader, various members of the Avengers, and Psy among others. His work definitely makes me look at Starbucks cups differently.

See more pics and see the artist at work after the break.

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