Bananas, like many fruits, are a fleeting treat. If you wait too long to eat one, it will brown and turn. But the time limits seem to be freeing for artist Keisuke Yamada, who carves incredible designs—from pop culture figures to grotesque faces—on bananas.
Based in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, Yamada spends his days as an electrician and his spare time as a banana sculptor. (He also occasionally teaches classes on fruit carving.) Over email, Yamada explains that he started sculpting bananas in 2011. Bored, he peeled a banana, and had an idea. What would happen if he carved a face into it?
From there, Yamada—noting that the Internet loved his creations—began sculpting much more than just faces. “You can carve human beings, animals, whatever,” he says, adding that he often finds inspirations in people’s movements and favorite movie characters. The texture of the bananas makes some of these creatures, such as snakes, appear even more sinister as they slither out of the peel. Others, such as his elephants and horses, have an astoundingly life-like quality.
It takes Yamada about an hour to make one banana sculpture, and on a record banana-carving day, he made nine works in 15 hours. His tools are everyday household items: a toothpick and a spoon.
Yamada admits that he’s gotten tired of the taste of bananas over the years, and that he “ate too much and gained weight.” Nevertheless, he still loves bananas and the unlikely faces and places he can carve out of them.
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