Different kind of art’s blowing up


He’s the colourful character delighting young and old with his balloon art at Queenstown’s lakefront. Daisy Hudson talks to balloon artist Jim Sheard about his creative capers.

Delight– and mischief – is written all over Jim Sheard’s face as he expertly twists and turns the colourful balloons in his hands.

In a matter of minutes, the unassuming bits of rubber have been transformed into an adorable puppy, Sheard’s signature creation.

“It took me about three years to come up with this design,” he says, handing it over.

Standing in the middle of Queenstown’s Village Green, he definitely attracts a few stares.

In his brightly-coloured suit and top hat, he’s hard to miss.

You’ll often find him down at Queenstown’s lakefront, creating balloon art for eager onlookers.

“The endless surprises would be one thing,” he says when asked what he enjoys about it.

“Being able to watch somebody’s mind break and then re-invent their impression of the world.

“With street twisting, you never know what you’re going to get. You’ve got limited resources, limited time.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, becoming a balloon artist was not a career choice Sheard had planned for.

A gondola operator at Skyline by trade, he says he found he had “a knack” for balloon art when he managed to fix a child’s broken balloon animal about six years back.

Want to read more? Check out our digital edition.