Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Hornet” (image courtesy the artist)

Most of us don’t take balloon animals very seriously. They’re disposable childhood delights, perhaps, or squeaky, irritating targets of adult rage. If you’ve ever cleaned up after a younger sibling’s birthday party, you might even think, Ahh yes, balloon animals, we meet again, as you sharpen a kitchen knife in the corner.

But the balloon sculptures by Masayoshi Matsumoto prove that none of us really understands them, at least not as well as Matsumoto seems to. The artist can blow, bend, and twist these balloon to his will — whether they’re octopi, hermit crabs, dobsonfly larva, red frog crabs, common chickens, flamingos, or any other animal. Matsumoto can seemingly shape them all, doing so by hand “using only balloons,” according to his Instagram.

The results are impressively detailed and showcase crustacean and insect exoskeletons, avian beaks, and primate limbs with considerable skill. While you probably won’t be able to book Matsumoto for any birthday parties anytime soon, you can order prints of his photographed work through Society6. Scroll through the images below and on Matsumoto’s Instagram and Twitter to admire more fruits of his labor.

h/t: This Is Colossal

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Poodle,” (image courtesy the artist)

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Hermit Crab,” (image courtesy the artist)

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Octopus,” (image courtesy the artist)

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Nautilus,” (image courtesy the artist)

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Chicken,” (image courtesy the artist)

Masayoshi Matsumoto, “Cuckoo Wasp,” (image courtesy the artist)

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Eric Vilas-Boas

Eric Vilas-Boas is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic. He has previously worked at Thrillist, Esquire, SPIN,, and his writing has appeared at Vulture, Slashfilm, Lit Hub, Paste,...

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