Flickr: ChooYutShing
Flickr: ChooYutShing

13 Balloon Sculptures That Let Your Imagination Float Away

Flickr: ChooYutShing
Flickr: ChooYutShing

It’s easy to think of balloon twisters as nothing more than children’s entertainers ready to make hats, swords and animals at a moment’s notice, but balloon art can also be incredibly complex. Here are a few of the most impressive balloon sculptures ever created.

1. The Lightest of the Largest Robots

The massive robot above was designed by artist Lily Tan and created in the Marina Square mall of Singapore with the hopes of breaking the Guinness World Record for largest balloon sculpture (it did). The piece took three days, 79,854 balloons and more than fifty artists to complete. Flickr user ChooYutShing snapped a pic of the sculpture.

2. The Inflatable Robot Family

While Lily Tan and her team were working on breaking the world record, Marina Square celebrated the attempt with five much smaller robot-themed balloon sculptures. While this is my personal favorite, you can see them all in Choo Yut Shing’s stream.

3. Spider-Balloon Man

If you’re one of those people who thinks it takes a village to raise a giant balloon sculpture, you’re usually right—but not in the case of Adam Lee. In fact, Adam holds the world record for largest balloon sculpture created by a single artist.

His massive spider was built at the Great Wolf Lodge of Washington and used 2975 balloons to complete. When it was done, the legs spread out to make the structure over 45 feet wide.

4. My Heart Will Float On and On

While some people may have believed the real Titanic to be unsinkable, I doubt anyone would be willing to make such a claim about this amazing balloon sculpture of the famed ship photographed by Flickr user Alan in Belfast. This fantastically large inflatable ship was designed by Fiona Fisher and was built with more than 14,000 balloons.

5. The Squeakiest Dinosaur Ever

This 20-foot long dinosaur balloon sculpture was designed by Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle of Airigami, arguably the most famous names in this niche art form. The dino, a acrocanthosaurus, was put up in the Virginia Museum of Natural History right beside the casts of real dinosaur skeletons.

6. Just the Bones Please

Airigami’s creation at the Virginia Museum of Natural History wasn’t their first foray into prehistoric creature design. In fact, here’s the team’s take on a T-Rex skeleton created a few years back.

7. Balloon Animals or Undiscovered Creatures?

Perhaps the second most famous balloon sculptor around is Jason Hackenwerth, whose creations are totally surreal and utterly beautiful. His sculptures seem entirely organic—like deep sea creatures or microscopic bacteria. This particular piece is titled “Self-Pollinator” and was exhibited at Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery.

8. Extermi-Pop

Not all balloon sculptures are made with visual aesthetics in mind. In fact, this one is quite functional and rather cheap when compared to the cost of creating a Dalek costume with practically any other material. Of course, Daleks, like this one by Patricia Balloona, that can be destroyed with nothing more than a safety pin aren’t nearly as intimidating as those The Doctor fights on a regular basis.

9. Allons-airy

If you’re going to have an inflatable Dalek, you may as well have an inflatable Tardis like this one by Twisty Kristy. If the Tardis’ Chameleon circuit broke while it was at a balloon twisting festival, it just as easily could have ended up looking like this.

10. To Infinity And Beyond (Or Until It Pops)

Artist Jeff Wright made this incredible Buzz Lightyear costume exclusively out of balloons for Halloween 2011. Buzz wasn’t Jeff’s only amazing balloon costume; he also made a life-size Ninja Turtle suit.

11. No Pins Around the Bride Please

Sometimes you need something a little more formal to wear, even if you still want it made from rubber. In these cases, you might want to get in touch with Daisy Balloon, who has quite the gift when it comes to making gorgeous, couture gowns out of the inflatable objects. In fact, she even has created a bridal gown design for those who have no fear of their dress popping during their wedding day.

12. Bag End In Balloon

It took artist Jeremy Telford, AKA the Balloon Guy, three days and 2600 balloons to recreate The Shire’s Bag End inside his own den. You’ve gotta admit, this is way better than any pillow or blanket fort your parents ever made for you in their den.

13. The Rubber Cheeseburger

I don’t know about you guys, but I always thought of balloon sculptures as elaborate creations featuring balloons attached together until they form a new creation, not balloons cut and molded like they are here. In fact, I only learned about this form of fascinating balloon sculpture when I started doing this article. This particular piece, photographed by Flickr user ChooYutShing, won the title of The Most Original Sculpture at a contest in Singapore’s Vivo City Mall.

Of course, the downside of balloon art is that it doesn’t really stay around long. In fact, everything seen here was probably deflated and trashed a long time ago. But thanks to the web, these fantastic creations can be documented and enjoyed long after the sculptures themselves are gone.

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5-Year-Old Boy Hugs, Then Destroys, a $132,000 Sculpture When His Parents Aren't Looking
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iStock

A 5-year-old boy's playful mistake may end up costing his parents a small fortune. As ABC News reports, the boy knocked over and destroyed a valuable piece of art on display in the lobby of the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Now, the city's insurance company is asking them to pay for it.

The parents were preparing to leave a wedding reception as their son was filmed running around the building's lobby. At one point in the security footage, he can be seen stopping to embrace a sculpture, titled Aphrodite di Kansas City, which causes it to fall towards him and onto the ground.

According to Overland Park's insurance company, the piece was damaged irreparably by the fall. It had been listed at a price of $132,000, and a few days after the incident, the parents received a claim asking them to cover the entire cost.

“You’re responsible for the supervision of a minor child […] your failure to monitor could be considered negligent,” the letter read.

The couple disputed the accusation, instead blaming the community center for not better securing the sculpture. As for the chances of the Aphrodite di Kansas City being repaired or rebuilt, local artist Bill Lyons said it isn't likely. He spent two years creating the original piece, and after declaring it permanently destroyed, he told ABC News he doesn't have the drive or capacity to make a new one.

It isn't just rambunctious 5-year-olds who have been known to ruin expensive art. Grown-up museum visitors, whether they're tripping over untied shoelaces or getting in position for the perfect selfie, can be just as destructive.

[h/t ABC News]

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8 Things You Might Not Know About The Wizard of Id
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Titan Books

Debuting in 1964, Brant Parker and Johnny Hart’s The Wizard of Id took a page from the macabre humor of cartoonist Charles Addams. Ruling the kingdom of Id, a pint-sized tyrant uses humor to disarm a medieval cast made up of a jester, an executioner, a thief, and the titular magician, whose spells don’t usually impress. Although Hart and Parker both passed away in 2007, their black humor lives on. Take a look at some facts behind the throne, including the time Jim Henson almost brought it to television.

1. THE IDEA FOR THE STRIP CAME FROM A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS.

Johnny Hart was already a successful syndicated cartoonist (the Stone Age comedy B.C.) before he and former Disney animator Brant Parker decided to collaborate on a different project. Hart was flipping through a deck of playing cards in 1964 when he came across a peculiar illustration used for the king. Drawing on it to create his own diminutive despot, Hart wrote most of the jokes for Id while Parker illustrated it.

2. THE SYNDICATE THOUGHT THE TWO ARTISTS WERE DISGUSTING.

Although Id would eventually be syndicated to over 1000 strips across the country, Hart and Parker first had to get past the gatekeepers of cartoon distribution operating out of New York. Traveling to the city to show them samples, the two worked late into the night and called to tell executives they were ready. They didn’t know the syndicate would be coming to their hotel room, which was a mess of papers, food, and beer bottles. Caught off-guard, the men looked like transients. “We think you guys are disgusting,” one executive said, “but we love the strip. We’ll take it.”

3. THE SHORT JOKES WERE BASED ON JOHNNY HART.

In a visual juxtaposition, the king of Id’s height is inversely proportional to his power. Parker said the character’s stature was based partly on Hart, who used to fend off jokes about his own height. "The king became short because we used to kid John about being short and a lot of the short gags began to slide over into the strip," Parker said. "He just kept getting smaller, and as he shrunk, the nose got bigger and bigger."

4. A LITTLE GIRL GOT THEM TO DROP A CHARACTER.

Most of the humor in Id is centered around the morbid dynamics of Middle Ages politics, which is not normally an opportunity to offend current sensibilities. But early on, Parker and Hart created a karate teacher from Japan who was perceived by some as a stereotype. When Parker received a letter from a young Japanese-American girl who was being teased at school as a result of the character, the creators decided to drop him from the strip.

5. JIM HENSON WAS GOING TO PUT IT ON TELEVISION.

An avowed fan of comic strips and of The Wizard of Id in particular, Muppets creator Jim Henson met with Hart in 1968 to discuss a possible collaboration. Henson wanted to create an Id television show that would use puppets against an animated backdrop. Hart agreed, and in 1969, Henson was able to shoot test footage featuring himself as the voice of the Wizard. But executives at Publishers-Hall, which had taken over syndication of the strip, were having trouble enticing networks into producing a series. By the time ABC showed interest, Henson had moved on to Sesame Street and other projects. Wizard of Id got translated into animation in 1970 as part of a Chuck Jones variety series titled Curiosity Shop.

6. HART TURNED DOWN FEATURE FILM OFFERS.

Possibly disappointed in the outcome of the Henson project, Hart wasn’t very receptive to offers to adapt Id into other mediums. He reportedly shunned Steven Spielberg and Norman Lear when they called about adaptations. Producer Andrew Gaty managed to interest Hart in 1987, though his plans for a live-action feature—possibly starring Danny DeVito as the king—never came to fruition.

7. IT WAS A (STRANGE) VIDEO GAME.

In 1984, users of the ColecoVision home computer system were able to pick up a software program with an unwieldy title: The Wizard of Id’s Wiz Math. The edutainment program allowed players to brush up on math skills by solving problems faced by Spookingdorf, the tortured and jailed cast member of the strip. By solving math problems, players could navigate Spookingdorf out of his dungeon. The game was produced by Sierra, which later became known for its King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry franchises. A typing game, WizType, was also released.

8. BLONDIE AND BEETLE BAILEY CELEBRATED THE STRIP'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY.

When The Wizard of Id passed the half-century milestone in 2014, the entire comics page came out to celebrate. Hi and Lois featured a portrait of the Wizard in a panel, while Blondie and Family Circus made subtle references to the anniversary. (As modern-day strips, it would be difficult to regard a medieval strip with more overt acknowledgment.) In Beetle Bailey, the perennial screw-up shared a cell with the eternally suffering Spookingdorf.

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