by Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Artists from Kington’s Holier Than Thou Tattoo carve pumpkins, talk medium

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Tattoo artist Frankie Carey prepared a simple design featuring bats and the Holier Than Thou initials.
Matt Mattei | For Times Leader
Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn draws a skeleton face on a pumpkin to carve it at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn carved a detailed image into a pumpkin for the first time.
Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Chuck Wynn carves a pumpkin at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn decided to use a pumpkin carving kit to hollow and carve the pumpkin.
Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn carves a pumpkin using a serrated knife from a pumpkin carving kit at Holier Than Thou Tattoo in Kingston. Wynn said the biggest difficulty in carving pumpkins is fatigue to the carving hand.
Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Chuck Wynn’s finished jack-o’-lantern features a detailed skull. It was Wynn’s first crack at designing and carving a detailed image on a pumpkin.
Matt Mattei | For Times Leader
Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn drew his skull on a pumpkin with Sharpie marker before hollowing it out and carving it. He said using the pumpkin carving tools was “different” but “not bad.”
Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Professional pumpkin carvers may take the Halloween tradition to expert heights, but carving a jack-o’-lantern or spooky image into the holiday squash is something embraced by many Halloween lovers, not just artists. The medium, however, can be a tricky one.

Artists from the Kingston studio, Holier Than Thou Tattoo, stepped out of their comfort zone to try their creative hands at pumpkin carving. They talked about the difficulties and pit falls of pumpkin art and had a little fun at the same time.

Frankie Carey is a Larksville tattoo artist who specializes in American traditional tattooing, but still experiments with styles to find her unique expression.

Carey, and fellow artist Amanda Malia, of Kingston, let their guards down and took on a complicated pumpkin design.

“Our first idea was to do a 3-D pumpkin, because we’re artsy types, and we were going to do a cat’s face,” Carey said. “It didn’t work out the way we were hoping. It’s actually not an easy medium to work with, so we went with a more simple design with a few bats and our company initials.”

Carey said her biggest difficulty was accomplishing smooth curves, but she learned a bit about the poker, a specific tool in her carving kit.

“I ended up poking holes at the ends of difficult lines and connecting them,” Carey said.

Carey said she painted her pumpkin last year.

“I used acrylic paints, and it came out great,” Carey said. “I didn’t want to deal with the mess, and the pumpkin lasted a lot longer.”

Carey said she’d advise anyone going for a complicated design to hollow out the pumpkin first, use the poking tool for the ends of difficult lines and to watch YouTube videos or use stencils provided in a kit.

Chuck Wynn, a Dupont artist, carved a pumpkin on site. For Wynn, who works in black and grey realism when he tattoos, the pumpkin was his first serious venture with the medium.”

“I never really carved pumpkins too much,” Wynn said.

Wynn used a Sharpie marker to make a freehand sketch of a skull turned to the right of the viewer.

He then went about cutting out the top of the pumpkin and hallowing out the inside.

“It feels slimy,” Wynn said. “It’s like I’m pulling its brain out. But it makes me want to eat the pumpkin seeds.”

Wynn chose the serrated carving tool and scoop from his carving kit to remove the innards and kept with the selected knife to carve the face.

“It’s working pretty well,” Wynn said as his skull took shape. “It’s definitely different, but it’s not that bad.”

In about 90 minutes, Wynn had carved a relatively complicated design and had a distinct image complete. His only major difficulty was fatigue.

“It started to get hard on the hand after a while,” he said. “But it’s not bad for my first pumpkin.”

Tattoo artist Frankie Carey prepared a simple design featuring bats and the Holier Than Thou initials.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_BatPumpkin.jpgTattoo artist Frankie Carey prepared a simple design featuring bats and the Holier Than Thou initials. Matt Mattei | For Times Leader

Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn draws a skeleton face on a pumpkin to carve it at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn carved a detailed image into a pumpkin for the first time.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL100516PumpkinCarving1.jpgTattoo artist Chuck Wynn draws a skeleton face on a pumpkin to carve it at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn carved a detailed image into a pumpkin for the first time. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Chuck Wynn carves a pumpkin at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn decided to use a pumpkin carving kit to hollow and carve the pumpkin.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL100516PumpkinCarving2.jpgChuck Wynn carves a pumpkin at Holier Than Thou Tattoo shop in Kingston. Wynn decided to use a pumpkin carving kit to hollow and carve the pumpkin. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn carves a pumpkin using a serrated knife from a pumpkin carving kit at Holier Than Thou Tattoo in Kingston. Wynn said the biggest difficulty in carving pumpkins is fatigue to the carving hand.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL100516PumpkinCarving3.jpgTattoo artist Chuck Wynn carves a pumpkin using a serrated knife from a pumpkin carving kit at Holier Than Thou Tattoo in Kingston. Wynn said the biggest difficulty in carving pumpkins is fatigue to the carving hand. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Chuck Wynn’s finished jack-o’-lantern features a detailed skull. It was Wynn’s first crack at designing and carving a detailed image on a pumpkin.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_SkullPumpkin.jpgChuck Wynn’s finished jack-o’-lantern features a detailed skull. It was Wynn’s first crack at designing and carving a detailed image on a pumpkin. Matt Mattei | For Times Leader

Tattoo artist Chuck Wynn drew his skull on a pumpkin with Sharpie marker before hollowing it out and carving it. He said using the pumpkin carving tools was “different” but “not bad.”
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL100516PumpkinCarving5.jpgTattoo artist Chuck Wynn drew his skull on a pumpkin with Sharpie marker before hollowing it out and carving it. He said using the pumpkin carving tools was “different” but “not bad.” Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Local artists talk about working on pumpkin flesh instead of human

by Matt Mattei

[email protected]

Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts