Balloon Art and the Mysterious Nature of Joy | Addi Somekh | TEDxPaloAlto



Addi Somekh is recognized as one of the most innovative, prolific and well-traveled balloon artists in the world. A self-taught balloon twister, his style incorporates improvisation, abstract design and comic delivery, culminating in custom-made headdresses that have an uncanny ability to reflect the wearer’s personality.

Addi’s balloon hats have taken him around the world, as he traveled to 34 countries with photographer Charlie Eckert, making hats for people for free and photographing them, in a kind of rolling investigation into the universal nature of laughter. Their travels resulted in the book The Inflatable Crown (2001, Chronicle Books).

In 2011, Addi starred in the TLC reality show, “The Unpoppables”, which followed his LA-based company, New Balloon Art, as they built impossibly large, interactive balloon installations
at high-end events.

Outside of the balloon world, Addi teaches a philosophy course at UC Santa Cruz entitled, “Meaning, Paradox and Love”, which has grown from 13 to 130 students in only four semesters.

Addi’s favorite way to procrastinate and avoid reality is to play the balloon bass—a 3-and-a-half octave, 100% latex, super-funky inflatable bass. Addi Somekh is recognized as one of the most innovative, prolific and well-traveled balloon artists in the world. A self-taught balloon twister, his style incorporates improvisation, abstract design and comic delivery, culminating in custom-made headdresses that have an uncanny ability to reflect the wearer’s personality. Addi’s balloon hats have taken him around the world, as he traveled to 34 countries with photographer Charlie Eckert, making hats for people for free and photographing them, in a kind of rolling investigation into the universal nature of laughter. Their travels resulted in the book The Inflatable Crown (2001, Chronicle Books). In 2011, Addi starred in the TLC reality show, “The Unpoppables”, which followed his LA-based company, New Balloon Art, as they built impossibly large, interactive balloon installations at high-end events. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at