Jack & Beanstalk Need Help To Make Entirely Of Balloons

Story

public art project that represents the VERY tall tale of Jack and his Beanstalk using tens of thousands of balloons.

Who are you guys?

We’re 2 artists from Rochester, NY, working collectively under the Airigami, who specialize in making ginormous & awesome sculptures entirely out of balloons. You might know us from our previous (and successful!) Kickstarter project, “Once Upon a Time” or may have seen some of our projects making the rounds on the web.

Acrocanthosaurus at the Virginia Museum of Natural History made with 5000 balloons.
Acrocanthosaurus at the Virginia Museum of Natural History made with 5000 balloons.
Mona Lisa - Part of the Airigami Masterworks series
Mona Lisa - Part of the Airigami Masterworks series

What did you two come up with now?

We want to continue our exploration of fairy tales and create a full scale installation of Jack & the Beanstalk, entirely out of balloons! We’re talking a four-story beanstalk complete with a Giant’s Castle in the clouds above! We’ll be enlisting the help of community volunteers to help create this massive sculpture and we want you to be a part of this project.

Initial sketch for the massive project.
Initial sketch for the massive project.
A much smaller beanstalk shot in the limited space of our studio. Imagine this on a much grander scale with garden and house on the ground and a castle above.
A much smaller beanstalk shot in the limited space of our studio. Imagine this on a much grander scale with garden and house on the ground and a castle above.

Why on earth?

If someone says they’re going to build a five-story beanstalk-castle extravaganza entirely out of balloons, do you really need a reason?

Where did this idea come from?

One of our most popular projects to date was a series of giant balloon castles. It’s been five years since the last Balloon Manor, and we’ve been begged (that's no exaggeration) to bring it back. This castle will provide a chance for artists and community members to work together, once again, on a huge scale project for everyone to enjoy.

What do I get?

Above all else, your contribution results in a spectacular public art project that will be built Feb 1-4, 2014, with the resulting sculpture remaining on display through Feb 9. But we do have a series of rewards that we think you'll enjoy. For starters, we're holding spots on the build and popping crews for those that want to join the fun. We also have fine art prints, balloon twisting kits, T-shirts, and other unique items to make your contributions more memorable.

 

Where's the money going?

This giant community art project is going to be open for all of the public to enjoy, free of charge. Therefore, there are a bunch of things things we need to pay for. We’ve set a low goal to cover the bare essentials, but we’re hoping, with your help, to become a Kickstarter dream story.

Project costs include:

  • Balloons
  • Location rental
  • Security
  • Rigging equipment
  • Artist fees (if we go above the $6000 we've set as our goal)

Aside from the many hours that the two of us will put into this by the time it's completed, there are a number of key crew members that will also be putting an enormous amount of time into the project. We're committed to completing this even without payment, but we're hoping that the Kickstarter community will go above and beyond our goal so that our key crew can be paid and reimbursed for travel costs.

How many people are on this crew?

There are artists, team leaders, and tech crew that are needed to make this happen. The size of the crew will depend on the amount of funding we receive, in part because the crew will come from our Kickstarter backers, but also because the funding we receive will determine how large this project can grow. In the past, we've had up to 450 people, including artists, and members of the local community, take part in construction.

Can I be on the crew?

Yes! Please become a backer of this project. At this time, the only way we are adding crew members is through Kickstarter and outside sponsorship.

What happens to the sculpture?

This sculpture will be built using compostable latex balloons. At the end of the public exhibition we will have a Popping Party to take down the sculpture. All backers, at all levels, will be invited to join in on the fun!

Can I come and see the sculpture?

Yes, please do. The sculpture will be on public display February 5-9. You can even come and watch us as we build it February 1-4. Viewing of the sculpture will be FREE! If you have the means, please contribute so everyone can enjoy this work.

Risks and challenges

Every new project is a new challenge, simply because it's an untested design. We know that each small component of the design will stand on its own, but there's simply no way to accurately prototype a piece on this scale. It will be built for the first time in the days leading up to the public display. This is, of course, what makes this such an amazing project. We will follow our design as closely as possible, but in the end, it's a work of art that will take on a life of its own as it grows to its full height. We will continue to sculpt up until the day it opens to the public. Our team of internationally renowned artists have the skills and experience to make it look spectacular, even if the final form is slightly different from the original concept drawing. Constructing something large with balloons requires that everything be built at the last minute prior to displaying it. Years of experience has made it possible for us to build to something of this magnitude with reasonable certainty that it will be completed as we desire. But the short, inflexible timeline always means that equipment failure (balloon pumps and air compressors), damaged product, and mistakes leave us with no head room for recovery. So let's look at each of those: • equipment failure - We have a mechanic on our crew, RIchard Hughson, that carries the title of MacGyver. To date, we've never had a structure or piece of equipment fail that he hasn't been able to get working. And yes, that has even involved duct tape and chewing gum. • damaged product - The folks that make Qualatex balloons have always stood by their product. Whenever we've needed more balloons, either due to damage during shipping, our error, or some other disastrous situation, they've found ways of getting replacement materials to us in time to complete the project. • mistakes - Oh, no! An artist misread the plan and used all of the red balloons while making something four times the size it was supposed to be. That's happened. But we're a creative team, and this is an art project. What's important is that it looks amazing. We can change and adapt and usually use what seemed like a mistake to make things even better. Spontaneity can be fun. In other words, our biggest challenge is time. But we always make our installations work out. The dates are set. We can't move it. It will happen on schedule and it will be awesome!