Having trained over 300 individuals to make full-time money with balloon art, Jonathan Fudge, aka “Mr. Fudge, Your Balloon Man,” said one of the things that motivate him is “being able to inspire others to start making a living doing something they truly love rather than the mundane and boring jobs that most people get stuck with.”
Fudge has traveled throughout the country, twisting, teaching, and to the Grand Bahamas, Mexico, and Japan. In addition, he has created several DVDs, including Back to the Basics, Money Makers, Balloons for Boys, and Balloons for Girls, that should be available from Balloon Library soon, he said. These DVDs, and several more, are all part of the Balloon Library series. He is 23.
He began twisting balloons when he was eight years old at summer camp, he said and has been twisting balloons full time since he was 16.
Staying fresh and not becoming bored can be a challenge for many artists, and Fudge overcomes it in several different ways. He visits BalloonHQ and watches balloon DVDs, he said. Furthermore, he said he would find himself talking regularly with his mentors in the field, studying other things, watching cartoons, reading books, teaching chess to elementary school children, and going out there and meeting people.
“Even if the same John Smith hires me every year,” Fudge said, “the chances are that he will have different guests every time. They also get older. So, in a way, I never perform for the same clients. With restaurants, where I’m there every week, it is similar. I can spend a whole month or more focusing on figures from a single DVD until I get tired and decide to move on to another DVD. If that doesn’t work, I can always turn on the artist mode and challenge myself to create something new at every event.”
“The best way I’ve found to take away from the repetitiveness or boredom,” Fudge continued, “is by challenging myself to interesting tasks such as ‘make a snail people not only like, but love,’ ‘add pink to every guy figure and blue to every girl figure and have them look good,’ or ‘make everyone monkeys, but make them ALL different.’
Currently, he said he is a balloon artist and entertainer full time and attends college part-time, having already received his AA degree in elementary education. He plans on getting his four-year degree in business with a marketing emphasis. “After I graduate,” Fudge said. “I see myself traveling the globe training balloon artists and entertainers and building my business as I enjoy the beautiful scenery and cultures in as many places as I can see.”
“My future lies in my ability to train others to do what it is I do,” he said. “The reason I’m moving in that direction is because of my background. I’m good at it. So, I want to stick with it. And, frankly, I can only reach so many people as an entertainer; however, if I train hundreds of other entertainers, then my reach goes exponentially further, and that is amazing,” Fudge said. “I love making people smile, but teaching others to make people smile is even better. I could change the world, one entertainer at a time.”