Last week I arrived in Sydney, Australia for the start of my Deco Fusion Tour with Qualatex Australia!
I was not the only person busy working with Qualatex balloons, Matt Falloon and a group of talented artists were busy building 'Ninja Turtles' at Darling Harbour.
I asked Matt if he would tell me a little bit about his amazing project...
The Ninja Turtles came about because of another balloon twister friend of mine being unable to take a job of this level due to full time work. He graciously passed it on to me.
I tapped into the loose network that had been set up in Sydney of balloon artists, Face painters, clowns, magicians, and some who are all of the above, and asked them to be involved.
I had a great response! I ended up with a team of about thirteen twisters, all of varying skill levels, from all over Sydney and the Central coast, all of which had volunteered with no thought of payment. (There was a modest payment allocated in a very tight budget).
I started to design and plan the project, Qualatex got stock in from Canada to fill the orders. I designed a frame system that was modular, light and strong, took the project to Sydney Council, had to have a development Application submitted and approved by the site and the council.... A lot of this while I was away for Twist & Shout!!
We had 2 days to build the structures and one day to display them. The team were amazing, everyone was so willing to learn and not a bad apple in the bunch. Day one was a twelve hour effort and day two was about 8 hours. Day 3 was a 6am start in the City to put these guys up, after which we all sat back in satisfaction of a job well done.
While the weaving on the turtles is far from perfect from a balloon artist's point of view, the reaction we had from the client and the public was amazing! For a team of mixed skill twisters, some of which had never touched a 350q before, let alone wove a structure with them, we pulled together an amazing project, and while I want to give it at least six months before I do it again, I can't wait to do it all again!
I want to thank my whole team:
JayJay Balloonguy, Lauren Maher, Jenelle Watkins, Nella Slavin, Pinky and Kozi Kozlovsky, Ben Trezona, Richard Kolk, Simone Tree, Eireann Cameron, Karen Langlands, Garron Kavonic and Saputra Wijaya
Their hard work made this happen., and they deserve just as much credit as me!
A little bit about Matt Falloon!
I've been performing for over 16 years now, initially as a magician at birthday parties. I fell in and out of this for years, juggling it between full time work and just generally being a teenager / early twenties guy.
It came a time after I'd left a particularly trying, full time job, that I thought it's time to work smarter and not harder, and decided to ramp up the kid's party biz.
I did some research online and in Sydney's child magazine, and found 16 other magicians advertising, combining this 16 with the other 20 odd magicians I knew personally, I decided that magic was a really crowded market.
I'd always made balloon animals as an add-on to the kid's magic parties, and through the Marvin Hardy books had learnt and developed a multitude of one balloon figures, that always had the kids & parents impressed. So I decided to investigate the possibility of moving to a balloon show, rather than magic.
My eyes were opened when I typed into Youtube "Balloon Show" and found Buster Balloon & Danny Schlesinger's (aka. Danny the Idiot's) shows. Here was a pair of Hilarious guys, who just understood performing and teamed it with amazing art.
I messaged Buster, because I couldn't find any of his DVDs (published pre name change) and he pointed me in the right direction, I bought all I could and went from Marvin Hardy's one balloon sculptures straight to Buster's most difficult figures.
I loved it, and with this, I sold all of my magic gear, cancelled my magic website, and went out on a limb as a "Balloon Entertainer"
I balanced balloon twisting and performing, using all I had learnt in my decade or so as a magician, plus always making sure that I didn't fall back on the quick and simple figures, and over the last 2 years have built my reputation in Sydney for a great kid's show and really cool sculptures.
I've also tried to maintain a high level of polish in all of my promotions and public activity. A lot of kid's entertainers don't understand the level of trust involved for a parent to invite a stranger into their home and interact with their kids, so I've tried to promote myself, rather than what I can make or do.
I believe it's because of my stand on quality that I have been approached for TV appearances, My regular Friday night gig at the Sydney Opera House bar, My trip to Twist & Shout in St. Louis Missouri this year was accompanied by a film crew who are making a documentary on my journey into balloon art, My first place win in the Small Sculpture category at Twist n Shout, as well as landing one of the biggest balloon sculptures ever made in the Southern Hemisphere.
Thank you for sharing Matt, what a great blog!