Originally posted 10-06-09 in MBD2
I like things to look like what they are supposed to be, so detail designs are where I am at,” said balloon sculptor Rick Mohr. “That is why I don‘t do a lot of speed twisting designs. Some, not a lot.” (see www.mohrfun.com )
He attributes his desire for detail in balloon work to his years as a graphic artist. Prior to that he was an artist and cartoonist in the military. “I will keep working on a design until I get the look that I am after. An example is my one balloon bull dog,” he said. “It took me three months to develop that design alone. It started out bigger, a multi-balloon creation, but I feel that the real accomplishment is being able to make it out of one balloon!” he exclaimed. He is proud to say the bull dog design is one of those and as a one-balloon sculpture it is one usually asked for most at jams and conventions.
Mohr has been twisting for over 15 years and it all started in the mid-90s when was diagnosed with diabetes. Near the end of his convalescence he was able to be up and about for a couple hours a day and help a friend hawk games at an area casino.
After he would hawk the games, every couple of weeks a balloon twister would come in to the casino and Mohr would get a teddy bear for his wife. Eventually, in addition to receiving the occasional teddy bear, he received lessons on making basic balloon animals.
Upon mastering about 10 basic animals he was able to get his first restaurant gig at Aurelio‘s Pizza in Oakbrook Terrace. “The management was very forgiving or maybe they saw something that would grow in my ability to get me to the level that I am at today,” he said.
“I have been lucky enough to work with some of the great balloon people in the industry! People like Marvin L. Hardy, Royal Sorrell, John Holmes and others at the International Balloon Arts Convention (IBAC) every year since 1996,” he said. “Others that I have been lucky to work with include Frank Birdsall, who got me started; Anthony Mackey, who showed me some great business ideas and contacts,” he continued, “ Dale the Balloon Dude, and others too numerous to mention.”
He enjoys teaching and has taught at various conventions like IBAC, Twist and Shout, Diamond Jam, Millennium Jam, MBD2’s 10 Year Bash and TJAM on the road. He will also be teaching at Twist and Shout 2010.
Mohr has a book out titled The Art of Balloon Twisting. He also has two DVDs, Cornering the Hat Market with the Triangle Hat and Finger Puppets Plus. He has three new DVDs nearly ready for release and they will be about stadium puppets, dragons, and birds, which will include a life size ostrich.
In addition to balloon twisting, Mohr offers karaoke. Around 2003 he began doing karaoke for fun and had so much fun doing it he got hooked, he said.. He ended up getting his own equipment and now offers over 77,000 songs.
If twisting and karaoke were not enough, thanks to teaching at Vent Haven with friend, entertainer and ventriloquist Bob Rumba, Mohr was introduced to the possibilities of puppets. Not the balloon puppets which he already creates, but the real kind ventriloquists use. Now, you just may find Herschel, the Possum, singing a song or two! Or Leonard, the Ape…
And it all comes back around to balloons. “I love seeing creative and cute designs. If I feel stagnant, I try to think of something new or something that I may have seen, but think there might be a different way to do it. That is what perks me up!” exclaimed Mohr.