When I was a kid if I saw a 20-foot-balloon animal my head might have exploded with excitement. Back then clowns, magicians and dads at birthday parties had cornered the market on creating these bubbly creatures. But today, as artist Larry Moss and his team at Airigami have demonstrated with their 20-foot dinosaur air balloon made for the Virginia Museum of Natural History, this clever craft is evolving.
Installed over the course of a couple of days with the help of elementary school students, museum staff, and a lot of hot air, the "Acrocanthosaurus" went on view to the public this week. It is exhibited next to another Acrocanthosaurus, a life size 40-foot-long skeleton cast dating back to the early Cretaceous period, between 125 million and 100 million years ago. The exhibit also includes skeleton casts of a Deinonychus, Tenontosaurus, a cast of a Triceratops skull, a Syntarsus with prey, a Phytosaur, and skull cast of a Diabloceratops which translates to "Devil Hornface."
But just as real dinosaurs went extinct, so will this amazing blow up Acrocanthosaurus, when the balloons start to deflate. Moss explains, "The balloons have a very short life span. Most of our installations are only kept up for a week. Some may last longer, if conditions are just right - climate control, no direct sunlight, but we never count on more than a week in an open, public place. The museum this was in was planning on keeping it up for the week, but said they'd keep it up as long as they could."
So adults, children, lovers of bygone balloon creatures, get out to Virginia asap to see this mammoth work up close. And if not, good luck getting a birthday party clown to sculpt anything similar.
Images courtesy of Airigami