In 2004 Ray declared that his business would be called Villafane Studios, the name implying that the company would represent a studio of artists and not just himself as a solo artist. This simple vision was the foundation behind this company and evidence that you have to really believe that what you want is obtainable and move toward it. Flash forward to current day and you can find Ray and his hand-chosen team of elite artists demonstrating their talents worldwide. The vision of Villafane Studios is to inspire creativity and imagination in people young and old through the medium of temporary art.
Artists past and present have included:
Andy Bergholtz Sue Beatrice Deane Arnold
Nikolay Torkhov Chris Vierra Trevor Grove
Alfred Paredes Dmitry Klimenko Brandy Davis
David Ducharme Rudy Garcia Ilya Filimontsev
Susanne Ruseler Travis Higginbottom Luke Schroder
Gabe Vinas Patrick Burke
Ray Villafane, visionary and patriarch of the Villafane Studios graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1991 with a BFA in Illustration and Education. Ray spent 13 years as a K-12 art teacher. During those years he discovered the art of pumpkin carving with his students. This marked the early beginnings of his pursuit of sculpting.
In 2003, Ray began to pursue a career as a commercial sculptor. Within a couple of years he had transitioned from a school teacher to a full time commercial sculptor with clients such as Warner Bros. / DC Comics, Marvel and McFarlane Toys.
As Ray started to dive deeper into sculpting, his pumpkin carvings began to come alive with character. Images of them and his process went viral, catching the attention of many people, including some at the Food Network. In 2008 Ray contributed to the launching of a series of successful pumpkin carving shows with the network. Over a decade later, the success of this genre of shows has continued to thrive.
As the pumpkin carving gained momentum, Ray began to focus his attention towards events. He found himself exploring a wide range of unconventional mediums such as sand, sticks, rocks and recycled materials. These various ingredients would eventually come together in the creation of a magical world of whimsical characters and clever storytelling. Each fall Ray has gathered a small team of artists to help build an immersive, one of a kind experience with its roots in pumpkin carving, scarecrows and more.
Ray's works have been on display throughout the world. He has carved at the White House, Heidi Klum's annual halloween party, Ocean Park Hong Kong and many more. He holds two Guiness Book World Records and has also been recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Tammi Villafane, aka "Head Unicorn" hasn't given me her bio information yet, so I'm not quite sure what to put here. I do know that she is kind, and smart, and beautiful, and just lovely. She is a great friend to me and I feel so lucky to have met her and get to work along side her. She has a smile that lights up a room and has an ability to make everyone feel good about themselves. She has a way with animals that I can't explain. They are attracted to her pure energy and they feel safe in her presence. If you have ever had a chance to met Tammi, you should feel very blessed.
Vicki Jessing, aka "Mouse Mom" is an Arizona native who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Northern Arizona University. Though she didn't immediately put her talents to use, opting instead to work in accounting for two decades, she did dabble in prop creating for musical theatre as well as teaching watercolor classes at a local valley senior center. Fast forward to August 2017, the fates brought Vicki to Villafane Studios, where she has continued to discover talents that even she did not realize she had. Hence the magical world of the most loveable and fun rock balancing mice, (amongst a plethora of other things) that would not exist in this Enchanted world without her.