The OFJCC presents the work of Addi Somekh, the innovative and prolific balloon artist, known for his appearances in print and on television.
Addi is recognized as one of the most innovative, prolific and well-traveled balloon artists in the world today. A self-taught balloon twister, his style incorporates improvisation, abstract design and comic delivery, culminating in custom-made headdresses that have an uncanny ability to reflect the wearer’s personality.
Addi’s balloon hats have taken him around the world; he traveled to 34 countries with photographer Charlie Eckert, making hats for people for free and photographing them, in a kind of rolling investigation into the universal nature of laughter. Their travels resulted in the book The Inflatable Crown (2001, Chronicle Books).
In 2011, Addi starred in the TLC reality show, The Unpoppables, which followed his LA-based company, New Balloon Art, as they built impossibly large, interactive balloon installations at high-end events. Addi has also appeared on The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Martha Stewart, Access Hollywood and several other shows.
Just as the principles of improvisation permeate his artistic balloon work, Addi is a natural and spontaneous public speaker and humorist. His current obsession is playing the Balloon Bass—a three-and-a-half octave, all-latex musical instrument that sounds just like a funky upright bass and beyond.
About the Exhibit:
The varieties of the Balloon Hat Experience document a collaboration between artist and balloon twister Addi Somekh and photographer Charlie Eckert. From 1996 to 2000, Addi and Charlie traveled through 34 countries and 20 U.S. states, twisting over 100,000 balloons and capturing over 12,000 images on film.
At the heart of the project is an investigation into laughter as a universal human experience—an attempt to show that all of us are born with a sense of humor, and that our laughter sounds the same in every language.
On Display: Koch Gallery, Schultz Cultural Arts Hall Lobby