Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Pumpkin Carvings as Art

We are at a loss for words to describe the amazing skill, talent and imagination of artist Ray Villafane and his creepily gorgeous pumpkin carvings, just in time for Halloween.

These are not your average jack-o-lanterns. Each piece is uniquely innovative and outstanding.

Check out his pumpkin carving tutorial, where Ray reveals his tools and techniques for these funny and ghoulish creations.

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Ray uses clay ribbon loops in various sizes for different purposes in the remarkable creation process. Painstakingly shaving the pumpkin gradually and then adding detail with small gouging motions, Ray also employs the use of a paring knife for deep grooves and an xacto for detail work.

His website illustrates, step by step on a real pumpkin, how he concocts the eerie faces.

“Picking out the right pumpkin is very important,” Ray cautions, telling the reader to look for “thick walls” and to “avoid perfectly round pumpkins. Opt for ones that have a protruding ridge that sticks out on one side,” he says, adding that odder shapes make nice faces and are easier to carve deeper for a cooler, more 3-D effect.

“Be brave, go deep,” he says. “Unfortunately if you go too deep you’ll break through and have to get a new pumpkin and start over, but if you don’t go deep enough it just will not look as impressive. After a few hundred mess ups you will begin to know just exactly how thick your pumpkins are. The grain will become more fibrous as you approach the center. Every year I accidentally break through a few. Typically I put my fist through the face, throw it out to the deer and start over.”

Ray began carving pumpkins on a lark for his art students in a small rural school district in Michigan. The hobby changed his life as he gained a viral following online and unlocked his genuine love of sculpting. These are some of the images of pumpkin carvings he created over the past five years.

Ray has been published in Society of Illustrators Annual of American Illustration, HOW Magazine, Reflex Magazine, Problems & Solutions, and Upper and Lower Case Periodical.

 His pieces are shown at the New York Art Directors Club, Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, Spaces Gallery and Jordan River Arts Gallery. His clients include Sideshow Collectibles, Reflex Publications, DC Direct, McFarlane Toys and Bowen Designs.

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