Friday, September 23, 2016

Balloons and the Art World by guest blogger John Bowler

John Bowler, founder and chief executive of BAPIA*, shares his experience working with artists working with balloons. 
The Arrival, very best balloon blog,
The Arrival by Jason Hackenwerth 

"It appears that as times goes by, more and more artists are turning to balloons as a medium for their art projects. We have seen artist, Jason Hackenwerth travelling the world with his amazing balloon creations including this awesome piece, 'The Arrival,' built in 2014 for the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. I was very fortunate to meet up with Jason when he was commissioned by Selfridges Department Store in London in 2011 for an 'Under the Sea' project, which was part of a huge campaign to create public awareness regarding the ocean, over-fishing, and protecting the sea . On this project, Jason used 35,000 Qualatex® biodegradable balloons and created eleven sculptures that reflected sea-life.
Balloon Art by Jason Hackenwerth 

Only last year
Charles Petillon, a photographer from France, was commissioned to install a giant cloud of balloons under the roof of the 19th Century Market Building in London's Covent Garden. Known as 'Heartbeat,' this sculpture used a massive 100,000 white Qualatex balloons, stretching 54 meters in length and 12 meters wide, with pulsating lights to symbolise the beating of a heart. Once again, I had the fortune of meeting this artist along with a group of BAPIA members who assisted with the inflation, installation, and de-rigging of this incredible piece that lasted for a number of weeks.

Heart Beat, Very best balloon blog,
Charles Petillon, 'Heartbeat.'
The latest project that I found myself getting involved with was only a few weeks ago by Artist Noemi Lakmaier, with a live art installation named 'Cherophobia'. 
Cherophobia was a 48-hour durational living installation. An attempt to lift the artist's bound and immobilised body off the ground using 20,000 helium party balloons. This all took place inside St. Leonard's Church in Shoreditch, London."
Cherophobia is defined as a work of contrasts and opposites, of the push and pull between fear and desire, freedom and constraint, and about our responsibility to make choices. The cheerful, happy image of a giant cloud of balloons stands in stark contrast to the artist's bound, restricted, and immobilised body, while the helium-filled balloons pulling upwards are in turn constrained by the church building. 
"Noemi and her team called upon BAPIA members to assist with the Hi-Float® treatment and inflation of the balloons. It was determined by the artist's team that it would require approximately 12,000 11" Qualatex balloons to lift her. With six BAPIA professionals and changing teams of volunteers, it was felt that this should be achievable in 12 hours. However, due to some unforeseen issues with Noemi's health and wellbeing, the lift-off was delayed until the following day when, with the use of approximately 13,500 11" balloons, Noemi started to float underneath what can only be described as a 'mountain' of balloon. The contrast of the multi-coloured balloons mountain against the church decor was striking and certainly not what you might to expect to find in a church!"

"Noemi took off at about 3pm and was airbourne for about 5 hours."

The start of the balloons being installed.

13,500 11" Qualatex Balloons and the project is a success!
It is very interesting to see how a balloon art installation such as Charles Petillon's  'Heartbeat' has created a trend within the balloon community. I have seen a number of photographs of similar installations around the world that have a very similar look and have obviously been inspired by the original design.

I believe that seeing balloons being used in such diverse and interesting ways can only be a good thing, as it brings balloons in a bright and positive way to the public.

Thank you to John for sharing his Balloon Art experiences with the Very Best Balloon Blog.

Happy Ballooning


BAPIA — the Balloon and Party Industry Alliance is a U.K.- based independent trade organisation that works much like a trade association. BAPIA's aims are to increase public awareness of the balloon and party industry, promote industry professionals and the benefits of working with them, fight negative and anti-balloon campaigns, and much more! 


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