Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is balloon art?

Cove - created by Jason Hackenwerth
What is balloon art?

I have been a balloon artist for over 20 years, but I suppose it is not until now that I have really considered what ‘balloon art’ actually means?

I am a skilled balloon artist who can create decor for events. I have the creativity to design my own work and am always excited when I complete something new, but I question, can I call my work art?

Stone Chang  a balloon artist from Taiwan, recently held an exhibition in Taiwan called ‘The Art of Rapid Expansion’. The exhibition featured work created by him and a team of balloon artists from around Taiwan. As part of the exhibition, Stone also featured 11 International balloon artists using large posters to display examples of their work and their points of view of balloon art, reading each artists words and descriptions as to what balloon art means to them was truly uplifting, and I would like to share a few of their sentiments with you.


“As balloon artists we are able to literally breath life into creations that then go into the world spreading beauty, and wonder, and joy, and connecting us all”. Don Caldwell aka Buster Balloon, USA

“Once inflated, they capture the heart of every young mind, in a child as well as an adult”. Luc Bertrand, Belgium.

“ If you can see it in your mind, you can make it with balloons. Air is the canvas, balloons are the paint, your hands are the brush that paints the picture”. Marvin Hardy, USA

“Balloons are amazing product for doing art, they have a special power for people, magical, simple, people like it”! Niko Fric, Slovenia

Stone himself says: “ Balloon, a piece of childhood memory. Creatively twisted, readily inflated into a delightful splurge. So let’s grab the chance to enjoy this volatile handicraft of peasants, a swiftly ballooned art”.

Recently, I met an artist called Jason Hackenwerth. Jason studied art and was awarded a BFA  at Webster University. St. Louis, MO. USA. Jason works with balloons (only the very best balloons) as his art medium, to create his grand sculptures such as the ‘Megamite’  or ‘Cove’, which he recently installed at Selfridges department store London, as part of a campaign to support an environmental project named Project Ocean.
Jason has been commissioned to create sculptures at numerous exhibitions, features in many publications and has a string of awards to his name.
It is strange how we ‘find’ balloons in our lives, Jason told me that his mother was a clown, and that as a young boy he was very embarrassed by this (funnily enough so were my own children and although not a clown, this is how some of their friends perceived me as I was a mummy who ‘played’ with balloons). Jason overcame his embarrassment and learn't the art of twisting from his Mom and used the tips that he earned to help fund his way through college and now, the rest is history as Jason has proved himself as a highly talented artist, who’s art form is very much in demand Worldwide.

This brings me back to my original question "can I call my work art"? Looking at the definition of the word art, I do not think that I can, my designs are 'arty' and creative, but like a graphic designer, cake decorator and many other artistic trade, maybe not a work of art. There are so many fantastic artists in our industry, the entertainers who use balloons within their acts, the extremely talented artists who can make stunning balloon dresses, with incredible style and precision, the artists who can create sculptures on a grand scale working with 1000's of balloons and the twisters who can turn one balloon into a masterpiece. I am in awe of the art and creativity that can be made from the humble balloon.

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