TWISTING IN BETWEEN DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
An ongoing series – deflated balloon imagery as digital prints, large scale collages directly onto walls and in development as a floating 3D installation.
Twisted balloons conjure up specific kinds of memories for me, the awe of watching a streetside performer create a cartoon-like dog in mere moments, attending the town fete and jealously eyeing off showbags amidst a display of shiny balloons. I was always the kid that would take home and treasure each relic of revelry, streamers dropped on the ground, the used pellets from plastic cap guns.
As an adult I became friends with a balloon twister. Twisted Mick is a maker of the ephemeral toys that I’d yearned for in the past. I would invite him to my studio where he would make dogs, rainbows, dinosaurs and flowers by twisting balloons. We would dream of ideas for elaborate installations, but I was always most fascinated with the simple objects that were made quickest. These balloon representations of the world, would stay in my studio, gathering dust and wilting on the floor. Once the shine of newness wore off, they started to look as if they were both approaching death and twitching closer to life. These uncanny objects were then memorialised as photographs, forming an archive of imagery that I continue to draw on years later.
This project comes with many contradictions for me. I want to talk about the impacts of single use decorations on the environment, balloons float away and choke birds, even the biodegradable latex balloons that Twisted Mick uses for his trade. Its tricksy though, to single out one material as evil and banish balloons forever. It’s a simplistic way of looking at the damage wrought on the environment by the actions of humans.
This intersection between nostalgia, celebration and the environment is where I stumble, and where I begin my research for this probably life long project delving into my love of the world of twisted balloons.