In the Spotlight

Patrick van de Ven

Originally posted 07-30-07 in MBD2

Patrick’s Fantastic Balloon Safari is the umbrella term Patrick van de Ven, of Apeldorn, Netherlands, uses for his current activities which are many and varied. So varied, in fact, that his other talents and professional pursuits are not even covered by such a term as safari, however it is the balloon modeling which is currently keeping him busiest.
“I refer to myself as ‘Ballonkunstenaar Patrick’ which roughly translates as ‘Balloon Artist Patrick’. Balloon artist is still a fresh term in the Netherlands because the most common term is Balloon Clown”, he said. “In a general sense I’m a creative entertainer or an entertaining artist.” Visit to view his menagerie plus!
For example, other skills Patrick has utilized include: a robot act as a mime; circus arts such as diabolo, spinning plates, balancing cord and balancing ball; clowning done while riding around on a mini bike; painting and illustrating whereby he designs CD covers, illustrations and wall paintings. And music.
In fact, his “real occupation” would be Music Technologist, a composer to multimedia, if balloon art were not his fulltime occupation. “As a famous song goes, ‘Music was my first love’ and it was hard to find something that was creatively as strong and appealing as making music. That is until the cosmos put balloons in my hand,” he said. “It’s because of this new creative power that my musical activities are on hold for now. From time to time I find that a pity, ‘cause I long to go back to the true artistry days of locking myself up in the studio and only sleep, eat, grow a beard and compose. Dedicated to creating a beautiful piece of music that is pure and timeless.”
Patrick has performed in various settings, composing with synthesizers, keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion and vocals for multimedia and his own CD projects. His ambient musical activities can be viewed and heard at .
As a full-time entertainer, Patrick’s venues include corporate, public and private events. “Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to perform at almost any situation thinkable…in shopping windows as a mime; in a warehouse as an Easter bunny; as a musician in restaurants,” he said. “I like the private parties for their select number of kids and adults. In a few hours time you can really get to know their names and a bit about who they are,” he added. And for reasons of greater self-promotion and ability to astonish the crowd, he prefers the public events.
It all began as a child in elementary school . “I entered and won the playback shows held in the classrooms. I was a shy kid back then and being in character gave me more confidence,” he said. Later he started mime and continued that along with school, in addition to trying to find a “normal” job. “Confused by what others expected from me in finding a regular job it took quite some years before I came to conclude I already am who I am and do what I like the most,” Patrick added.
“It is the mixture of artistry and creativity with performing that has always appealed to me, whether it was performing as an artist, musician or composer,” he said. “It’s this thrive to bring something new and exciting into the world, the power of creating, positive energy, bringing amazement and smiles. Something that is genuine and heartfelt.”
Patrick’s regular gigs keep his skills honed. He sculpts at a restaurant called Ribhouse Texas which is in the American/Western style. “Spread all over the year they have several themed weekends like Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, All-American, Mexican, Halloween and Christmas. What makes this a challenge is that I’m allowed to work within the themes and create sculptures accordingly, he added. “My regular performing at the local shopping mall allows me to show my latest designs, try out new ideas, talk to people and hand out business cards. It’s like a constant gallery for my balloon art.”
Winning Ralph Dewey’s Balloon Excellence as a Rising Star Award in 2006 was one of the achievements Patrick has been most proud of. The description of the award indicates it is given to a relative newcomer or a seasoned twister who has shown significant improvement through their natural talent and balloon twisting creativity.
In addition, Patrick said he knew he “made it” when he was asked to lecture at Millennium Jam 2007. He was asked to teach a workshop. In October he will be lecturing together with Graham Lee during a tour around the UK.
Inspiration comes from many places and for Patrick he gets inspired by looking around. “For instance toy stores and their magazines can be a good source of ideas, so are plush animals and the silly comical t-shirt imprints,” he said. “Store decoration is another source, a certain shape or technique or a combination of colors. Every small idea can be useful.” Meanwhile, his biggest influence for motivation and developing his own style has been the postings on BalloonHQ by Fabrizio Bolzoni.
Advice for newbies? “If you want to develop your own style, try to stay away from the ongoing designs as much as possible,“ he said. Maintaining that copying designs can be educational, he strongly suggests to develop your own style and techniques. “There are still a lot of things that no one has thought of before.”
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