sI have been performing with balloons for 14 years now. As I think back on that time I have learned from some amazing people. I used to be very involved in the balloon community, but as life circumstances changed I focused more on my own business. Yet, I’m still grateful for my friends that taught me so much.
Below is a list and a link to their websites so you can check them out. If you happen to be in their area make sure to give them a call and book them for an event. Click their name to go to their Facebook page or their business name to go to their main website. Photos are their work from their Facebook page.
These are in no particular order.
Carl was one of the first balloon artists I met as we lived in the same town when I got started. He was bigger guy then with a smaller business, but thanks to hard work and dedication he is a smaller guy with a big business. If you need help in the upstate of South Carolina then Carl is the one to contact.
Steve Jones – Balloon Designers – Seattle, WA
Steve was the first balloon decorator I got to know. He is a phenomenal twister, but his business focus is on decorations. For several years he hosted Balloon Town USA where decorators and twisters from around the globe came together to build massive sculptures. I met Steve in Cincinnati, OH at the final one and learn a massive amount from him and other attendees. He went on to create FLOAT the Convention which I helped staff the first couple of years. Steve also produces great training videos and I probably would not be into decor at all if not for Steve.
Laura Caldwell aka Annie Banannie – Balloon Storyteller – Southern California
I really need to take Laura out to an amazing dinner some time because I owe a huge amount of my income to her teaching me about storytelling. Because of her class almost a decade ago at Twist & Shout I have performed in libraries, schools, day cares, and senior centers all around the country. Thanks to Laura I still love doing balloons every summer and encouraging kids and their parents to read. I cannot sing her praises enough. If you can ever book her to perform you most certainly should.
Robbie Furman is quite the character. I once flew to NJ on a whim at his invitation to take a small class he was offering over several days. It was slammed packed and I learned a lot. Robbie’s main gift is simplification. He can take a great design, break it down to it’s base, and use that base for many balloon sculptures.
Don Caldwell aka Buster Balloon- Acme Balloon Company – Southern California
Buster is considered by most balloon artist I know to be the top of the top when it comes to performance, creativity, and teaching. Buster is a one man vaudeville productions. If you could not tell from the name, he is indeed married to Annie Banannie and by their powers combined they take the form of balloon royalty.
Guido Verhoef – The Art of Balloons – The Netherlands
Guido Verhoef’s amazing talent with a specific type of balloon is inspiring. He uses Betallatex Link-O-Loons to create lines and cures and treats balloon decor as though he were painting which explains why he has added other forms such as body paint to his work. Of all the people on this list I am left speechless more by his work than all the other’s combined. The first time I visited his website the front page was a back lit photo of him stepping out of a balloon naked as though he were existing from the womb. His passion, talent, and joyful spirit are inspirational.
Smarty Pants and his wife Miss Dena are superb performers and they truly understand comedy and children. They are absolutely terrific human beings. If you are in the Chicago area check out one of their library shows or book them for an event.
Troy Apprill – Balloonville Productions – St. Louis, MO
Troy’s skills and eye for design are absolutely amazing. Thirty years ago he first opened his store, but today he is still going strong and more creative than ever.
Personally, I have not yet met David Brenion and his wife Shana. I am adding them because their super hero designs have been a staple of my work the last few years. I modified their basic design of Hulk from Marvel’s Avengers for my very first Dallas Comic Con and won an honorable mention award (see below). I love their posting and professional photographs. I want that ability to show character and color. Make sure to check out their links.
I will stop this list there for now though there are many more I could add. Thanks to all of these great artists, entertainers, and decorators that have passed through my life. I hope to see you again soon. I am finally working to attending more conventions in the next two years and engage with my fellow artist more frequently.