crayon wax art

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Waxing Nostalgic with Artist @mumblestohimself

To see more of Hoang’s crayon creations, follow @mumblestohimself on Instagram.

Hoang Tran (@mumblestohimself) may be 30 years old, but he still enjoys playing with crayons. He doesn’t use the waxy sticks to color inside the lines though; rather, he carves detailed, miniature portraits of pop culture icons into them. Hoang, who lives in Pittsburgh, got his training in precision work during three years of dental school before he realized it wasn’t the career for him. “I withdrew to pursue something more creative,” he says. “I had seen someone else’s crayon carvings years before, and they stuck in my mind. Because we’d done something similar in dental school — we carved teeth from wax — I knew I had the skills to try [it].” So, using a stainless steel dentist’s implement called a Hollenback carver, he now makes sculptures of everyone from Darth Vader to SpongeBob to Homer Simpson. “It turns out I really, really enjoy this work,” says Hoang, who first peels back just the right amount of paper, carves, then applies melted wax to bulk up areas and add color details. “Now that I’m selling pieces online, showing in art galleries, even doing commissions for people, I guess other people really enjoy them, too.”