About Me - Paul Teal, CBA

I have been a balloon artist and children's entertainer over a decade; but if you ask my son and daughter, they would tell you I have been a children's entertainer since they were born!

People often ask me how I learned to make my balloon sculptures:

In June of 2000, I was working two jobs to make ends meet. My second job was making minimum wage and was not helping out much. One evening, my family and I were eating at CiCi's Pizza in Columbia, South Carolina. CiCi’s was inexpensive and the only place we could afford to eat. A balloon artist named Marvin Norman was working there that evening. My wife suggested I could try making balloon animals for tips as an alternative to my second job. I doubted that I would be able to remember how to make all the animals, but I decided to talk to Marvin about it.

Balloon artist Guido Verhoef and myself. Guido's DVD's have taught me more important information about balloon art than any other source.

Marvin showed me how to make my first balloon dog that night. After this first experience, I borrowed a book from the local library to learn how to make other animals.

Soon after, I talked to a different CiCi’s Pizza location that had no balloon artist. I convinced the manager to let me start working for tips there. When I began, I only knew how to make four balloon sculptures: a dog, a flower, a sword, and a heart (I cheated on this one - I used a heart shaped balloon)! Every night, I looked in books to figure out how to how to make the things the kids had asked for that day. I started buying every book I could find on the subject.

In January of 2001, I began entertaining three nights a week in two Columbia area Ryan's Family Steak houses. I must have made a positive impression, because attendance on those nights grew rapidly and it was not long before people began asking if I could entertain at their children's birthday parties. My first few parties, I had no idea what to do so I made up for it by making a lot of balloons! Nowadays, I have a whole routine I do at parties, but I still 'crank out' a lot more balloons at a party than my competition. In October of 2003, I formed a limited liability company.

 Balloon artist  Brian Asman  and myself. Brian designed a giant balloon version of the "balloonhq.com" logo; and it was a blast being a part of the crew that built it! Brian was a star of the TLC program "The Unpoppables".

Balloon artist Brian Asman and myself. Brian designed a giant balloon version of the "balloonhq.com" logo; and it was a blast being a part of the crew that built it! Brian was a star of the TLC program "The Unpoppables".

The restaurants I worked at started getting noticeably busier on the nights I was there. I learned a lot about how to get people coming back every week. Soon, restaurants were paying me for appearances, so I no longer had to worry about collecting tips.

In September of 2009, I began decorating with balloons for special events.

In January of 2010, I relocated my business to Rowell, GA. I was sad to go. As balloon decorating became a more and more important part of my business, the Atlanta area offered many more venues to offer this service. I would like to thank all the customers, friends, and laughing kids that made me such a success in South Carolina! I am very grateful to you all. Special thanks to the crews at CiCi's Pizza and Chick-fil-A in northeast Columbia. Your kind messages and surprise farewell parties made what would have been a sad day very special! 

In August of 2010, Party 'til you POP! LLC was given recognition by the Roswell/North Fulton Community Coalition for my recent appearance at their Back to School Jamboree.

 Balloon artists Sean & Holland Muscio of Balloonacy, hanging out with me at the Float Convention.

Balloon artists Sean & Holland Muscio of Balloonacy, hanging out with me at the Float Convention.

In January of 2010, I relocated my business to Rowell, GA. I was sad to go. As balloon decorating became a more and more important part of my business, the Atlanta area offered many more venues to offer this service. I would like to thank all the customers, friends, and laughing kids that made me such a success in South Carolina! I am very grateful to you all. Special thanks to the crews at CiCi's Pizza and Chick-fil-A in northeast Columbia. Your kind messages and surprise farewell parties made what would have been a sad day very special! 

In August of 2010, Party 'til you POP! LLC was given recognition by the Roswell/North Fulton Community Coalition for my recent appearance at their Back to School Jamboree.

  B alloon artist  Glenna Kipp  and myself. We had just been rained on before the event!

Balloon artist Glenna Kipp and myself. We had just been rained on before the event!

In July of 2011, I earned recognition as a Certified Balloon Artist (CBA) at the West Coast Events and Balloon Arts Convention in Costa Mesa, California. This prestigious accomplishment required months of preparation. Like all other CBAs, I completed and passed an intensive education program, submitted an extensive portfolio, and took an intensive four-hour practical exam requiring both balloon art and industry knowledge. CBAs are proven experts and dedicated professionals who use quality products and industry best practices.

I have seen a lot of names for what I do over the years. Some names focus on the artistic side of what we do:

  • Balloon Artist (This one is kind of obvious. I use this one a lot.)
  • Balloon Sculptor
  • Airgamist / Airgami (Like origami.)
  • Air-tist (This one is a little weak.)

Other names seem to reflect the technical aspect of making forms and structures out of balloons:

  • Ballonologist
  • Balloongineer
  • Ballooner (When I googled "Ballooner", this was used more for people who fly in hot air balloons.)

This one is common, but I always disliked it:

  • Balloon Guy (What is the feminine version of this? Balloon Gal? It has the same problems as the word "policeman".)

I love these last two, because they describe two main types of balloon artists:

Balloon artist Bidou Charlot and myself celebrating at Ballooniversity 2012.

  • Balloon Twister (this one is specifically for people who use the long skinny balloons for entertainment, since the balloons are twisted to make all the little bubbles.)
  • Balloon Stacker (this one is specifically for people who make balloon decorations, since the balloons are stacked on top of each other in a balloon arch.)

Not a lot of balloon artists are both "twisters" and "stackers". Unlike me, most choose one or the other. So I am always picked last in the annual twister versus stacker dodge ball tournament.