“What do you call yourself?” The dialog that you would expect to hear from a science fiction movie as the glamorous heroine asks an alien to define its origin. Yet, this question has been asked 100’s of times by mom’s and dad’s trying to figure out what to call a person who makes balloon animals.
I define balloon animal makers, folders, twisters, manipulators, and stackers as follows.
Balloon Artist – Is an individual who uses balloons to make a sculpture or figure. The balloon artist uses different size balloons, techniques, and non-balloons to create a sculpture, i.e., framing, headbands, or lights to enhance the balloon art. These balloon sculptures are not limited by size, the number of balloons, type of balloons, or time frame to build. The goal is to impress, wow, or create a balloon figure that excites an audience. The “reproducing” the balloon figure is part of the Balloon Artists’ design process, where the artist calculates the material needed. By knowing the material requirements and having a prototype allows the artists to sell multiple copies of the original artwork.
Balloon Entertainer – Entertains an audience with balloons. The balloon designs range from simple to complicated and use these props to entertain individuals or large groups. The subtle difference in my opinion between a Balloon Artist and Balloon Entertainer is the presentation. The entertainer must “Entertain,” whereas the artist’s focus is less on entertainment, but the creation of the art. Unlike a Line Twisters (below), balloon entertainers work with small crowds or private events where the one-on-one can produce customized individual sculptures ranging from a three to five-minute design or are on the stage entertaining using balloons.
Balloon entertainers work in the public eye, so anything they create must be ready onhand and may have to reproduce several times. Each time the design might changes slightly as the entertainer, audience, or lack of supplies force the entertainer to vary from the original design. Whereas a Balloon Artist has calculated what supplies are needed and has built serval prototypes to ensure the final design is what is present to the client.
Update: Because of Covid-19, balloon entertainers are now performing virtually.
Balloon Decorator – Decorator’s look at how can they add value to an event through balloons. Areas of the room that are dull, open, uninteresting are enhanced with colorful balloon shapes. Taken into consideration are colors, ceiling height, the flow of the room, and the overall impression the client would like to make with the balloon decor.
Balloon decorators contract or have balloon artists on staff to help to build focal points that tie into the decor of the room. Balloon decorators work with a team that helps design, build, and setup and breakdown the balloon displays. A balloon decorator’s job is to work behind the scenes to ensure a picture-perfect event happens, unlike a balloon entertainer who interacts directly with the guest and the client during the party.
Balloon Artist, Balloon Entertainer, and Balloon Decorator are how I define the primary balloon industry to the general public. However, there are subgroups in the industry where people like to niche their skills as a Deco-Twisters, Line Twisters, Twisters.
Deco-Twisters – Can be considered as an offshoot of a balloon artist. The main difference is the balloon sculptures are large in scales and work behind the scenes using techniques that make it difficult to reproduce for the general public and typically are the focal point of the balloon decor. No balloon, latex, mylar, rounds, or long balloons are off-limits when it comes to deco-twisting.
Line Twister – Developed from the world of balloon entertainers, the line twister must be able to reproduce balloon figures within three minutes or less. This production like speed allows Line Twister to develop motor memory skills that will enable them to expend little mental energy on thinking about how to build the sculpture which frees the entertainer’s mind to think about entertaining the audience while acting like a machine and reproduce a balloon sculpture. The Line twister is a one-on-one entertainment where every child receives a balloon, and people stand in line as they wait their turn.
Twister – A generic industry term to categorize people who primarily use balloon animal balloons to entertain or create balloon art. A Twisters skill level can range from beginner to advance and deals directly with guests one-on-one.
If you are looking for a Balloon Artist, Balloon Entertainer, or Balloon Decorator, the balloon community is tight-knit and will gladly recommend a colleague who specializes in your event requirements.
If you’re a balloon entertainer, how do you classify yourself?
Leave me a comment below.