With Halloween behind us for another year, and the ghouls safely back in the box, why not grab a cheap uncarved pumpkin and create your own intricate Jack O’Lantern? For inspiration, look no further than the work of artist Ray Villafane, who carves horrific faces into our favourite scary squash.
Drawing on his experience creating models for DC and Marvel comics, Ray sculpts twisted faces to thrill Halloween tricksters and gothic horror fans alike. Based in Bellaire, rural Michigan, his pumpkins – which include the Predator and President Obama – have become an internet sensation and appeared on American prime time television.
Using clay tools, Ray said most pumpkins take a couple of hours to carve. But the “Zipperhead” model, his most intricate carving to date, took the best part of a day. Speaking to the Telegraph, he pointed out that the quality of pumpkin was important: “The most important thing about a pumpkin is its weight,” said Ray. “You need to pick the meatiest pumpkin.”
He added: “I also like a pumpkin with character. One with knobbly ridges is good, so that I can utilise that in the carving procedure, like with sculpting noses.” Ray has been passionate about sculpting since his days as an art teacher at a Michigan school. He approached his first pumpkin as a lump of clay rather than a vegetable and was satisfied with the results. Most of all, his pupils loved it.
“For the past couple of years I have been really sitting down and giving my Halloween pumpkin designs more thought than usual due to the increased interest in my carvings,” said Ray. “Now that the thing has grown in popularity, I am definitely feeling the pressure to deliver on the pumpkin front.”
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