Author Topic: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug  (Read 2107 times)

Graham Lee

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Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« on: July 28, 2008, 08:30:45 PM »
As you all know we had Patrick answering the questions on the 1st/6th July and Patrick had a few late jobs come in that week & was really busy so rather than quickly answer the rest of the questions we decided to put off till a later date.
Well the 4/10th Aug is that later date when we welcome back Patrick to finish off his questions. Here is the link to the other half of his interview;
http://www.balloonchat.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=68

So carrying on;

15, What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? Corporate? Etc

16, What is your favourite/ideal gig to do?

17, What irritates you most at a gig?

18, What would you say has been your proudest achievement in our wonderful world of twisted latex?

19, Are you a full time balloonist or do you have another job?

20, What advice would you give to someone starting out, or wanting to increase their business?

If anyone has any other questions for Patrick, please post away.
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Roger

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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 12:12:41 PM »
Hi Patrick
There has been a discussion on balloon chat regarding taking pictures of children wearing or holding balloons. I have noticed in your portfolio that you have a lot of pictures of children, holding or wearing your creations. Could you let us know what the general feeling is in the Netherlands is regarding the public photography of children and what you general experience of taking children’s photos has been?

Thanks
Roger
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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2008, 02:08:45 PM »
On an extra note; these three questions I also answered in the previous week, but I put them up here as well.

15, What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? Corporate? Etc
I love doing family events, having a select number of kids and having the time to come up with something unique for each child. I like the occasional corporate ones for being able to make larger creations in a specific theme. Markets and festivals are good to showcase your best works and/or improvise on the spot using the surrounding ideas and colours (t-shirt imprints etc.) your eyes meet with.

16, What is your favourite/ideal gig to do?
A performance for people who appreciate art, where I have time for big sculptures and be a part of the ambience of the party.

17, What irritates you most at a gig?
Requests from people, often while interrupting an entertaining moment, thinking you’re a take-away restaurant.
People who think you owe them a balloon because they have been standing there for 25 minutes already (while you’ve been there for 3 hours)
The lack of patience or worse: fighting parents
Over all, the primordial behaviour that seems to come out if people find out the balloons are ‘for free’.
Currently I’m using a format where I let the kids guess a number between 0 and 15. Who wins it is always random. I announce there is NO order, so no one can demand a place in line. This seems to work pretty good.

===
18, What would you say has been your proudest achievement in our wonderful world of twisted latex?
I'm very proud of my enthusiast first years where I discovered balloontwisting. I would design single-260 animals that would really look like the animal intended, not just another variation of the dog. This went pretty far.
Although I wouldn't make most of these designs as of today, I still feel they are the basis of my current style.

19, Are you a full time balloonist or do you have another job?
I do balloons ''full time'', even some designing in my sleep sometimes (just as Thelma does  ;)) but I was educated to be a Music Technologist where I would compose music to other media, such as cartoon, movie, clips, theatre, commercial etc.
The reason that I didn't became that music technologist is that I disliked the haisty nature of this media world. I liked composing music to go with kids television, but I never saw the reaction as I did just my part in the whole process.

Balloons enable me to be creative and see a direct response from the audience. This is the main reason I turned around hobby and work.

There is an interesting anecdote on a DVD by Jeff McBride where he explains the ''full time'' magician. He states that it's not that certain percent if income that makes you ''full time'', but merely the way you inject your entertaining skills into the world around you.
On the one hand you may have a ''professional'' balloontwister who just does his ''thing'' on stage/booked performance and lacks/refuses to do his thing while offstage/in his free time.
On the other hand you may have an enthousiast balloontwister (hobbyist or professional), that twists balloons on every occasion, not just in booked time.

20, What advice would you give to someone starting out, or wanting to increase their business?

You want to decide for yourself whether you want to go the thorough way or the quick way to becoming a balloontwister.
The quick way is taking in, like a sponge, all the info that is already out there in the form of instructional DVD’s and CD’s. Copying other artists and learning by osmosis.

The thorough way, the way I chose, was avoiding as much influence as possible and coming up with own techniques, colour combinations and designs. It’s like re-inventing the wheel and takes much longer to see result. In my opinion this forms a much more solid base for your own style.

As for increasing your business...

I have a dutch quote written in my agenda that translates to something like
‘Do your thing with obstinacy and passion, and luck automatically follows you.’
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 11:00:46 PM by Patrick »

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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 09:48:25 AM »
Quote from: "Roger"
There has been a discussion on balloon chat regarding taking pictures of children wearing or holding balloons. I have noticed in your portfolio that you have a lot of pictures of children, holding or wearing your creations. Could you let us know what the general feeling is in the Netherlands is regarding the public photography of children and what you general experience of taking children’s photos has been?
When I’m creating something on the spot, I can get very enthusiast on the outcome. In this enthusiasm I usually make a remark that I want to make a picture with the kid holding the balloon. I don’t literally ask, but I add to my remark that it might end up on my portfolio if that’s okay.
I tell that the photo has to be ‘picture-perfect’ if I decide to put it on the portfolio, so...
to get more mileage out of that photo opportunity I give the parents my business card and point them to the website so they can request the picture that I then send them by email.

I had only a few occasions where a parent found it okay to take a picture, but not to be put on the internet, just for my personal archive of ideas.
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Graham Lee

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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 11:47:44 AM »
Patrick, Here are the last of the questions;

21, What are your balloon goals for the future?

22, If you could start all over again, would you change anything?

23, How would you like the future of balloon modelling to develop?

24, Who's the most famous person you have made a balloon creation for?

25, How do you keep the enthusiasm going & what still excites you about our great world of latex

26, What inspires or is your thought process in coming up with a new design

27, Who would you like to work with dead or alive?

28, What makes you laugh?
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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 11:22:14 PM »
What is your personal goal when you set off to work? Is it money or to entertain etc?

While money certainly is like the fuel in a moon rocket, my goals are often of a multiple and artistic nature:
-       creating a new animal / design / technique / colour combination
-   have a great animating talk with the kids / creating a lasting memory
-   come home with some new cool photo’s to share

A gig where you’re in just for the money is often only half as fun as a gig where you forget about the money at all.

I envision a scenary where children walk around with their own personal colourful balloon object, causing the adults to say ‘oh, look at that, how cute!’
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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2008, 10:58:36 PM »
What are your balloon goals for the future?
The term ‘future’ is never ‘there’; it’s always the moment of ‘now’.
So, I’d like to keep my goals more short-termed and prefer to look to my current course. My general goal with balloon twisting or creating art in general (through music/painting/photography) is to put something unique, true, pure and dedicated into the world. Something that is so wildly unique that it can surprise me as much as others. To keep innovating, keep thinking out of the box.

If you could start all over again, would you change anything?
Nope, the way everything developed and put me on the right path was a naturally and perfect way.

How would you like the future of balloon modelling to develop?
If you imagine balloonart on a scale from entertainment to art, I'd like it to shift somewhat more towards art.
- Balloon art becoming Art. A gallery of balloon sculptures in a form that suits the temporary character.
- Balloons as an educational form for animal life or for raising awareness of endangered species.
- Balloon sculptures as photography subjects.

Who's the most famous person you have made a balloon creation for?
Let me think.. I did a balloon tulip once for a Dutch minister, called Wouter Bos.
I made cartoon characters for the kids of Dutch soccer player Marc Overmars.
And offcourse for mr. Colin Myles, for who I made a collection of cartoon characters too  ;)
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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2008, 11:33:27 AM »
How do you keep the enthusiasm going & what still excites you about our great world of latex?
I can keep the enthusiasm as long as it stays a ‘may’. If it becomes a ‘must’ a passion can grow stale rather quickly.
It's good to challenge yourself by putting a limitation of material or theme of the sculptures and see what you can come up with. A good example here on the forum is formed by the alphabet games. It seems that people come up with creations, they thought they’d never make.
   
What inspires ... or is your thought process in coming up with a new design?
Inspiration comes from many places; I simply 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.  Store decoration is another source, a certain shape or technique or a combination of colours. Every small idea can be useful.


About my thought process in coming up with a new design I want to add an in depth example of that.

First steps towards a new design are inspiration, a few clever idea's and the overal approach/buildup. Try to limit your material to a few balloons.
Those first ideas can come from everywhere. Looking at stuffed animals for instance. They already have a cartoony shape, which is more easy to translate into balloons.
Another way is to hunt on the internet for pictures of animals or famous figures you want to recreate. Then try to really break that model down to easy shapes.
So, making a drawing in advance is a good thing to start with. It makes you concious of the shapes you'll need to create and attach all together.

Take for example the seagull from Finding Nemo I made today. Here it is again:

[attachment=0:1lc42b3b]Seagull_small.jpg[/attachment:1lc42b3b]

I used a picture that I found through Google. Then I tried to describe the animal in terms of simple basic shapes: longish head, same thickness as the neck. Then a round body with triangular feet underneath.

My train of thought on that seagull was something like this:

   ''Hmm, ok.. head and neck have the perfect shape of the 260 already, so no twists in it. However how to attach that beak without damaging the already perfect untouched 260 shape? Perhaps I could make it work with a raisintwist. If I cut away the nozzle, but leave a small remainder on top it can act as small featherpoint on top of the head.

Then the body: I will use a 4 or 5-bubble rollthrough body, but I somehow have to make connection points for the legs. I can do that by making two of those bodybubbles more detailed: so split into three bubbles off which the centre bubble is a pinchtwist. I can make that body from the same white 260.

    How to do the wings? Hmm.. Ok, just wrap grey around it; 2 bubbles for each wing should do, and the remainder can make the tail. What shape is that tail? sort of square-ish.

    Now the feet. They look tiny (so 160) I see three toes, that make the foot kinda triangular. Could I use the same arrangement as my duck? yes, that would be the best option. I must be carefull not to make too long legs. They're unusually short in the photo.

    The eyebrows?  I could try to underinflate a 260, make 2 bubbles of it and wrap it around as a headband, creating the eyebrows. Nah, nice try.. but doesn't work. More simple... ehm?  ah!  white marker on white balloon: not too harsh as black, and still visible''


My experience is that I'm eagering to make a design if I can at least have 2 pretty good ideas to incorporate in it. Along the process of actually making it, I find new solutions and create side-steps again (also solutions and shapes for other animals).

So I build an animal with 2 ideas, then create another 3 along the way from which I can only use 1 of. In the end I have an animal using 3 ideas and gained 2 new ideas I can use in another animal.

Very important:  be critical on every step you make! Examine it from all sides to check if it has the desired shape. Pay attention to every bodypart. A bubblecluster can look good, but perhaps won't work for the desired shape you're aiming for. Then redo that step (you can always keep the former idea for another animal, so make notes of those side-steps). In the above example: try to really make feet that are realistic for the seagull, instead of standard birdfeet. Same goes for the beak.

A way to check afterwards if your design is good is to try making a drawing again of it. When your design looks like a kids drawing (because you had to draw that way too large arms for instance, or that very weird head-attachement due to a weird neck) your design needs your own improvement. ''Mistakes'' I often see in other designs is the always-presence of a neck, while in some cases there is no neck visible. So, really learn to look at the model. Don't fall into the ''rest is standard dog body'' syndrome.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Patrick

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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2008, 02:35:38 PM »
Who would you like to work with dead or alive?

I admire the works and unique visions of artists like Eyvind Earle (former Disney background painter), Mark Rothko (painter), Steve Roach (ambient composer), Andy Summers (former guitarist of The Police currently into jazz), Patrick O’Hearn (former bassist of Zappa, currently into electronic music), Oophoi (Italian ‘drone ambient’ master).

Balloon-wise I’d like to spend some quality time with Don or Fabrizio.

What makes you laugh?
TV programs such as Jiskefet (dutch sketches in the inspiration/vein of Monthy Python)
There is a type of humor only my two brothers understand – the VandeVen humor so to speak. It’s a vague kind of visual imaginative humor that comes from ‘what if’ situations.
Noone understands us however.

Willemijn (my girlfriend) can make me laugh.
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Graham Lee

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Re: Patrick van De Ven. Interview Continues 4/10th Aug
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2008, 09:03:43 PM »
Patrick,
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions so comprehensively.
It made for a very interesting read.
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