As a kid, I was OBSESSED with balloons. So obsessed that my parents (bless them) would take me to get balloons 3 days a week and the balloon shop owner became a family friend. So when I stumbled upon @luft.balloon in Chicago, I immediately gravitated to the shop owner Elaine and her story. Like me, Elaine also had a love for balloons and celebrations growing up. She shared with me that: “At the age of 8, I remember going through my mom’s entertaining books and being enamored by the beauty one can create to bring people together in celebration.”
Today, she runs her balloon shop with the idea of celebrating all the events in life no matter how big or small. Color rules her world and it was time to shake up the colors of the balloon world. “I wanted to rethink this medium of material like we are doing with cupcakes and donuts.” So, she came up with a new way to create any color she wanted. For instance, she could take a generic green color balloon, blow it up inside a generic blue color balloon and get a new beautiful color of Sea Green!
Now she creates everything from a single balloon for a small triumph to balloon-sculptures celebrating the big triumphs of life all around the city.
After the shoot she gifted me with the beautiful sculpture and I asked her “Why Balloons?” Her response, “They make people happy and the world needs a little more of the simple and a lot more of the happy.”
This portrait series is part of a larger series where I’m working with American Express to tell the stories of the people behind the Amex-accepting businesses I love. Over 30,000 more places in the Chicago area started accepting @americanexpress in the last year. I guess I have a few more portraits to take : )
#amexambassador / #amexwelcomed