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These Seas Of Tiny Plastic Pieces Become Something Surprising When You Step Back

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At first glance, the subjects of Kevin Champeny”s artwork seem perfectly ordinary: a rose, a skull, a portrait of Derek Jeter. Yet a closer inspection reveals that they aren”t what they seem at all. Each one of Champeny”s pieces is actually a mosaic of thousands and thousands of tiny plastic pieces, all meticulously molded to resemble candies and other objects.

It”s not just assembling all these tiny pieces into a larger image, either. Champeny molds each tiny component out of urethane or acrylic using handmade molds. Talk about a painstaking process!

Check out some of his work below, and marvel at the tiny details that each piece holds!

A Rose By Any Other Name, made from 15,000+ pieces of cast urethane candies.

<i>A Rose By Any Other Name</i>, made from 15,000+ pieces of cast urethane candies.

The candies you see here aren”t real, but molded plastic. Champeny describes this “cloyingly sweet” creation as “a perfect example of how far you can take a theme before it just about implodes.” Why didn”t he use real candy? Well, that would have been going too far.

What Remains, 35,000+ hand-cast urethane flowers.

<i>What Remains</i>, 35,000+ hand-cast urethane flowers.

Each of the thousands of roses is cast in differently colored resins, so nothing is painted. In addition, each rose mold was hand-created by Champeny, and there are about 30 different individual molds used here. Each rose was glued on by hand, with the colors corresponding to the color of the skull”s surfaces and shadows. A project like this typically takes several months to complete.

Sweey Pysanka, 8,500 pieces of hand-cast urethane candy.

<i>Sweey Pysanka</i>, 8,500 pieces of hand-cast urethane candy.

This 3D sculpture was created for the Big Egg Hunt, an event held in New York City and hosted by Faberge in the spring of 2014. The egg was inspired by pysanka, the intricately designed, wax-painted Easter eggs from Ukraine. The event raised money that was then donated to various charities.

Sweet Death, 33,000+ hand-cast urethane pieces of candy.

<i>Sweet Death</i>, 33,000+ hand-cast urethane pieces of candy.

Sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos really are made of candy, so Champeny put his own spin on the colorful tradition and created this flat image of a sugar skull using plastic candies. Do you recognize those roses at the bottom?

School of Transcendence, 25,000 hand-cast plastic fish.

<i>School of Transcendence</i>, 25,000 hand-cast plastic fish.

These fish were created using a mold that Champeny used as a learning tool when he was new to the art of casting urethane. Eventually, they became this piece. “Finishing this closed a chapter on a very long process that helped me get to the point where I am now in my career,” he says.

Killing Field, 12,500 hand-cast animal pieces.

<i>Killing Field,</i> 12,500 hand-cast animal pieces.

This piece, which depicts shotgun shells, is composed of dismembered pieces of animals, including legs, tails, wings, heads, and hands.

Hot Wheels, 4,400 Hot Wheels cars.

<i>Hot Wheels</i>, 4,400 Hot Wheels cars.

Instead of casting these cars, Champeny collected actual Hot Wheels cars. It took him several months to collect them all, and another month to assemble them. “This is perhaps the most fun I have had creating a mosaic,” he says. “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.” And because the pieces here are larger than the other urethane pieces, this mosaic weighs 550 pounds.

The Creation of the Flag, 44,450 hand-cast urethane army men.

<i>The Creation of the Flag</i>, 44,450 hand-cast urethane army men.

This 72-inch-wide mosaic was created as a commission via Jellio for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Michigan. Typically, Champeny takes a few months to create something like this, but for this project, he was only given 30 days to cast all the army men in three different colors, and then arrange and mount them. It was exhausting work, he says, but he remains proud of it.

The Face of Baseball, 10,000+ hand-cast 1/2-inch-diameter baseballs.

<i>The Face of Baseball</i>, 10,000+ hand-cast 1/2-inch-diameter baseballs.

Movado Watches commissioned this portrait of Derek Jeter upon Jeter”s retirement. Using baseballs seems like an obvious choice, but for Champeny, the choice goes deeper: “I thought creating a portrait of someone with the very thing they loved was the best way to honor their work.”

King Gummy, 15,000+ hand-cast acrylic gummy bears.

<em>King Gummy</em>, 15,000+ hand-cast acrylic gummy bears.

“This was so much fun to make for I Love Sugar in Myrtle Beach [South Carolina],” Champeny says. “At nearly 6 feet tall, it is the largest mosaic I have made completely out of gummy bears. The translucency of the gummy bears makes it look like stained glass. I created about 30 colors of gummy bears to complete this piece.”

Champeny and King Gummy.

Champeny and King Gummy.

(via Mental Floss)

Besides these mosaics, Champeny also creates a number of other sculptures and crafts using bright colors and materials in unexpectedly fun ways. You can see more of his work on his Tumblr and Facebook pages.

For more art made from many little, unexpected things, check out what these artists are working on:

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