The medium Clive Cooper chose for his art is inherently temporary. He likes it that way.
“There’s no really good way to preserve a pumpkin,” he told CTV News Vancouver in an interview over the Halloween weekend.
“You never know when you’ll pick a pumpkin, how long it lasts. Once you’ve cut into it or peeled it, the clock starts to rot. Just keep it cold, you know, as cold as you can. about the best you can do. “
Cooper began cutting pumpkins for a labor competition, but it quickly became a passion. He has sculpted hundreds of pumpkins, watermelons and other fruits into unique and highly detailed creatures.
He told CTV News that he draws inspiration from a variety of sources.
“Sometimes I go to the sweet side, sometimes I go to the dark side, no matter what happens to inspire me that week,” he said.
Halloween is typically Cooper’s busiest time of the year. He sells sliced pumpkins on commission and also donates some of his works to local organizations.
“Some years I am busier than millipedes in a toe counting competition,” he said.
A small cut can take just a few hours, while larger pieces can take up to eight, Cooper said.
It’s a big effort to put in something that can not be enjoyed for very long, but it’s part of the beauty of the process for Cooper. Each carving is yet another chance to hone his craft and improve, and that is the advice he gives to others interested in learning to carve themselves.
“Do not be put off,” he said. “Keep trying. You don’t get good right away. In fact, I’m glad they do not hold, because if I were to go back and look at some of my first pumpkins, I would be shaken.”
Visit his website to see a photo gallery of Cooper’s work.