Pictured at right with one of his creations, DeLorenzo began making balloon art in high school as a hobby. It’s been his full-time job for the last four years.
Where do you live and how old are you? I live in Chicago, IL and am 26.
How did you get into balloon art? Even before I could walk, I was always fascinated with balloons. When I was about 7 years old my parents took me to The Festival of Balloons, which is the final day of a worldwide balloon arts convention. I was so in awe by what could be created with something as simple as balloons. I went home and tried to make things with the balloons I had laying around. As soon as I could get a worker’s permit, I was twisting balloons at a local theme park, using the internet as a learning tool. I taught myself most of what I know, a lot of trial and error, but have learned so much by fellow artists.
What is the largest number of balloons you ever used for a single project and what was the project? About 10,000 balloons for the Pride parade in Chicago. I had about 70 people, each wearing giant balloon “fireworks” on their back along with other displays such as giant letters spelling out PRIDE.
What does it take to be a great balloon artist? Don’t be afraid of popping balloons or of heights, keep up with trends, be innovative and think on your toes. There is a helium shortage in the world, so you have to work around using helium. Most importantly, do something nobody has seen before!
Do you really make a living as a balloon artist? Yes
How much do you make? Some months are better than others, and I keep growing pretty rapidly every year, about 50% every year for the past 4 years.
What’s the best part of your job? I love getting an idea in my head and seeing it come to life. It may be difficult to explain to the client how you are going to create a 30-ft. wide octopus, life-size sharks, or a giant “game” of Angry Birds, but when it starts to take shape, I get excited with them. I love breaking the stereotype that balloons are for children. 90% of my work is for adults.
What’s the worst part of your job? The worst part of my job is battling the elements. Sometimes outdoors can be a nightmare with wind, rain, heat, cold, etc. Balloons are fragile so something as simple as an unswept floor can ruin an entire design.
Would you recommend this line of work to others? Why or why not? If you don’t love balloons, you will hate this job. It is a lot more work than some may think. You need a knack for it. You need to walk into a venue and suddenly have a million ideas and ways to execute those ideas. It truly is a rewarding job.