August 2015: Travis Kruis, Balloonist 

August's Featured Artist is Travis Kruis, a balloon twister from Brantford. Kruis' creations are made from balloons, with the occasional addition of Sharpie marker; he never uses glue, and strives for his works to be made entirely of twisted Qualatex balloons of all lengths, widths and colours. Any any time, he has a stock of over 1,000 balloons ready to take to special events.

Although balloon twisting is an art that is most often attributed to clowns, and even though he performs in his own type of costume (dark glasses with no lenses, dress shirt, suspenders, bow tie and hat), Kruis is not a clown - he is a balloonist, or an artist-entertainer who "turns balloons into wonderful creations". His creations range from animals like sloths, turtles and dolphins; to food like apples, hotdog and corn; to cartoon characters from Disney's Frozen and How to Train Your Dragon.

As a child, Kruis was always the class clown, and has always enjoyed attention. When he was around 8 years old, Brantford's Doug the Great taught him how to juggle, which was the first step toward a career in entertainment. He twisted his first balloon when he was 12 years old, and even traded his creations for Halloween candy when trick-or-treating at age 16. He credits his mother and sister for leading him in the right direction - toward a career in entertainment - and has been twisting balloons professionally for about 3 years. His favourite clients are children, and he draws energy and inspiration from them when they are handed a balloon and their eyes light up.

Since starting, his creations have become more intricate; instead of making simple balloon dogs, Kruis prefers to draw on his developing ambition and confidence to create more intricate works that draw crowds and shock audiences. One of the creations he is most proud of is a Christmas tree with presents and popcorn garland, made entirely of balloons. The piece took nearly 8 hours to create and proved that you can make nearly anything with balloons.

Christmas tree made entirely out of twisted balloons, with presents and popcorn garland.Kruis is also an active community volunteer, sharing his talents with children and families at festivals and special events, such as Ethan's Lemonade Stand Charity Fundraiser, Ovarian Cancer walk, and Brantford PowerFest. Travis Kruis can be hired for special events, including festivals and birthday parties.

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