Dalton Ghett was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Came to the U.S. in 1985 at the young age of 24. Earned an Associate’s degree in Architecture from Norwalk Community Technical College, Connecticut, U.S.A. in 1994. Works as a carpenter/house remodeler. Self-taught artist: “Sharpens” pencils as a hobby/meditation. Currently lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Dalton’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the world. He has been featured in the New York Times, Times for Kids, Weekly Reader and many other publications.
Invite Dalton to share his story and his work with your students.
Pencil sculptures: miniature masterpieces carved into graphite by Dalton Ghetti.
Micro-Sculpture on pencil:
I found this good article by NYtime
Finding the Art in a Pencil Tip
By PATRICK VEREL FEB. 11, 2007
A PENCIL is just an instrument, an effective tool for scratching measurements onto wood, updating checkbooks and filling in bubbles in tests.
Unless it’s in the hands of Dalton Ghetti. The 45-year-old Bridgeport resident has been carving sculptures into pencil lead, without the aid of a magnifying glass, for 25 years.
There’s a boot. And a church. And a bust of Elvis. And “Chain,” in which the middle of a pencil has been transformed into a 23-link chain. He has about a dozen works that have been framed and almost as many waiting to be mounted for display. Last year, after two and half years, he finished a line of 26 pencils, with each letter of the alphabet carved into the tip. His current projects include a handsaw and a single rice-grain-sized teardrop for every victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“The idea is, as you walk in, you’ll see a huge tear drop far away,” he said. “As you walk up close to it, you’ll see that it’s made up of tiny little ones. So I make one a day. I was watching the whole thing from Sherwood Island State Park, and I broke down and cried all day. I had a vision about doing something about it, and that’s what I came up with. It’ll probably take about 10 years to do it.”
Anyone who has seen a completed work won’t be surprised to hear that a project will take a decade. Mr. Ghetti often takes years to complete pieces, especially since pencil carving is only a hobby, along with camping and coaching volleyball at the Westport Y.M.C.A. He sells postcards and posters of his art (pieces are not for sale), but his main income comes from carpentry.
“You could see how he could do this — he’s Zen-like, very patient and quiet,” said Rick Torres, the owner of Harborview Market, in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. “He’s a pretty stable person, no waves in his system at all. And I think you would need to be that way to do that kind of work.”
The market, where two pieces are on display, is Mr. Ghetti’s home away from home, and he often plays chess there in the morning with neighbors. Mr. Torres said he pointed him out to customers who stared at “Chain” in disbelief. “I’ll just say ‘It’s that crazy bald guy sitting over there who did it,’ ” Mr. Torres said.
Mr. Ghetti, who owns about as many possessions as a monk, is aware how unusual his craft is. He started carving tree bark when he was a child and experimented with everything from soap to chalk before settling on graphite. It’s second nature now, and for 90 percent of his work, all he needs is a sewing needle, a razor blade and a carpenter’s or No. 2 pencil.
“The pencil tip is great; it’s like a pure, very homogenous material,” he said. “It cuts in the same direction, not like wood, which has a grain. But when I tell people how long it takes, that’s when they don’t believe it. That’s what amazes people more, the patience. Because everything nowadays has to be fast, fast, fast.”
Sandy Lefkowitz, who along with her husband, Larry, provides Mr. Ghetti with work space in their barn in Westport for a nominal amount, believes a larger message can be found in his work. She taught him in a design class at Norwalk Community College in the late 80s, and considers his work creative nourishment.
“When people are passionate and creative and they can produce something unique, what they say to the world is, ‘It’s all possible,’ ” she said. “When something in this chaotic world can make you stop and focus, I think it’s very serious.”
As for his dedication to his material, Mr. Torres recalled how a customer was recently admiring a piece at the deli while Mr. Ghetti was there.
“We sell these postcards that Dalton makes, and I said, ‘Why don’t you buy one of these, you could even get it autographed by the artist,’ ” he said. “So I gave Dalton a purple Sharpie to sign the back, and he said he wouldn’t do it. He will not sign anything with anything other than pencil.”
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page CT9 of the New York edition with the headline: Finding the Art in a Pencil Tip.