Artist Statement

An innocent search for magic is at the heart of this film. As one enters adulthood, the importance of imagination fades, and we are pressured to dispel lofty daydreams in favor of practical choices, but at what cost? Appropriate for all ages, but unexpectedly speaking to adults, Hot Air Balloon Animals seeks to challenge the viewer to relate to a young monster, and ask themselves if they are stuck in their own tedious routine?

Using recycled materials, and novel techniques, we transform cardboard and old clothing into our friendly monster, Merf’s, world. Built from old flip-flops and t-shirts, Merf is made out of the very things he embodies. To achieve his monster-like movement, we are proud to have created our own technique of puppetry using a combination of carefully placed rods and magnets. As the first piece in what will become a series of narrative shorts, we have only just begun the process of exploring this refreshingly analogue new approach to puppetry.

This film gently touches on themes of urban loneliness, the tedium of daily life, and passive screen consumption. It brings in familiar cultural tropes, but ultimately offers the viewer a surprise. The dull room contrasted with the unexpected enchantment of flying unicorns and cloud dinosaurs creates an exultant feeling that is oddly moving. It instills a sense of hope. We leave the viewer with a simple query…When was the last time you allowed a daydream to become a leap of faith?

Photo by  Dylan Johnson