Saturday, 18 July 2015

Steve Casino - Painter of Nuts

Good Morning, Evening, Afternoon!

I wanted diversity with this blog and byjingo I think we have that today.  I love what I'm about to share with you (and I will resist any nut related puns! - only because I couldn't think of any that Steve wouldn't have heard 100x before or else I couldn't have resisted)  So anyway....

I find it inspiring how creative people can see an inanimate object meant for one purpose and then see the  potential to make something from it.

Steve is a prime example of this.  He paints portraits on Peanut shells from Peanut Edward Scissorhands to Clint Eastwood to Picasso!  The resemblance is amazing.

Clint Eastwood


He has even done a Self Portrait... meet Steve.

Before Steve can even get started he has to find the right shaped nut for his subject then...

Firstly the actual nut inside is removed, the shells are then sealed with archival urethane, smoothed and glued back together.  Then Steve constructs the piece and paints the portrait, which can take up to 20 hours, the whole thing is then coated in clear acrylic.  The final result is then sealed in a glass dome.

YouTube video about Steve's work

Here are a few more examples of peanut work.

Steve was commissioned by MTV to do nut portraits of the characters from the popular programme Game of Thrones..

and here are a few others..

Muhammad Ali

John Wayne, my Dad would love this I lost count of how many times John Wayne films would be on in our house when we were growing up, the likeness is incredible!  

Boba Fett from Star Wars

I just love how Steve is so meticulous with every single little detail and he clearly enjoys what he does.  He also does some non human portrait work too.

Pug Nut!

Steve also does some sculpting using rubbish.  Upcycling for art is a particular favourite thing of mine and I plan to feature more artists in the future who are doing exactly that. Having the ability to see and then actually make something creative from something someone else just discards is brilliant and these are exactly that.  Love that Walnut shell and mint tin.

So two more Peanut Portraits and then we'll meet the man himself.  They are both unmistakable in their likeness but just in case you're unsure... the first is a favourite of mine - Gene Wilder Willy Wonka with an Oompa Loompa and then it's the totally distinguishable Mr Sean Connery as Bond.

Let's meet the man himself (not Sean Connery, Steve!)

Hi Steve!....

My name is Steve Casino I grew up in Mercer, PA USA.

Please tell us about your art now and what you do.

I started turning peanut shells into people about three years ago. At first I just drew on them with a marker creating funny pics of my friends. After that I started painting on them. Soon I was sculpting too. Now I still make peanut people but I also make mechanical toys and other more adventurous sculptures. The peanuts are extremely difficult to do so I find most everything else easy compared to them.

What is your earliest memory?

Sneaking out of bed when I was three to dig into a box of Corn Pops and get the toy yo yo out. My Mom caught me.

Do you ever suffer from a creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?

Rarely, but when I do I either take a long walk and listen to music or look at thousands of photos on Instagram.

Who inspires you?

Kurt Vonnegut was a huge inspiration for developing my weird sense of humor. For visual arts I Like Red Grooms, Alexander Calder, Jason Freeny, Wayne White. Trent Reznor inspires me as an all-around artist.

What is your favourite piece of work that you've created?

MTV hired me to make 12 characters from the show “Game Of Thrones.” That was a blast because I absolutely love the show.

Why Peanuts?

They’re my favorite snack and are always around. Plus the shells totally look like the head and torso of people.

What are your creative ambitions for the future?

Just to keep trying new stuff and new platforms. I like taking the skills I’ve built creating peanut art and applying them to different things. But I still like making peanuts too. I make at least 3 a week.

How do you silence your inner critic ?

I just put whatever I’m working on away for a while and try something else.

What do you do when you're not being creative?

Watch Dr. Who with my wife and 2 daughters.

What would be your 3 desert island craft/art items

A block of wood, and x-acto knife, and one person to show the result to.

Tell us where we can find your work and your social media sites.

Instagram: @stevecasino
Twitter: @stevecasino1

I have loved looking through Steve's work - thank you for allowing me to do a feature Steve, your pieces are a lot of fun.  Who couldn't enjoy them,  you'd be nuts not to (Wahayy...I know, I'm sorry I said I wouldn't - it's just one tiny pun and it's a bad one and the most obvious but just couldn't resist)  

Please do check out Steve's sites because there is so much more to see.

The great thing about doing this blog is seeing who/what inspires people like Steve, I'm learning so much and I hope as a reader you get something from it too.  For example, Steve said that Jason Freeny was one of his inspirations - I went over and checked him out, I love Dissected Sully from Monsters Inc. and Dissected Gingerbread Man is brilliant too.  I'd never heard of Jason so that's my something new for the day (Jason is on my list of people I'd love to feature!).

Thank you again Steve and I wish you no end of success with your sculptures in the future (by the way... I think it's genius leaving the backside of the nut untouched, especially your reason for doing it!)

Please follow my blog if you'd like to meet more amazingly creative people and if you enjoyed this post about Steve's creations you will probably enjoy my post about Mike Viner's  sculptures.  


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