LINER Lenny Calvin Sculptes “Outrageous Pumpkins” in Food Network Reality Show

Lenny Calvin of Long Beach, carpenter by trade and sculptor by trade, will be among seven contestants in Season 2 of Food Network’s seasonal pumpkin carving competition, the four episodes “Outrageous Pumpkins” (Sunday at 10pm).

“It wows people when they realize you can really do something completely different from a pumpkin lantern,” says Calvin, 58, whose whimsical and ugly faces in pumpkins and other types of squash and squash help. to carry on a tradition that spans centuries. to stone gargoyles and grotesques. The main difference other than the specific media, he notes, is that, like the Buddhist sand mandalas, his art is not meant to last.

“I like that it’s temporary art,” Calvin says over the phone from home. “I love that there is a clock ticking. The moment you cut a gourd, a pumpkin, a squash, it dehydrates – it disintegrates in front of your face as you work on it. You live all there. ‘artistic vibe doing what you do, and then you have times where it’s over and you enjoy the finished product. And if you’re lucky you can take a really cool picture of it and then it goes and it’s right in your memory or in a photo. “

Calvin – who previously participated in two different three-person teams, alongside a baker and pastry chef, on seasons 6 (2016) and 8 (2018) of the network’s “Halloween Wars” – worked in organic sculpture “probably a good 12, 15 year old,” he says. “I do a lot of clay sculptures. I made some wood. Years ago I played with ice cream. “

Since 2013, with a break from the pandemic, he has given pumpkin carving demonstrations at various Stew Leonard’s supermarkets in the area and has started teaching online. Lately he has started stripping some of his creations, including some highly ornate and monstrous, Cthulhu-like creatures, preserving them indefinitely in airtight containers for display. More to his temper is a nascent set of humorous clay monster characters, The Nubblings, which he is developing for as yet undefined use.

Born in California, with a father who died when Calvin was a child, the artist grew up in New Jersey with his mother and stepfather. His mother’s sister’s husband, Bill Wood, “was like a surrogate dad to me,” he says. Renowned graphic designer who already received a BOLI (Best on Long Island) award from the Long Island Advertising Club, Wood “kind of opened my eyes to the art world. I had a very good imagination and creativity, and he always told me to jump into all types of media to find something of your own, and you will find the ones that stick. “

Motorcyclist Calvin spent most of his adulthood in New Jersey and moved to Long Beach a few years ago with his wife Viana, who grew up and had a home there. “We wanted to be a little closer to our granddaughters,” now 13 and 16, says Calvin

His wife, he adds amiably, keeps his artistry in perspective as the carpentry pays the bills. “She considers everything I do with art to be art and craft. It’s a common joke in my house: when she meets all my crazy friends who are artists and like that, she says to me : “I don’t understand all this arts and crafts stuff!” But when it comes to his grandchildren, Calvin says, his pumpkin carving on TV “keeps my grandpa ‘cool’!”

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