This Japanese Sculptor is Making Art Out Of Balloon Animals

Jumping spider |Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto
Jumping spider |Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto
Photo of Lucy Dayman
29 August 2017

Chances are his is a name you’ve never heard, but Masayoshi Matsumoto is one of Japan’s most fascinating creatives. Under the name isopresso, Matsumoto creates incredibly detailed and sophisticated balloon sculptures that take your breath away—watch out Jeff Koons.

mantis nymph | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

His works aren’t your run of the mill balloon-made party hats and pretend swords, but large works of immaculate detail. Think bulging blowflies, beetle larvas, almost realistic sitting baboons, curled up nautilus (sea molluscs) and glossy six-eyed jumping spiders.

snow monkey | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

Since uploading his work to Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, the master balloon twister has gained tens of thousands of followers and international recognition. Just looking at his work, it’s hard to believe they’re actually 100% made from balloons, but he doesn’t use adhesive, maker pen, seals, or glue at all.

goldfish | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

Chatting to Matsumoto about his work, he told us he first became interested in balloon tying around seven years ago when he was a college student. He said that “belonging to the juggling circle was the biggest catalyst for me.” Inspired by wildlife imagery, most of his works are hyper realistic versions of what you would see in a national geographic magazine.

Kakapo | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

Hailing from Chiba, a prefecture covering Tokyo’s eastern outskirts, the artist dedicates a painstaking amount of time twisting and trying the balloons to create his short-lived masterpieces. He said his easiest creations “can be done in about 20 to 30 minutes.” Animals like frogs and rabbits fall under that “easy” category. And the most difficult? Believe it or not, it was the humble iguana.

capybara | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

As well as living creatures, the young talent has also tried his hand at creating anatomically precise skeletons under the tumblr name “Latex bones.” Here you can witness the skeletons of reptiles and dinosaurs in their rubber incarnations.

chameleon | Courtesy of Masayoshi Matsumoto

Friends and relatives shouldn’t expect any as gifts, because as Matsumoto said, he rarely gives them to people. So what happens to the works once they’re completed? He takes a photo of the creation and then he told us “the work breaks after taking a picture.” Kind of hearbreaking, but the work’s fleeting existence makes the pieces feel all that more special. Follow Masayoshi Matsumoto on Tumblr or Instagram for your regular dose of amazing balloon creations.

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