CLOSE
Original image
Flickr: ChooYutShing

13 Balloon Sculptures That Let Your Imagination Float Away

Original image
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.

Original image
Courtesy of Nikon
arrow
science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
Original image
Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
arrow
Art
‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios