See 14-foot 'BFG' balloon sculpture in York
Balloon artist Dustin Queary used more than 700 balloons to create a "life-size" Big Friendly Giant for the "BFG" movie premiere.
Dustin Queary heard the words “you can’t” a lot as a teen.
Growing up, he didn’t have the same interests and aspirations as most students his age.
While other kids talked about becoming doctors, lawyers and teachers, Queary said he wanted to be a balloon artist.
“Especially in my teen years, at the time when you’re supposed to start getting serious and think about your career choices, (people) said, ‘You really think you can do that as a career? How are you going to support yourself and a family?’” Queary said.
But after working at his family's Gettysburg-based entertainment company Adventure in Fun, he quickly realized there's more to balloon art than making balloon swords and balloon animals at birthday parties. He had the potential to make something much bigger and maybe even turn his hobby into a full-time career.
So, he did.
Today, the 25-year-old of Columbia has been a full-time balloon artist for eight years. He’s taught at conventions, sculpted large-scale commissioned pieces all over the world, and he recently won the most prestigious award you can win as a balloon artist – the Top Twister at the Twist & Shout Balloon Convention in Las Vegas.
And now, he’s using his success to tell the world to always follow your dreams.
That’s what inspired him to create his latest sculpture of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant for the Friday release of the Disney film “The BFG.”
“The story is about never giving up on your dreams and that nothing is too hard to achieve if you really set your mind to it and work hard at it,” Queary said. “For me, it’s a story that reflects my own growth as an artist.”
Starting Friday, the sculpture will be on display at Regal Cinemas Stadium 13 in West Manchester Township for about a week.
Measuring 14 feet tall and 16 feet long, you won’t be able to miss this life-size masterpiece.
While not the largest sculpture he’s ever done, it is the most detailed, Queary said. With more than 20 hours of labor and just under 1,000 balloons, Queary mastered intricate techniques like putting smaller balloons inside larger ones and distorting them to achieve lifelike human features.
“I like to challenge myself and do things that balloons aren’t really designed to do,” he said.
He also likes to make his sculptures interactive. He encourages kids to stand in the palm of the giant’s hand for photo opportunities just like the character Sophie does in the movie.
This will be the first time Queary’s work will be shown in York, but said he hopes to create more balloon sculptures for the area soon.
“I just want to give back to the community and share the message to young children and teens experiencing the same kind of doubt about whether they can sustain a dream and make it into something that works for them,” Queary said.
For “The BFG” movie times, visit www.fandango.com.