Joel Camp, of Niles, hand-painted this pumpkin and delivered it to the Niles District Library Monday afternoon. Camp has been donating pumpkins to the library for years.
Joel Camp, of Niles, hand-painted this pumpkin and delivered it to the Niles District Library Monday afternoon. Camp has been donating pumpkins to the library for years.

Archived Story

Niles’ pumpkin painter

Published 9:11am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Everyone has a hobby, but not many choose to spend their free time in the fall season painting pumpkins.

Joel Camp, 71, of Niles, said he’s probably painted more than 2,000 pumpkins in the past 15 years.

“It’s just something fun to do,” said Camp while working his booth Tuesday at the South Bend Farmer’s Market. “I love to see people’s reactions because they don’t see a lot like mine.”

Camp sells his pumpkins at the farmer’s market and to anyone wanting to commission his unique art form. For the past couple of years, Camp has painted and donated a pumpkin to the Niles

District Library and Huntington Bank of Niles, the place where he does his banking.

This library pumpkin dons a design of an ape inspired by the movie “Planet of the Apes.”

Camp said he gets ideas for his pumpkin paintings by flipping through old books and magazines at the library.

“It’s a great resource,” he said.

Camp first started painting pumpkins 15 years ago when he was commissioned by a friend and pumpkin farmer to color 20 to 25 pumpkins a day.

Camp’s process involves sketching out the design in permanent marker before going to work with acrylic paint.

He completes the process with a cover of clear lacquer so the design doesn’t wash off.

It takes Camp an hour or two to finish a pumpkin, which he said lasts until around Thanksgiving.

Another one of Camp’s works can be seen at the Family Video on Chicago Road.

It’s a Dracula-like creature painted on a 30-pound pumpkin.

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