Monthly Archives: May 2013

Balloon Hero Interview, Rob Driscoll

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Rob Driscoll is an amazing individual. I came across and subscribed to his blog, My Daily Balloon= http://mydailyballoon.blogspot.com/, where he is making a different balloon everyday for 365 days. His photography skills really add to his balloon sculpting and well, when you see it- that will do all the talking for me.

His creativity and movie like still shots of his work can’t help but warrant him a seat on my balloon hero panel. He is a magician, photographer, a bit of a film-maker and a bit of an adventurer! In short he is one cool dude!

Rob was kind enough to let me interview him and man- is he a treat to read and get to know more about! Thank you Rob for participating in this interview!

Meet Rob.

You can tell this is a fun and interesting guy to be around=

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1. How long have you been twisting balloons and why did you get involved in this art?

When I was around 18 or 19 years old I started to get into magic, performing and doing magic shows, It was quite soon after I started performing magic that I was asked to help do a magic show at a street party by a magician friend of mine called Rikki, I went along and while I was there I was given a bag of Qualatex balloons by Rikki, it was basically a case of being thrown in at the deep end and only managed basic dogs, swords and maybe the odd giraffe. For some reason I was able to blow the balloons up by mouth quite easily, I put this down to me being a very keen swimmer and diver for most of my life so I imagine I have pretty strong lungs.

From that moment I started to make more and more balloons and slowly including them in my magic shows, I have now been ballooning for about 20 years.

2. What is you favorite piece that you have made and what is your favorite piece someone else has made?

This is a difficult question, it has only been this year that I have started to push my balloon making, up until the end of 2012 I just plodded along making all the usual stuff, occasionally I would try something new but it was not until I started my balloon blog on Jan 1st this year that I really started to push my balloon modeling, so at the moment I have a few favourites, E.T. is a favourite as I have always been a big E.T. Fan, also I LOVE Gizmo and am so pleased with how he came out, Snoopy is a favourite too. I think E.T. just about wins though.

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137---Gizmo

121---Snoopy

3. Has involvement in this art changed you or your life in any way?

I guess it has done yes, I have been balloon modelling for over half of my life and I can’t seem to remember a time without it in my life, when I left school and college I became a cabinet maker but in my mid 20s the magic and ballooning took over and I quit my cabinet making job and became a full time magician. I imagine without the balloons I would still be doing the magic however it’s been a much more colourful career with the balloons.

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4. What are some of your other hobbies and or interests?

I have many other hobbies and interests, Most of my work happens at the weekend and I used to have a nasty habit of being too lazy during the week and not actually doing anything with my time, so I figured I should change that and now I am always actively on the lookout for things to keep me occupied, a main hobby of mine is Photography, I studied Photography at university and my dad is a photographer so it has always been a part of my life, I also occasionally branch out into a bit of film making as well, i will give you some links to some short films I have made. Travel is a big interest of mine, I LOVE the great outdoors, camping, hiking, walking, I am currently on a mission to visit the highest points of every county and unitary authority in the UK (about 240 of them) (more about that in a later question). I read a lot, I love to cook and make an amazing Paella, I have a passion for Columbo (the TV detective), anything to do with space (both real life and Sci Fi), Chelsea football club, anything Disney and I love listening to music (classical, soundtracks, 80s)

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Robs Films

Timelapse 01 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlikbg1yILw

Timelapse 02 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfY2EKiiJMw

Timelapse 03 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBebSkney38

Rob performing with his mate Clint as the Vox Brothers – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkhotkOUkRw

5. How would you describe your personality? What are you like?

I Live in Portsmouth, England, I have done all my life and would never live anywhere else, I am currently 38 (39 on June 7th), I am gay and engaged to my boyfriend Nathan, we have been together for 11 years. I am a mainly a magician performing for children and adults for private parties, weddings, the occasional theatre and stage show, I am also in a magic double act with my best mate Clint.

I am stubborn, I can be lazy, I can be terribly untidy, I am very grumpy in the mornings, I used to often be late but I got over that flaw years ago thankfully, I eat unhealthily (not junk food, but I usually miss breakfast and sometimes lunch too, then I just eat a main meal in the evenings and the occasional snack), I worry about everything and anything, I bite my nails (sorry), wow I am a horrible person, let’s do some nice stuff to even me out 😀

I am young at heart, I think I am fun, generous; I like to think artistic, generally a very happy person and don’t like it when others are sad so try and do my best to make them happy, I am quiet at times, I can be shy, I love time on my own as much as time with others, I am full of useless information and I have a brilliant memory for dates, maps and directions, I like to keep fit when I can and I am a perfectionist (is that a good thing or not?)

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6. What have been some lessons you have learned business wise with this endeavor? Is there any advice you wish that had been given to you that you would like to share to help others?

I think one of the main things I have learnt is to be yourself, I remember seeing a relatively famous UK magician talk about his life and how he used to be a totally different character during his magic act, it was an awesome act but he was always a bit unsure about it, he then realized that it was not his character people wanted to see perform, it was him, people liked him the way he was so why was he trying to be someone else.

I think it is always best to be yourself, I do a few different characters for my kids magic shows, Robbie the Wizard is my main character but while I may dress as a wizard with a pointy hat and cloak, I am still just me dressed up, it is the same with my other characters, I am always just me, no silly voices, no funny accents, just me. If you want your audience to like you then be yourself.

(I decided to put this pic of him beside himself here,lol. Don’t be afraid to really look at yourself and be okay with what you see and be yourself.)

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7. You are an excellent photographer and take really beautiful pictures of your work. How do you see your other talents and skills benefitting you with balloon twisting?

That is really kind of you to say and it is a really hard question, I like to think I have always been an arty type of person so I think this has always helped with my balloon twisting, I can spend ages making a balloon look right for a photograph, moving a bubble here, adjusting a twist there, positioning it just right to make a good photograph.

8. Why did you start a blog about balloon twisting? What is your goal for your blog, what impact are you hoping for it to achieve?

The Blog came about from a series of other events, it all started back in September 2009 (the 9th, told you I was good with dates) and I had just purchased my new camera, a Nikon D5000, I wanted to use it as much as possible and I am a firm believer that you should carry a camera with you everywhere you go, so I did, anyway I heard about a challenge which photographers do in which you take a self portrait every single day, it can be any kind of self portrait and hundreds of photographers do it every year, usually starting on Jan 1st each year. I thought this was such a cool idea and decided to go for it, so on September 15th 2009 I took my first self portrait, I continued for a whole year taking my 365th photo on September 14th 2010, the photos were published onto a blog every day and I got quite a big following, I even inspired several others to do their own 365 projects.

Robs 365 self portraits – http://magirob.blogspot.co.uk/

On Jan 1st 2011 I decided to start another blog, this one was called “The way I see it” and it was basically just a photo a day, this went on for about 700 days before I stopped it but I had come to the conclusion I had become a serial blogger.

The Way I see it – http://magirob2.blogspot.co.uk/

The next blog to come along was my highest points blog, this one is still going and I will be blogging about it for a long time to come. As I mentioned in a previous question I am on a mission to visit the highest points of every county and unitary authority in the UK, its something I have wanted to do for a few years and last year I went to climb England’s highest mountain with a few friends so I figured it was a great time to start climbing and then blogging about it.

Highest Points – www.highestpoints.co.uk

It then came to late December 2012, if I was going to start a new blog then the best time to start it would be on January 1st, what could I do? another photo project? Something magic themed? Then it came to me, a balloon a day, people always ask how many balloons do I make, and my standard answer is a couple of hundred, it was time to prove it so on Jan 1st I took the plunge and so far so good.

9. What is your favorite balloon color and shape?

This is easy, periwinkle is the colour, 160 is the shape. I like periwinkle for several reasons, I generally like blue anyway but this is such a nice blue, I also like it because it’s such a silly name, I don’t know why it’s called periwinkle because periwinkle is a totally different type of blue, a much lighter almost white blue but it’s a nice name anyway.

As for the 160, I just think it’s such a cute balloon.

10. Who are your personal balloon heroes and why?

Another easy question, I have 3, each for different reasons,

1 – Dylan Gelinas, he is AWESOME, he makes the most amazing balloons, they look so much like the things they are meant to be and his instructions are easy to follow.

2 – Pascal Grooten, I like this guys work for the artistic slant he puts on his models, he puts a lot of work into making the models look right for the photography, I get the impression that the photography is just as important as the sculpture which is right up my street.

3 – Cody Williams, This guy is an inspiration, he is always happy, he always has great things to say, and he has faced many challenges in his life and has overcome them all with a smile on his face.

11. About how many balloons do you go through in a week?

Depends on the time of year I guess, and what shows I have going on, this week I am getting through a few hundred as it is school holidays and I have a load more shows to do. Over the course of a usual weekend of shows I guess I get through around 100 maybe.

12. What is your biggest dream and goal with this art? Do you have a specific project or experience/s you would love to have realized?

My biggest dream so far is to complete this challenge I have set myself, 365 balloons, one for every day of the year, it has certainly been a huge challenge for me so far, I am currently sitting here wondering what I am going to make tomorrow, it’s always a struggle coming up with the ideas, so if I can get through a year I will be a VERY happy man

192nd Balloon Sculpture, Dylan Gelinas’ Magic Mouse.

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Dylan Gelinas has a pretty amazing PDF tutorial for a design called Magic Mouse available for $15.00 on his store website=

http://slightlytwistedballoons.com/store.html.

The PDF is very well done except the lighting of the PDF should be brighter, it was a bit too dark- but you can still follow instructions.

Now I made just a tiny bit of modifications. I got my first geo’s the other day but these suckers are expensive, like $13.00 for only 25,lol.

I found that this design can really get by beautifully without a geo,lol.

I made my neck area differently because I wanted my mouse to look forward and also look right considering he is standing straight up. I also used different sized balloons for little details due to shortness of supply.

I found that you can make the mouse stand up just fine by how you manipulate the cape.

I am really excited because I managed to make a sidewall bubble on a 260! I jumped up and down and was so excited by that!

This design is very fun to make and introduced totally new techniques to me which I always find very exciting!

Here is a picture of Dylan’s Magic Mouse=

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Here are pictures of my first replication of his design.

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191st Balloon Sculpture, Doves Kissing Display.

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I had an order for some doves kissing as a gift for a wedding. I was told that the wedding colors were yellow and white.

I looked around at doves kissing designs but did not really like any that I found.

So, I came up with the below.

I am excited to say that this is a Patricia
Balloona original design.

The doves kissing in a heart isn’t original but the dove design is my design, lol. I think I did well on coming up with the whole arrangement. I am going to slightly tweak the belly area and the wing area next time just to get proportions better and make it even cleaner.

This is a rather large design and required a two balloon heart. I just made a pinch twist on each end and twisted together at the other end. I just did the typical shmooshing of the middle to make it heart shaped.
It was really fun to make!

Below are pics.

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190nth Balloon Sculpture, Soldier in White Dress Uniform

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Well folks, Memorial Day is coming up so I decided on making a balloon Solider in white uniform for Earthfare of Chattanooga to display.

I looked online for  soldier uniforms and decided to use this picture below as a reference.

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I also looked online for Prince balloon sculptures and came up with this image. This is from BalloonClick.com. I guess there is a tutorial for it. It seems to be an online club where you pay to join but get access to designs like these. I need to sign up! I will next month. I would love to learn how to do the head especially! I just figured out how to do the chest and arms on my own as best as I could. I made more detailed hands. Link to site from which this pic is from=http://click.balloonmaster.com/?page_id=104

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So I had a bit of a time crunch and would have done some things differently that I will do next time. The round balloon on the top of the hat should not be showing, I need to make it smaller next time. The round balloon is key to attaching hat to the head, at least the way I approached it.

I also wanted to make it look like he was saluting, I needed to make the shoulder pad area, as it were, longer or perhaps put some pinch twists in the elbow area. Wih a 646- getting it to stay more curved was an issue so I just gave up on it for next time. I only had one white 646 left and I wanted to save that for emergency, I didn’t want to risk using it for a new arm.

I also would have made the head tilting up more and or moved the hat a little further back.

I attempted making him look like he had a cleft chin.

The hands I learned from Andre Nolle in his Rockstar tutorial, about 55 minutes into it he does the hands= http://click.balloonmaster.com/?page_id=104.

You can also tell that I used techniques I learned from Dylan Gelinas’ Bartleby the Leprechaun pdf tutorial= http://slightlytwistedballoons.com/store.html.

Having done the Cat in the Hat display I did- I thought it would be great to have him coming out of a column of red, white and blue balloons. That made the standing up less of an issue,lol. Plus I think it just looks really cool!

Enough talk, and now pictures.

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The lovely Eadress modeling below.

 

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I love this picture of Eadress looking at him below,lol.

 

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View from lower perspective below.

 

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189nth Balloon Sculpture, Starship Enterprise Parody Hat

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Friends and I were getting together for a big Star Trek Into Darkness movie night out and I HAD to make a balloon Starship Enterprise parody hat or I would die!

Yes, as soon as I walked into the theatre, if I wasn’t wearing an Enterprise parody balloon hat, lightning would strike me dead right then and there as it would have been an unforgivable sacrilege!

I googled Balloon Starship Enterprise and Rob Driscoll’s work came right up.

He did a terrific job and has a cool blog about balloon twisting as well called My Daily Balloon. http://mydailyballoon.blogspot.co.uk/

His photo’s that I used for reference=

130 - USS Enterprise

 

Now I did several modifications. For one thing I turned it into a hat. Secondly I used grey balloons but after making the grey I think the white looks better. Thirdly I put a light inside the middle bottom part and glow sticks inside the thruster things on the sides. It was really cool to see it glow in the theatre, don’t worry, I took it off my head and put it on my lap during the movie,lol. The pictures I took don’t really show just how cool the glows were!

Sadly I did not have grey 11 or 5 inch rounds and so just had silver 11 inch rounds to work with this design.

I barely made the thing in time for the movie,lol. Mine didn’t come out as clean as Rob’s but hey- this  was my first go and I had a major time crunch. It is also tricky when you try to figure out how another person did something.

While waiting for friends in the lobby- I joked with people and told them that I was there to see Gatsby,lol. It got a huge reaction from people and made the event so much more fun and well, eventful,lol.

Here are the pics.

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Now for Balloon Hat Fun at the movies! What was cool about the theatre we went to is that there was a captain’s chair in the lobby,lol. I loved everyone who went- and we had such an awesome group!

 

 

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188th Balloon Sculpture, Cat in the Hat Display

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I came across With A Twist Balloon Creations’ Cat in the Hat display and got inspired. They do wonderful work!

I had my first library gig today and thought, hey, I should do a Cat in the Hat Display for them!

I decided to make a giant Cat in the Hat holding Norval the fish in the fishbowl and of course I had to bring those flowers that I love to make,lol.

I adapted With A Twist’s design and added my own twist by making it so that the Cat comes out of the column, which makes it nice because I made legs for him but getting him to stand up was a nightmare,lol. Necessity is the mother of invention!

There are things that I would adapt, I would have done some measuring tweaks but overall I am happy with the design concept and how it came out. Not bad for a first try with a project of this size.

Everyone loved it and the people at the library were so surprised that I was leaving it there with them, they were so happy and taken back.

Spreading balloon happiness is my mission and I am so happy that my display has such a worthy and happy home!

This is at the South Branch Chattanooga Public Library in St. Elmo.

What an awesome group of folks that work there!

I had so much fun making balloons for the kiddos!

The bow tie, I got the idea for using hearts from ChiTwister from YouTube, link to come later. I did mine differently but got the idea to use hearts for a bow tie from him.

I am not sure if I am the first to take on a more precise Norval the Fish or not, I need to check that out.

I used uninflated hearts and glue dotted them to the fish for his fin hands as it were. It worked out really well. A 160 for the fins on his back via raisin twist. I used an orange 5 inch round for the body.

Now Pictures!

Here is the inspiration piece by With A Twist Balloons, referencing their site here, http://www.withatwist.ca/. They are a California company.

I got the pictures from here on their site.
http://withatwist.ca/PhotoAlbums/album_1351534562/

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Now for my version=

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Flower Mania!

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I am not going to number this one and will just put this down put down as flower mania. I have been experimenting and playing around with flower combinations and have been having so much fun making these.

Large Flower Centerpieces,/Bouquets.

So here you go, pictures of FLOWER MANIA!

 

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