A new twist on a teenage career

Senior Alison Hunt works as a balloon artist


photo courtesy of Alison Hunt

Senior Alison Hunt uses her skills to make balloon art like mermaids and other animals. Hunt stumbled on the opportunity to make balloon art on accident when she worked as a lifeguard.

Mateo LaMar, Staff Reporter

Once a Lifeguard, now a magician’s apprentice, senior Alison Hunt works as a balloon artist for parties and events in St. Louis with her boss, Leland Delgado, and his cotton-tailed assistant, Whiskers.  

“I was lifeguarding at a charity event, and there was so much going on because it was a huge event, there was a petting zoo, a giant bubble machine and a balloon artist. [Delgado] had a huge line of kids, and I went up to him and told him ‘you have this really big line and I’m not on stand right now, do you need some help?’ and he showed me how to make an elephant and some other stuff.  So I was helping him for awhile, making a bunch of them, and he told me I was really good at it. Later I had to go back on stand, so he gave my friend his business card and told her to tell me to contact him because he was looking for someone to teach. So I was his apprentice for a couple months until I started going to events by myself through his company,” Hunt said.

Hunt’s craft is not exclusive to the workplace, in fact, she tends to find her balloon pieces floating around in her personal life. She often gifts balloon animals to friends, gives the extra balloon animals she encounters around the house to the kids in her neighborhood and every now and then she finds balloons hiding in her pockets and in her car.

“I used to be a lifeguard, so all day I would be sitting on the stand, hour after hour and it was so mind-numbing.  This is a lot more interactive, I get to use my hands and talk to people the whole time, and I’m good with kids, so it’s a much better job for me.  I also really like art and it’s great that it incorporates that.”

She started out with no previous experience in making balloon art, but Hunt believes that it takes more creativity than skill to learn and master the different types of animals. As long as someone can wrap their head around the twists and turns of the balloon, and be able to visualize how the figure comes together, learning can be fairly quick.