The Pumpkin As (Mind Boggling) Fine Art

There’s an intrinsic beauty to artistic pumpkin carving that relates as much to the medium as to the form it takes: when an artist chooses a pumpkin as their material, they choose to create ephemeral artwork. Just as the mandala sand painting must eventually be carried off by the breeze, and as the ice sculpture must melt into the humility of water, the sculpted pumpkin must eventually rot into a putrid mass of moldy goo.

Er… OK, granted that wasn’t the best way to put it, perhaps. Anyway, a pumpkin carving doesn’t last forever. Even the season of pumpkin carving is a short one. But for the moment, autumn is well underway, Halloween nears, and the time for celebrating this unique, ethereal artwork that is the masterful pumpkin carving is upon us.

Related: Pumpkin for Dinner

And if you don’t think pumpkin carving is true art, well then just try your hand at it, mister. While most of us develop hand cramps and inexplicable rage just trying to create a jack-o-lanternlike this sad little pumpkin here:

Headed Toward Goo...

Headed Toward Goo…

…there are artists out there creating masterful carvings like the ones we’re featuring today.

Quick side bar: we strive to give artists’ due credit, but can’t always track down the person behind the piece: if you can help to identify the creator of any of these cravings, by all means tell us; the artist will be named and celebrated forthwith!

Obligatory Death Star

That's No Moon!

That’s No Moon!

Every year we see countless Star Wars-themed pumpkins, many of them taking advantage of the shape of a standard pumpkin to create the iconic Death Star. (Hell, my own brother made a Death Star pumpkin one year, and not a bad one, by the way.) Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not. I fully endorse these efforts. This is one of the finer examples I’ve seen.

Amazing Zombie

Sweet Jesus...

Sweet Jesus…

This one isn’t a jack-o-lantern, of course; rather it’s a goddamned amazing, downright creepy, life-sized sculpture of a zombie emerging from a pumpkin. Not something I want to see on my front stoop, but this is a masterful carving through and through, potential nightmares be damned. It was created by former art school teacher, current full-time sculptor Ray Villafane.

Bat Man… How Appropriate

The Bat Pumpkin

The Bat Pumpkin

Appropriate… because bats? Halloween? Whatever, anyway, this pumpkin is a great example of how careful, patient shaving of pumpkin flesh can create an image that looks stunning when backlit by a candle (or glow stick or light). As for the shape of Bat Man’s deltoid muscles? Might want to get that looked at, that ain’t normal…

The Predator

Yep, That's Terrifying

Yep, That’s Terrifying

Now, seriously… go and try to carve a pumpkin — just a regular ol’ jack-o-lantern with two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Go do that, and then come back here and loom at this thing. Look at the detail on this thing. It’s exquisite… and horrid.

Van Gogh Goes Au Naturel

Starry Night Pumpkin

It’s one thing to put a poster of Van Gogh’s Starry Night up in your dorm room and convince yourself that you’re intellectual/artistic/etc. (Yes… I did briefly have a Starry Night poster up in my freshman year dorm.) It’s another thing altogether to carve an excellent verisimilitude of the masterpiece into a pumpkin. This guy chose the latter.

Let’s Face It…

Face In Pumpkin

…this carving is amazing. Creepy, yes, but that is a life-like representation of a man’s face carved out of pumpkin flesh. Again it’s not a sight you want to behold every day, and certainly not right before bed, but the work is impressive… and fleeting.