Thursday, March 27, 2008

Confessions of a Failed Balloon Sculptor

Jeff Koons "Balloon Dog (Magenta)"
Photo: Santi Caleca

Awhile back I attempted to learn how to make balloon animals for my daughter’s birthday party. Even though I was only able get as far as a dog and a bunny I was really excited to create them for the kids and especially for my daughter.

The day of the party I got started twisting the balloons into shapes, unfortunately I was unable to get the kids excited about the balloon animals I was making. Maybe it was the way I was making them or maybe I appeared to be clumsy and the children sensed my inexperience. After some time of failing to get any one’s attention I decided to give it up, even though I had been practicing and learning balloon sculpture for the previous 3 weeks. All of the sudden my friend came up and without saying a word grabbed a balloon and quickly blew it up and started twisting the thing like a maniac and created a complex bear. The kids went crazy for it and wanted him to make that bear over and over. I was humiliated and just stood there and stared.

X-Wing Balloon Sculpture

photo: David Grist

To blow up those long balloons manually is next to impossible unless you have runner’s lungs. I had to use a hand pump and felt like a complete loser.

The concept to making balloon sculpture is simple but the application is not. Balloon sculpture isn’t limited to simple dog and bunny shapes but can be almost infinite in its complexity if one has the imagination to push the limits.

Balloon Sculpture History

It is said that the first known balloon sculpture dates back to the Aztecs. I will spare you the ugly details of what they were made of and how they were aquired. The early balloons were twisted into the shape of a dog or a donkey and ceremoniously taken to the top of the Aztec pyramid and burned in honor of the sun.

For a more detailed account of all things balloon:

An incredible balloon environment

Balloon art slide show



yellowfish said...

interesting post! your balloon making story reminds me of when I got stuck making balloon animals for a halloween party at a day care I worked at- I could basically just make a very generic "animal" and would pretend that it was whatever they had asked for, this all worked fine until I ultimately found myself facing down an irate 4 year old who was screaming "this is NOT a cheetah!!!"... I felt all upset, but, he was totally right... :)

PearsonMaron said...

That's hilarious!

XUE said...

i think it's pretty difficult to make those ballon animals & the fact that you practised 3 weeks just shows what a great mom you are! I can only blow up round ones!

PearsonMaron said...

Aww Xue,
That's so sweet but undeserving of me since it's Adam who is the failed balloon sculptor. I completely shun any type of balloon activity.

About Me

My photo
PearsonMaron is a collaboration between artists Quincy Pearson and Adam Maron. We specialize in monster magnets, unique knobs made from recycled metal, and lots of other interesting kitschy stuff. We are married and live in Southern California with our daughter and three mean cats.