Mediocre artists put just enough time into their work to finish the job. Truly great artists put their whole heart and soul into what they do, persisting until it's perfect. Some artists keep going well after that point, not stopping when the work is done, or when it's perfect, or indeed ever -- no matter how infuriating and unnecessary the effort might seem. Depending on who you ask, these people either are shining examples of the human endeavor or just, like, really didn't have anything better to do that decade.
#6. Salt Sculptures Built to Be Demolished
You probably think you have the patience of a saint because you waited through that two-hour DMV line and only swore at the clerk three times. But you are nothing compared to Motoi Yamamoto, the artist who makes things like this:
Lairs for his giant spiders. Nothing wrong with that ...
... entirely out of salt.
The salt is not held immobile in any way. Yamamoto makes his creations completely out of loose granules he pours out through a squeeze bottle. Here's a video of him in action, filling a whole room up with his designs inch by painstaking inch. If he sneezed, he'd instantly erase a month of work.
Stefan Worring/Motoi Yamamoto
That's why, after several years, he reluctantly abandoned pepper sculpting.
Yamamoto also defies physics to create 3D sculptures out of the same fine, powdery dust that we can't even manage to wipe completely off the kitchen counter, much less carefully stack into a quarter-scale model of that stairway from The Lord of the Rings.
We can't imagine putting half the amount of effort into raising a child, much less a tiny salt maze ...
He makes slugs solve this maze. If they touch the walls, they die.
... that will be utterly destroyed after only a few weeks. Yamamoto doesn't just invite the audience to completely annihilate his artwork -- he insists that they tromp through his delicate lines like a bunch of well-seasoned Godzillas.
James Martin/The Mint Museum
Again, this only makes sense if he's marinating victims for his giant spider pet.
He only asks that, after these heathens are done ruining something beautiful, the salt be returned to the sea from whence it came. Salt is very important in Japanese culture, as it's used to purify bodies after death and ward away evil spirits. That's why Yamamoto does this: All of his work is dedicated to his younger sister, who died of brain cancer in 1996.
Great. And we promised we wouldn't cry today. Maybe Yamamoto can use our salty tears to paint a forest or something.
#5. The 200-Foot Memorial in the Middle of the Sahara Desert
In September of 1989, Libyan terrorists brought down a French commuter plane flying from the Congo to Paris. The plane crashed in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet: the Sahara Desert. The wreckage was never cleaned up, and the remains of the exploded plane stayed right where they landed all the way up until 2007, when the families of the victims trekked out into the middle of one of the hottest places in the world, gathered up some of the pieces, and used them to help build a 200-foot memorial in the sand.
Google Maps via ITV
It doubles as a compass for lost skydivers.
That's how the memorial appears from satellite via Google Earth. We hope you appreciate it, because you are essentially its only audience. It's not like scorpions and buzzards are known for their fine artistic sensibilities -- no swooning art lovers are going to wander by this work with a glass of wine. Two full months of sweaty, back-breaking work in the Saharan summer, and it was all solely for the benefit of the families themselves, and probably also to really confuse armchair Internet explorers.
Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc/Familles de l'Attentat du DC10 d'UTA
"We still get emails from puzzled Lost fans."
#4. Huge, Intricate Sand Patterns That Don't Even Last a Day
Imagine dedicating your entire day to putting together a huge work of art with painstaking precision. Sure, it's only a single day, but it's exhausting work, and the results are impressive. Then, as soon as it's done, you turn around to watch the tide wipe it all away. We punched a crab once when the sea filled in a moderately deep hole we'd managed to dig. We can't imagine the heartbreak of watching something like this erased like God's Etch A Sketch:
Another classic Beach Boys recording lost forever.
The guy on the right is Jim Denevan, and he spent all day doing this with a rake:
"It's no use, Jim. You'll never get it clean."
Denevan doesn't use any kind of measuring device or schematics to form his art; he just has an uncanny eye for what it looks like from the sky. And after his work is done, he's lucky if somebody manages to snap a hasty photo or two before the work is inevitably reclaimed by the sea. When asked how he feels about dying a little bit inside every single evening, he replied: "Who would want it not to wash away?"
Why does he want to erase this? Who is he contacting?
We're not sure if that's a beautiful sentiment about the fleeting nature of life, or if Jim is just a bit of a masochist.