You’ve been a kid, so you’ve probably been to a party or a festival or some other even that had a clown making balloon animals. You’d stand in line for what seemed like an eternity and what would you get? You’d get a “snake” which was just a blown up balloon. Or a poodle that took 30 seconds to make and has a tail that’s far too long. But these balloon animals? These balloon animals are out of this world!
Masayoshi Matsumoto has been making balloon animals for over 5 years now. What started off as a hobby, driven by his love of nature photography has become somewhat of a calling card for the man online. When people think of impressive balloon animals, people think of Masayoshi Matsumoto.
Masayoshi Matsumoto is 29. He started making these balloon animals when he was 24. It took him a while to gain notoriety online, but eventually news networks and social media users caught on to what he was doing and started to share his work. He had his first interview with a news organization when he was 26.
Each balloon animal made by Masayoshi Matsumoto takes him at least two hours. This is time spent blowing up balloons, twisting them into the right shape, and experimenting with different methods of making a balloon animal. Since Masayoshi isn’t just following instructions in a book, he has to come up with every single element of the animal on his own. In an interview from 2016 Masayoshi Matsumoto said that the most complicated animals take him up to six hours to make. Seeing some of his latest work I’m starting to think that maybe the record is even higher now!
Balloons only! Masayoshi Matsumoto doesn’t use tape, glue, markers, or any other materials when making balloon animals. Everything you see is made of balloons of different shapes. All the colors are the colors of the actual balloons, because he doesn’t paint over them to add shine or gloss. I’m sure he has to spend a lot of time finding the right balloons to make each animal, but at the end of the day he gets to say that he’s the only one making such amazing balloon animals and plants without any extra help!
As I’ve mentioned, Masayoshi Matsumoto’s interest in making balloon animals was rooted in his fascination with nature photography from magazines like National Geographic. He wanted to see if he could recreate the same style of photography in a miniature home studio, so he started making balloon animals. So, although he does occasionally make a plant, you can see that Masayoshi Matsumoto’s work is mostly dedicated to making animals.
If you follow him on any of his social networks you can see that Masayoshi Matsumoto often goes through phases. It seems like he likes to pick a species of animals and try to make as many different kinds as he can, with different colors, shapes, balloons, and styles. Here’s his rendition of a chicken and turkey.
The longest “phase” in Masayoshi Matsumoto’s work (to date) seems to be insects. He has made fire ants, dung beetles, spiders, moths, flies, etc. His instagram account has 136 posts at the moment, and it seems like at least a solid 40% of all of his balloon animals are insects.
Lots of bugs
No, really, there are a lot of insects on his Instagram. However, I would argue that insects have never looked as adorable as they do when Masayoshi Matsumoto makes them out of balloons. If they were all this cute and colorful and shiny, maybe I wouldn’t mind having one as a pet!
Not for Hire!
Although making balloon animals of this caliber could be a killer party trick and Masayoshi Matsumoto could be an artisanal animal-maker at your kid’s birthday party – the man is not for hire. He only makes animals for himself, as a hobby, so he can take a picture of it and post it on his social media accounts. As a matter of fact, after six hours of painstaking work and several minutes of photography, he simply pops the balloons and throws them away. It’s the experience of working that counts, not the final product.
I know I said that nobody makes balloon animals as well as Masayoshi Matsumoto, but you can learn from him and emulate some of his work. He sells instructional booklets on his website that you can buy. The instructions are fairly straightforward, and the most difficult part of making the animals would be finding balloons of the right texture and color. So, go ahead, try it out cause it’s fun!