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The Maniac Pumpkin Carvers at work

A Buff Monster pumpkin created by the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Oct. 18, 2014. (Siemnond Chan/Yahoo Finance)

Inside the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers workshop


In time for Halloween the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers, creative art studio, held the Cotton Candy Machine workshop in Brooklyn, N.Y., demonstrating techniques and tools to create intricate pumpkin art. Maniac Pumpkin Carvers, which focuses on elevating the art of pumpkin carving, were a past winner of the Food Network's Halloween Wars. Their work has been displayed at MOMA, the Whitney Museum and Yankee Stadium.

Founders Marc Evan and Chris Soria, friends since they were 12, have a history of trying to outdo each other on who can make something scarier for Halloween. The duo started carving pumpkins when they were studying illustration at the Parsons School of Design. After graduating in 2002, they started doing illustration and mural work in New York City, and worked part-time at restaurants and bars for extra income. They started carving pumpkins for their employers to use as Halloween decorations. Evans and Soria wanted to see how far they could push beyond the traditional style of pumpkin carving that had been dominant and onto a more artistic level.

Their work really caught on in a way the two artists never imagined. Over the next several years, they developed techniques that allow for creating elaborate and fully-rendered images on pumpkins. In 2008, Wired magazine approached them after seeing some of their work on Flickr, and asked the pair if they could create “Star Wars” characters on pumpkins. They went to work and delivered a series of Star Wars pumpkins the next day.

Waves of requests started flooding in after the Wired article was published. In 2009, the New York Yankees approached them for 50 pumpkins to display in their skyboxes during the World Series. Evans and Soria realized that their art had actual business potential, and Maniac Pumpkin Carvers was formed. They started holding workshops and demonstrations, their pumpkins were used as props for TV shows and movies, and the Food Network and Martha Stewart commissioned customized carvings.

Outside pumpkin season, which begins in August and lasts until Thanksgiving, the two partners work on illustrations and large-scale murals all over New York. They work around the clock in the fall to fulfill the orders; because their medium is perishable, they have to work fast and close to when the pumpkins are scheduled for show. Typically, their workshop in Brooklyn is busy from 9 a.m. until 3 or 4 a.m., with a team of 6 to 8 carvers at any given time working on various projects. (Siemond Chan/Yahoo Finance)

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