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 Post subject: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Jeff Hayes, UncannyJeff on the forum has kindly agreed to do the interview for us and will be putting up answers to the questions whenever he gets a few minutes over the next few weeks.
Jeff's portfolio is here; http://uncannyjeff.balloonhq.com/
Thanks for taking the time Jeff, do you have a website? and if anyone else would like to volunteer to do the interview then please let me know.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:26 am 
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Jeff is going to answer the questions, he has a slight technical problem with his computer that has gone to the doctors which he hopes will be sorted ASAP.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:49 am 
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hey Everyone! Pleased to say my laptop has finally returned from the doctors and I am now back in the world of Web lieterate.

Now for the questions -
1. What road led you into balloon modelling![/color]In 1984, I received a phonecall to set up a circus-themed function for the John Sands Cards 150th. anniversary and they wanted lots of clowns and magicians. I booked everyone I knew at the time and one of the magiciams made basic balloon figures (dogs, swans and swords). I was amazed as people lined up for ages and thought "this is cool, I have to learn how to do this"!

2. When did you get started with balloons?
Following the John Sands event, later that year I went to the Australian Society of Magicians Convention. I bought five books on Balloon Sculpting and 120 balloons (the crummy kind that came on a big card and every third one tended to burst.) I sat at home and blew my brains out until I could make the obligatory one balloon dog. It was Ralph Dewey's Balloon and Clown Notebook that clarified things for me.

3. What's your best twisting experience?
It's hard to select a best experience, I have a number of really cool moments to enjoy, twisting at a Taverna on the island of Rhodes, twisting in Hong Kong but one of the really cool things was spending several hours jamming with the awesome Ken Stillman at the Australian Balloon Convention in Manly, Sydney in 2007.

4. What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you during a balloon twisting session?
I was working at a large corporate picnic. At that stage I still inflated by mouth and about the third balloon of the day burst at the very end and raced back, hitting me squarely in the eye. I had to perform for another six hours with an ice pack on my eye. Despite my conviction that I was going to blinded everything worked out and I was merely left with a decent balck eye for about a week.

5. What do you enjoy most about twisting and why?
This is probably easiest question so far - the SMILES. There is nothing better than the smiles on people's faces when you create something for them. What a cool job!!!!

6. What's your favourite age to entertain?
I generally like to work for adults but I love working with teenagers - they are so cool and determined to be unimpressed and when their jaws drop as you create something amazing there is no better feeling!

7. Do you do the same act but vary the presentation for all ages or do you have different acts for different ages?
I tend to vary the performances but retain the same basic structure for different ages but I do offer a service to mky corporate clients where I will tailor-make the performance to suit their particular needs.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:05 am 
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8. What's your favourite thing to make at the moment?
I tend to do a balloon-challenge style act where people can nominate what they want made so they tend to be in charge of the designs but I must confess I do have a cool, simple butterfly that I do enjoy making.

9. What's the most asked for model?
Tradition still seems to work - Flowers, Teddy Bears and Butterflies for the girls, Dinosaurs, motor-bikes and swords for the boys.

10. What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the "balloon production" mode?
I still tend to make individual designs for each person in the line but try to guide the requests to simplet two and three balloon designs.

11. Who is your market aimed at?
Tasmania is a very small market so you don't tend to limit yourself. You really have to be flexible enough to do whatever style show is needed. I prefer corporate events but still do birthday parties, fairs, festivals - whatever.

12. What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? corporate? etc.?
I sort of answered this in the previous question but I do have a regular market spot where I try out new designs. Luckily for me, I do do a lot of corporate events. Very early in my career, I established a relationship with the Federal Hotels Group in Tasmania and they recommend my services to most of their corporate clients.

13. What is your favourite/ideal gig to do?
I really enjoy the corporate cocktail party. It is great to see adults amazed by balloon art and the thing I really like is that the proliferation of balloons in the room(s) shows the client that you have worked your butt off.

14. What irritates you most at gigs?
I don't let too much get to me but I hate people who pre-judge you. They may have had a bad experience and tar you with the same brush before you even start. The good thing is that you can trun them around.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:41 am 
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15. How do you book yourself?
I still tend to rely primarily on word of mouth. I used a sort of reverse marketting - I made myself difficult to contact so people that took the time and trouble to find me really wanted me. This immmediately put me into a strong negotiating posture.

16. What's the biggest thing you've ever made?
I haven't done anything really huge but I was working on a book of circus-themed balloon designs and made a 36 Balloon Ferris Wheel.

17. What has been your proudest achievement in our wonderful world of twisted latex?
Again I feel I have been very fortunate in this business. I was proud to win a number of awards in the industry but feel my proudest moment was when I was invited to teach at the 2007 and 2009 Australian Balloon Conventions. My appearance at the 2007 Convention also resulted in my being asked to be one of two featured teachers at the first Australian balloon jams.

18. What advice would you give to someone starting out or wanting to increase their business?
I feel the best advice I can give is twist whenever you can, learn from everybody but always add your own style, personality and if you pardon the pun put your own "twist" on what you do? There are lots and lots of balloon artists out there what makes a client want to hire you is YOU!!!

19. What road in latex do you see yourself taking in the future?
Hopefully I will continue to build my own skills and also find opportunities to teach and share with others.

20. What's your personal goal when you set off to work - is it money or to entertain?
Hopefully it is obvious from my answers so far - I really want people to enjoy what I do. I want them to be entertained, stunned and delighted. The money is nice (it's always great to be paid to do what you love) but if that's your prime motivation get out of the business now!

21. What are your balloon goals for the future?
I want to continue to follow my own advice - to twist whenever I can, learn from everybody and and enjoy the art. I am hoping to get to some major international events in the next couple of years a.) to energise my creativity and b.) to meet the wonderful friends that I have made on the web over the past few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:11 am 
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22. If you could start all over again, would you change anything?
I have to admit I have been pretty happy with my journey but I probably should have started using a pump much earlier than I actually did. (I ended up with a fairly severe umbiliacal hernia from mouth inflating balloons which had to be surgically removed).

23. How would you like the future of balloon modelling to develop?
I think we need to continue to encourage people to share their work and ideas. Forums such as this continue to stimulate the development of art but we all have something to share. Post pictures, make YouTube clibs, write books, make DVDs - the more we share and exchange the greater our art will become. I get on my high horse about this but I feel this is essential for our growth and the other element that is essential for growth is honesty. I hope she doesn't mind me telling this, but my first interaction with the wonderful Thelma Levett was an e-mail she sent me after I posted a pic on BHQ - she offered constructive criticism on the design suggesting several ways to improve the figure. She started the e-mail by saying that she hoped I wasn't offended - rather than being offended, I was delighted that a twister of her skill and status would take the time to help me and our friendship was bonded in that single moment.

24. Who is the most famous person you have made a balloon figure for?
I made a basket of balloon flowers complete with ladybugs, butterflies and other details for the wonderful oscar-winning actress, Brenda Blethyn. She was touring Australia in a play and I made the basket as a welcome gift to our theatre in Launceston. She just finsihed filming "Clubland" in Australia where she played a stand-up comedienne - as part of her prepartion she had learnt how to make a ballon dog and some other simple balloon figures. Several months later, after she had returned to England, she sent me a wonderful e-mail - I have to admit to being quite overwhelmed by her graciousness and generosity.

25. How do you keep the enthusiasm going and what still excites you about our great world of latex?
I'm a big kid. I love coming to the forum, checking out BHQ and generally seeing what delights people have chosen to spoil us with.

26. What inspires or is your thought process in coming up with a new design?
After all this time, I am fortunate that I tend to think in balloon - if I see certin things I often think that would make a great balloon design - I watch an awful lot of cartoons and animated films - they are a wonderful source of inspiration - I just saw Tangled and my mind is whirling. I am also inspired by ideas posted on sites such as this - Tonya MacNeill really challenges my creativity - She has so many great ideas and I then set about seeing how I can utilise her ideas to fashion new designs.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:23 am 
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27. Who would you like to work with dead or alive?
This is a really difficult question - there are so many wonderful artists out there. Like so many in the industry I am a huge fan of the great Don Caldwell and would love to inter-act with Buster Balloon. As already stated I am keen to get to international jam - a Care & Share Day with Graham, Thelma and others. Twist and Shout with Tonya, Royal and Patty Sorell, Dave Brenion, Jack Mattson - there are so many.

28. What makes you laugh?
I love to laugh and can find the humour in most things. I really enjoy laughing at pomposity but I am grateful that really I enjoy life.

Hope you enjoy this ramblings of mine and I look forward to answering any questions that you may care to ask.

Cheers
Jeff "The Uncanny" Hayes


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:14 am 
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Hi Jeff, I really enjoyed reading the interview, your love of balloons really shines through, good luck in the future, and I hope to meet you at a convention someday
best wishes
Colin Myles


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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:25 am 
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Location: Budapest, Hungary
Oh, the beautiful island of Rhodes...

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 Post subject: Re: Uncanny Jeff
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:57 am 
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Jeff, we have something in common. Many years ago I used to help David Grist at a childrens party in the park at Battersea Park, we used to work the VIP tent and I remember us making a model for Brenda Blethyn. Not sure if it was a pint of lager or guinness as it was a few years back now.

Have you posted your butterfly on the forum? I'm into butterflys at the moment :)

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions for everyone and it's good to have you back :D

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For Services to the Balloon Community.
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