Interview Alex Wer_Featured_1200x630

INTERVIEW: Alex Wer – The Man Who Carves Awesomeness

Alex Wer:
The Man Who Carves Awesomeness

By Machete Von Kill

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness

Since 2009, Alex Wer, aka The Pumpkin Geek, has been carving far more complex jack-o-lanterns than then average carver. Then again, Wer is far from average. After carving a pumpkin for his wife's office open house, Alex discovered he could make money with his pumpkin art.

He's carved pumpkins for celebrities like Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Dracula 2000) and Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Prom Night). Wer has carved everything from logos to an impressive battle scene between an Imperial Star Destroyer and X-Wing Starfighters. He's been hired by Netflix for a social media campaign, by Legacy Entertainment for a few movie premiers, and, most recently, Wizard World Comic Con.

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Friday the 13th

I recently got the chance to interview The Pumpkin Geek. Having been a fan since seeing a Joe Mantegna pumpkin posted on the actor's Twitter account a few years back, I was stoked to be able to speak to the 2014 Geekie Award winner. The following is that interview:

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me! I know you started doing conventions 7 years ago, but when did you discover you had so much talent carving pumpkins?

Pumpkin Geek: I always enjoyed carving pumpkins & simply started getting more intricate over the years. Wanted to be the cool neighbor on the block! My wife asked me to carve her company logo for an Open House in October, so I decided to try carving on "craft" pumpkins sold at Michael's. They last forever so I thought the office could use it each year. It was a simple design, but everyone was impressed & I got 35 orders that night, all by accident!

 

HoTS: Were you taught/trained by anyone or was it a series of trial and error?

PG: I was really into Comic Books as a kid and spent hours drawing & tracing Spider-Man...that's pretty much the extent of my training. Simply came from a love from superheroes.

 

HoTS: How long did it take you to start getting exposure and making money with them?

PG: Well, the first night at the Open House, obviously. But, as I improved over the next year, I decided to try selling my work at a Star Trek Convention in Vegas. I was pretty nervous I wouldn't sell anything, but realized, my main goal was to get exposure for what I did. Surprising, I did really well at the convention, and had several Trek actors, including Zachary Quinto, come to my booth to check out what I did. Some of the celebs actually ordered carves & starting posting about me...Talk about geeking out!

HoTS: Did you set out with the goal of making a profit or was it just a bonus that came along with the hobby?

PG: Originally, it was just for fun, but after doing my first convention, I realized that people were really into my work. Since I do everything custom orders, people were really able to celebrate their ultimate fandom at Halloween.

 

HoTS: How many pumpkins would you say you carve in an average October? Do you carve them year round or only in the fall?

PG: Between June and October, I carve about 175 or so, depending on my schedule. I do carve year round, but much less "off season".

 

HoTS: How many would you guess you have carved over your lifetime?

The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Freddy

PG: I would say over 1,000 in the last six plus years, for sure. Never gets old doing it...too much fun!

 

HoTS: Any favorites? Any that you'd really love to carve but haven't been asked yet?

PG: Spider-Man, because he was a childhood hero & Heath Ledger's Joker (which is on my business card), because his performance was so amazing. But there are many others. Anything new, that introduces me into a new fandom that I hadn't discovered yet. The villains & horror carves are always fun, because they really stand out at Halloween.

 

HoTS: Do you get a little star struck with some of your more famous clients? Any favorite or stories you'd like to share?

PG: I have been VERY fortunate in meeting many celebrities because of what I do. I wouldn't say I am star struck, but I am VERY humbled that they want to meet ME. Jeri Ryan & Ming-Na Wen have been the 2 kindest, and coolest, celebrities to me over the years. They post about my work, use their carves as avatars on Twitter, and have even requested meeting me.

 

HoTS: Any celebrities you'd really like to carve for?
PG: So many! I'm hoping to be the "carver to the stars" eventually!

 

HoTS: How much do you love Halloween? Would you say it is your favorite holiday?

PG: Halloween is certainly a favorite because of what I do. Mostly because I get to make a lot of people happy with my work. I guess I'm the Orange Santa in October. Although, I do love Christmas probably a bit more.

 

HoTS: Do you still carve pumpkins for your own Halloween decorations or do you skip that now?

PG: I try to carve a few for the family each year but have been getting too busy the past few years. I need to make time.
The Pumpkin Geek carves awesomeness Pinhead

 

HoTS: Favorite conventions you've been to? What's your favorite part of the convention scene?

PG: Well, my favorite would have to be Wizard World Comic Con. I did their con last year in Portland and ended up getting HIRED by them to be their National Sales Manager! They loved the fact that I had been doing cons for several years, and I had a background in sales, so got hire that weekend. Not only did I have a great con selling my carves, back came back with a job where I get to find vendors & artists to do Comic Cons now.

 

HoTS: What are you working on now?

PG: I was hired by Rancho Obi-Wan (the largest Star Wars museum in the country), to do a large number of carves for their Gallaween event this year & they are actually having me as a guest of honor! Also, ESPN hired me to do the Sunday Night Countdown crew & World Series. Other than that, custom orders, including a few weddings and proposals!

 

HoTS: Where can people stay in touch with you, follow your work and commission you for custom jobs?

PG: I'm always on Twitter or can be reached via email at alex@thepumpkingeek.com.

 

HoTS: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

PG: I really appreciate everyone that has admired my work over the years. I have a LOT of supporters on social media that have always cheered me on, encourage me, and been so excited with my success. It's very flattering to know that people really enjoy what I do.

 

HoTS: And finally, since I ask everyone this and you are no exception, Freddy or Jason? Who's the bigger horror badass?

PG: Freddy. Aside from being a badass, he's got a great sense of humor.

 

Thanks again, Alex, for taking the time to speak to me! Happy carving and happy Halloween!

Posted by Alan Smithee

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