He may not look like the nutty professor, but his heart is certainly in nuts, peanuts to be precise. Meet Steve Casino, who likes to paint impossibly tiny portraits on peanuts. So great is his talent that his works enjoy the attention of over 135,000 avid fans on Instagram alone.
So, from where did this idea of painting peanuts come to Casino? Well, it came to him while eating peanuts, where else? Says he, “It occurred to me while eating peanuts one day that many of the shells looked like the heads and torsos of people. I found the right shape and made a quick caricature of myself on it with a marker.” The rest, as they say, is history.
When Casino showed what he’d done to his co-workers the found it hilarious and that was what inspired him to take up peanut painting in the right earnest. Even though he didn’t know how to paint or sculpt a peanut, he persisted and through trial and error managed to create some peanut sculptures of famous people.
Much hard work goes into what Casino does in creating these mini sculptures. He first photo researches his subject to capture the right essence of that person. He then selects the most suitable peanuts that fit the image. With an X-acto knife, he carefully slices open the peanut. After removing the nuts, he coats the inner of the shell with acrylic and glues back the separated halves.
Depending upon the character, Casino then adds wire and bamboo limbs and gives the shell a coat of clear gesso. Finally, he uses polymer clay to create the shape of that person. Once completed, the whole figure is baked in the oven to harden the clay. He then paints them.
Casino’s simple act of creating celebrities out of peanuts created a new art form that was duly recognized by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not that awarded him a Certificate of Recognition in 2016for his amazing painted peanuts.