Even kids are interested in balloons



Soup Can


Working with balloons, people always assume I do kid's stuff. Parents often excitedly look at my creations but then ask if it would be appropriate to have one of my installations at a Bar Mitzvah or wedding, or other event where the audience is older than age of five. This used to frustrate me since I never really saw myself as creating "children's art". I do feel that my art is friendly to children. Kids like it, but it's not limited to the pre-school crowd.

Of course, in all fairness to those people that initially put balloons in a certain box (a toy box perhaps?) I have to admit, I started there too. Balloons served a very specific purpose for me. I needed to draw audiences to my street show. Big, colorful balloons would bring families closer to see what I was doing. Offering balloons at the end of my magic show guaranteed me birthday party bookings. As my performances got bigger and I moved away from living room birthday parties, I found myself doing less stuff directed at kids.

It's not that I don't want to produce things for kids. Quite the contrary. I love creating for and with kids. I never gave up children's entertainment. I love performing for them on stage. I just refuse to jump on the "balloons are for kids" bandwagon. Instead, I'm trying to use my balloons to build kids' interest in art, and a few events coming up are helping to make that happen.

Tomorrow (Aug 20, 2011) is the official opening of the Whimsical Art Trail at The National Museum of Play here in Rochester, NY. My Master Works series, re-interpretations of some iconic pieces of art, is being added to the Once Upon a Time artwork that's been up in the museum since June. Of course, I'm not alone. Work by Kelly Cheatle, Rob Rogalski, and Jennifer Carson are also part of this exhibit. All of us will be there from 1:00-4:00 PM demonstrating our creative process and interacting with visitors. If you can't make it to the opening, the exhibit will be there until November 20. The goal is to show our unique work and methods, and to get kids excited about art. All of us, in some way, combine art with play, making the fit between us and the folks at the Museum of Play a perfect match. I'm excited.

On September 24 and 25, I'll be in NYC at the Affordable Art Fair doing much the same thing, partnering with Little Collector. Little Collector, like me, isn't so much looking to share kid's art as to share fine art that kids will enjoy. The Affordable Art Fair is a place to buy art on a reasonable budget. It's not a place for stuffy art collectors, but for everyone that enjoys art. So if you're looking for art for your kid's rooms, this is the place to be.

As long as we're talking about kid's stuff, I figured I'd include a short video from a show that I've been doing for years. How to Catch a Mouse: Simple Machines at Work is a science show for elementary age kids that teaches problem solving through the process of building a Rube Goldberg mousetrap. I've been performing this show for more than a decade in schools around the country. These days, I perform primarily in NY, while other performers have taken over for me in various places around the US.

How to Catch  a Mouse - httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A79zJ3GjcZ4