Today we chat with Balloon Artist Anthony Lena, a.k.a. “Anthony the Balloon Kid!” His charming balloon arrangements have inspired and captured the imagination of many. What’s Anthony’s secret? A lot of heart, and a little UGlu® – learn more below!
Do you have a website or any social media sites you’d like to share with our audience?
Tell us a little about yourself! How did you get started making balloon art?
Hey there! I live in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and I am the owner of Balloons of Pure Awesomeness.
What first sparked my interest in balloon art was when I received a balloon animal kit for Christmas from my mom and dad when I was 10 years old. Then, I had my first job with balloons when I was 13 years old, with my stage name: “Anthony the Balloon Kid.”
To this day many people know me as “The Balloon Kid,” and that’s ok because I’ll always be a kid at heart!
What is your favorite thing about being a Balloon Artist?
I absolutely love being a part of peoples’ most special days of their life! When you see someone’s face light up when they receive a balloon delivery, people take pictures with your balloon décor, or when you bring joy to someone’s day by making them a special balloon sculpture… that is what it’s all about.
I am passionate about spreading joy! When someone expresses happiness because of our balloons, that is what makes me happy!
How did you discover UGlu®?
I was at a balloon convention called “Twist & Shout” when a fellow Balloon Artist told me I had to try UGlu®, and that it was a game changer!
I ordered the boxed roll of UGlu® dashes and I couldn’t believe how great they were. They held the balloons together so well! Needless to say, it instantly became a staple in my balloon artist tool bag.
How does UGlu® enhance your work as a Balloon Artist?
UGlu® really helps me enhance my work as a Balloon Artist by allowing me to add details very quickly and precisely. I don’t have to worry about the detail work falling off with UGlu® because its adhesion is strong.
The UGlu® dashes are small enough to not be seen, and if I need to, I can cut the dashes in half easily for those really fine details. Whether it is latex to latex, latex to foil, or foil to foil – UGlu® has helped me in all of these situations.
We attended FLOAT 2022 this year, and were delighted to see you win Designer of the Year at the Awards Gala! What was that experience like for you?
Thank you very much! It is hard to put the amazing experience of winning Designer of the Year into words. It was truly an honor and a blessing to be able to compete along side so many incredible Balloon Artists. I really enjoyed the fellowship within the balloon community, and receiving affirmation from my fellow artists and friends meant so much to me.
I love competing because it gives me the chance to create something I want to create, and maybe something that a client would not normally order. Also, it helped me work on my time management skills, which will definitely help me in my day-to-day business at home.
After the competitions were done, I really enjoyed looking at all of the amazing and original competition pieces! I knew any one of us could have taken the title of Designer of The Year. When my name was announced, I couldn’t help but think of my Grandma Lena and Grandma Sherman who passed away in 2020 and 2021. Before I boarded the plane to Chicago, I told my family I’m dedicating my competitions to them. My entire family have always been my biggest support system, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be the artist and businessman I am today without them.
Tell us about the balloon sculpture that helped you win Designer of the Year at FLOAT 2022! What was your inspiration?
The sculpture that really put me over the top was my piece, “The Garden of Mystery” which won 1st place in the Organic Design competition as well. It was given high marks by the judges, and helped me win the title of Designer of the Year!
I’ve had that design in my head for a while, and I was just waiting for the right moment to make it. It turned out FLOAT the Convention 2022 in Chicago was the perfect opportunity! A child’s imagination is so amazing, and I wanted to make a piece that drew the viewer in and helped the viewer rekindle their childlike imagination.
In this piece, there is a little girl holding a giant key behind her back as she stands before a door with a giant keyhole hidden in a garden. The girl is able to hold the giant key thanks to two UGlu® dashes! No pun intended, but UGlu® was a KEY part to the success of my pieces. ☺️
This piece makes one wonder things like, “Where did that little girl get that giant key?” “How did this little girl find this place?” “What is behind that door?” I hope my piece takes anyone who views it to a place of wonder and imagination!
That’s awesome! Do you have any other favorite projects you’d like to share with us?
There are so many that are my favorite! Most recently, I really enjoyed my competition pieces from FLOAT. I made a Claw Machine for the Foil Design Competition, which won 2nd place! You really can’t twist foil balloons together like latex, so I used lots of UGlu® dashes to make sure everything was sitting perfectly.
Also, I used UGlu® dashes to adhere the facial features of my monster in my 3rd place winning piece, “Lost Dog,” in the Sculpture Competition. The monster lost his dog, but the dog is about to find his master. Soon, they will be reunited and happy once again!
I have also used UGlu® in many of my delivery pieces and in décor. One décor piece stands out in particular! I must say, I could not have pulled off making the “Emblem of Dentistry” for a graduation party if it were not for UGlu®! It is one of the pieces I am most proud of.
If someone has never used UGlu® for their balloon art before, what advice would you have for them?
I have very simple advice for anyone who has not used UGlu® in their life as a Balloon Artist: USE IT!! UGlu® allows you to work smarter, not harder.