Vancouver pumpkin carver continuing to hone his craft with each seasonal masterpiece

The medium Clive Cooper chose for his art is, by nature, temporary. He likes it that way.

"There's no really good way to preserve a pumpkin," he told CTV News Vancouver in an interview on Halloween weekend.

"You never know, when you pick a pumpkin, how long it's going to last. Once you carve into it or you skin it, the time clock starts for it to rot. Just keeping it cold, you know, as cold as you can, is about the best you can do."

Cooper started carving pumpkins for a work contest, but it soon became a passion. He's sculpted hundreds of pumpkins, watermelons and other fruits into unique and highly detailed creatures.

He told CTV News he draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources.

"Sometimes I go to the sweet side, sometimes I go to the dark side, whatever happens to inspire me that week," he said.

Halloween is typically Cooper's busiest time of the year. He sells carved pumpkins on commission, and also donates some of his works to local organizations.

"Some years, I'm busier than a centipede in a toe-counting contest," he said.

A small carving can take just a few hours, while bigger pieces can take upwards of eight, Cooper said.

It's a lot of effort to put into something that can't be enjoyed for very long, but that's part of the beauty of the process for Cooper. Each carving is another chance to hone his craft and improve, and that's the advice he offers to others interested in teaching themselves to carve.

"Don't get discouraged," he said. "Keep on trying. You don't get good right away. In fact, I'm glad that they don't last, because if I were to go back and look at some of my first pumpkins, I'd be appalled."

To view a photo gallery of Cooper's work, visit his website