What do you think about when you hear “pencil carving“? Perhaps some artists have carved faces or sculptures out of a whole pencil, which is pretty amazing, right? Well, the kind of pencil carving I’m talking about involves sculpting detailed 3D images on the tiny tip of a lead pencil.
Today, I want to introduce you to the master of pencil carving, Dalton Ghetti. Most of us would never look at the tip of a pencil and think, “maybe I can carve a shoe on this”! But for this amazing artist, a pencil tip is the perfect canvas, even if it does require extra patience:
The pencil tip is great; it’s like a pure, very homogenous material,” says Mr. Ghetti. “It cuts in the same direction, not like wood, which has a grain. But when I tell people how long it takes, that’s when they don’t believe it. That’s what amazes people more, the patience. Because everything nowadays has to be fast, fast, fast.”
Mr. Ghetti’s pieces often take several months to years to complete. However, that’s no problem for him because he has never sold of any of his work and does not intend to do so:
It’s hard to explain but for me it’s like a sort of meditation. I’m alone with no music on in my studio and in a deep state of concentration, it’s like another mind state I float about in.”
He usually gives his masterpieces away to friends – how lucky for them! Let’s take a look at Dalton Ghetti’s incredible pencil carving art!
Pencil Carving by Dalton Ghetti
Dalton Ghetti, originally from Brazil but now lives in the US, knew that he was interested in carving at a young age. He experimented with carving tree bark, soap and chalk before choosing graphite as his main medium. He has now been carving pencils for over 25 years. He uses only a few tools including a sewing needle, a razor blade and a sculpting knife. Check out some of his work:
Can you believe Mr. Ghetti does all his pencil carving without the aid of a magnifying glass? What a keen eye for detail, not to mention a steady hand and lots of talent!
I use the sewing needle to make holes or dig into the graphite. I scratch and create lines and turn the graphite around slowly in my hand. Also, I never buy the pencils, my friends are always giving me them to sculpt or sometimes I use ones I find in the street.”
You might be thinking now, “what if a sculpture breaks before it’s finished?” After all, it’s not easy material to work with. Well, Mr. Ghetti knows that’s part of the art and takes it in stride. He has over 100 pieces that have broken in the process of being carved, which he displays on a styrofoam bed and fondly refers to as “the cemetery collection”.
Mr. Ghetti’s pencil carving art has been on display internationally at galleries and museums; however, his work is not for sale. This humble artist does not do it for the money, but for the pure pleasure of creating art. What a guy!
Pencil Carving and Toothpick Carving | Unconventional Art Forms
There are a number of artists out there who like to use unconventional mediums. Dalton Ghetti is one such artist, with his pencil carving. Another artist named Bob Shamey from Pennsylvania prefers to carve fruit pits and toothpicks. Check out a video of him carving toothpicks into works of art on my previous blog post: Food Art | Chinese Fruit Pit Carving.
You will find all sorts of examples of fruit carving art throughout my blog. If you are curious about other fascinating and unusual food art and carving hobbies, take a look at some of my previous blog posts:
Pizza Portraits – Celebrity Portraits in pizza.
Coffee Portraits – Celebrity portraits in espresso. Al Pacino Cappuccino anyone?
Food Landscapes – you got to see if to believe the intricacies of this!
Sugar Art Some of the best sugar / cake art in the world.
Chinese Sugar Painting – Street Food Art
Butter Carving – Carvings made of hundreds of pounds of butter
Edible Fashion – Dresses made from chocolate, mushrooms, onions, gummy worms and more
Salt Art – Celebrity Portraits
World flags made from foods of each country
Here is how you can learn to carve watermelon and pumpkin portraits.
I hope you enjoyed seeing photos of Dalton Ghetti’s pencil carving. Impressive, aren’t they? I can relate to what Mr. Ghetti said about carving being a way to meditate because you are in a deep state of concentration. I certainly feel that way about vegetable and fruit carving. Creating art is a wonderful way to relax. On that note, maybe you won’t take up pencil carving just yet, but I do hope that you will make time for your own artistic pursuits, whatever they may be.