We have all taken a knife from a drawer and carved a pumpkin when we were growing up. A few triangles for eyes, some jagged cuts for teeth in the mouth, another triangle for the nose, drop in a candle, and it’s done. The artist Ray Villafane, and his crew have been doing something a tad above that basic style of carving. He was born in New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1991. He was an Art teacher from 1993 – 2006 in Michigan for children ranging from kindergarten up to seniors in high school. When fall would come around, he would try carving pumpkins, and a few students liked what he was able to make so they would bring in pumpkins for him to carve. The students and their parents liked his carvings so much, that he started getting a lot of requests. As he got better and better, he realized he was onto something. He started sculpting in 2004 and became so successful at it, that he was able to retire from teaching in 2006 to pursue a full-time career as a sculptor. He is a professional sculptor for a company that makes collectible toys like super heroes. I remember when I first saw him on the Food Network, on a show named Halloween Wars. I was absolutely astounded that he could visually see a pumpkin, and mentally have an idea to turn it into something so lifelike. Instead of carving out holes into the pumpkin, he shaves off layers to add depth and make his carving appear to be fight its way out of the pumpkin. The amount of small details he can put into something organic like a pumpkin is just incredible. One of the things I really like about his work is he tries to use the entire pumpkin, the outer skin, the seeds, the “guts”, and even the top. He creates a 3 dimensional in the round carving that is intended to be viewed from many different angles.
Just in case you think this is scary, he’s a fun YouTube video about his process and how he goes about it.
Do you like this style of sculpting and art work?
Is this something you would try?
Would this be as impressive if it were done from clay, instead of from pumpkins?