Attracted to the unexpected, Seoul-based artist Seungjin Yang takes an imperfect object and turns it into a functional seating arrangement. Exploring different materials in order to develop his own personal style, he began experimenting with balloons. His experimental form of balloon sculpting leads to what he refers to as ‘blowing chairs:’ balloon sculptures resembling furniture-like objects.
Working to convey a visual pleasure through a playful form, the artist assembles the components of his chairs, using the empty space to create a sustainable structure. To create these unique sculptures, Yang begins with blowing balloons into the desired form where he then manipulates them to resemble surreal furniture. Using epoxy resin poured over the pieces, the artist uses multiple layers in order to finalise an unyielding composition.

Yang transforms the undefined form through his own interpretations. Reflecting on his youth, the artist transfers his childhood memories into his design process through his love for creating and building. Through his blowing chairs, Yang shares the pleasure of using the incomplete, easily manipulated medium to capture the unexpectedness in an ordinary material.
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You received a Bachelor of Arts in Metal Art and Design from Hongik University in 2013. When did you first discover a desire to create? How has your artistic style changed from your time at school to now?
When I was in school, I used to help my seniors with their work. As I watched them graduate and work as an artist, I was naturally influenced.
Your work is comprised of ‘blowing chairs’ made from party balloons, replicating balloon furniture-like objects. How did you first discover this form of creating? How did you develop your own personal style?
After graduating from university, I liked to do some tests while studying my art activities. I explored various materials and tried to discover an interesting process. Meanwhile, I suddenly thought of applying epoxy resin to the balloon, and I put it into an experiment. The results were very satisfactory, and I could continue to develop and make furniture.
You’ve said you want to transfer your childhood memories into the design process. How do these sculptures reflect your childhood?
When I was a kid, I loved making and building things, and I thought my workflow was similar to those actions, just like building toys to complete. I thought that such games as a child were reflected in my current work.
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What is about using balloons as an art form and manipulating them as a medium that fascinates you? What is it about them that inspires you to create?
The balloon material brings me many advantages in making a work. First, the balloon provides an empty space. Therefore, if I only apply epoxy on the outside, I have a sturdy structure. It's like a block of Lego. Assembling those pieces creates a nice chair. The shape of the balloon, which is very natural and round, helps me to complete my work nicely.
You identify unexpectedness in an ordinary material turning into another with the very opposite qualities. Why is this important for you? What is it about transforming fragile balloons into solid sculptures that attracts you?
I think the unexpected is interesting to people. Balloons are imperfect objects, but for me, they are very good material for making chairs.
You produce balanced structures and rigid textures out of balloons, a rather unstable medium to work with. When you first began creating, did you have a method in place or was it primarily trial and error based?
At first, I didn't even think about making furniture out of balloons. I started by making lights out of balloons, this is because the lighting does not require very strong intensity. I thought I could make something more sturdy as I keep making the lights. So I made a stool and it was a bit unstable at first. By continuing to create the work, I was able to make the work as strong as it is now.
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You’ve said your inspirations come from people that you’ve worked with rather than other environmental or cultural issues. How do you draw on people to form your creations? How does communicating play a role in your work?
I don't know exactly how I've been affected. Of course, I think my environment and culture have influenced me a lot. However, I think it's great to be influenced by the people I work with and talk to. It is difficult to explain any specific feelings, but I think many thoughts emerge when we talk about each other's opinions and interests.
The Blowing Series started from an intention to transform the undefined form of balloons into a type of sculpture through your own interpretations. What are some of these interpretations? How have they changed since you first began creating with balloons?
One of the characteristics of a balloon is that it is incomplete. It is easy to burst, its shape is easily deformed, and it does not persist in its shape. In that sense, I think I've worked on making such imperfect objects a sustainable form.
Your work has a very playful feel to it with the use of balloons and vibrant colouring. Is there one project in particular that you’ve had the most fun in creating?
I installed a work on the wall of a building called D Museum in Korea. I think there was a lot of progress in my work in that work. I felt the fun of using various colours through that work, and I think that it is a work that shows such a combination of colours well.
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Your balloon sculptures replicate inanimate furniture objects like chairs, benches and stools, even some hanging lighting. What is it about these objects that you enjoy imitating? Do you have any other furniture pieces in mind for later on?
I do not make sculptures through my work activities. I like to make things with certain functions, so I want to make anything with certain functions. However, because there are many restrictions in the way I make, I am making things that are feasible. I haven't thought about creating something new concretely yet.
Do you collect your own creations? Is your house full of colourful balloon chairs and stools?
I do not collect my work. I don't have my work in my house. I live in an ordinary house similar to anyone else. Because I want to show my work to others than I have.
What experience are you hoping to give your audience when they look at your work? What message are you trying to send?
I want to convey the feeling that children feel when they see a balloon through furniture. I value the feeling as it is shown. I want to convey visual pleasure through my work.
Is there anything you’re currently working on? What are some experiential forms you’re looking to play with next?
I'm still thinking about what to do next. However, I want to do more of what I am doing now. I want to inform my later work through my work.
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