Posted at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2007
by Sanden Totten
So I'm helping out at a kids' party over the weekend. I'm there to keep some order and not doing a very good job either. Suddenly, a middle aged man in a bright yellow shirt and black wide-brimmed hat shows up and the kids flock to him, leaving whatever mischief they were getting into behind. This man starts making balloon animals. Dozens of balloon animals. (photo by Amy Mingo via creative commons license)
The kids are enchanted and the man seems happy blowing, bending and twisting out little balloon poodles, unicorns and bumblebees. In fact, he seems to be having a blast.
I say to him, "You must be the kind of person who really loves their job."
"Definitely!" He replies. "In fact I love both my jobs!"
I should have figured. Making balloon animals probably doesn't pay the bills alone. So I ask him what his second job is. He tells me he designs a computer program for high schoolers. The program asks the students a series of questions and then based on their answers, gives them advice on what career path to follow. He's helped countless kids get started in the working world.
So I ask him what responses a kid has to give to get recommended as a balloon animal maker. Suddenly he looks surprised. "You know what?" He says to me. "My program doesn't even have balloon maker on file. No one would get that as a job!"
Funny, huh? Here is his chance to help shepherd other young talents into the exciting and satisfying field of balloon animal making and he conveniently forgets to add it to his program . . . I think he just doesn't want the competition.
"Making balloon animals probably doesn't pay the bills alone." Maybe not for that guy, but I know plenty of people who do make their living from it. I am a full time variety entertainer for 25 years and balloon entertainment is a large part of my repertoire. There's a whole balloon art community online at Balloonhq.com. The first 2 months of this year saw not one, but two international Balloon Twisting Conventions here in the States (with a few more to come, worldwide) with many classes emphasizing the business side of our art (the aforementioned Balloon twister should consider attending next year). And we're not just talking balloon dogs & swans & swords (oh my!). Check out Balloonmanor.com to see the 10,000 sf, 10 room haunted castle built entirely out of balloons last Oct. (and coming up again this Oct.) in Rochester, NY - in fact, come out & join us in building it. *Warning, these ain't your grandad's balloon doggies!
Thanks, Suzanne! Hope you don't mind -- I made your links "live" in your comment.
That Balloon Manor is insane! (Probably would have sparked a whole different kind of discussion during our "Getting Past Green" show back in Feb....)
Who said that balloon artists don't wont the competition?
I post free videos that show people how to make balloon animals on my site http://www.balloon-animals.com
Man, this chick's a little snipey, isn't she? Jealous of talent, perhaps?