Giant head-shaped balloon used for art project

In early December, residents of Utsunomiya, in the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan, were baffled when a giant disembodied head appeared in the sky on the outskirts of the city.

The giant was actually a hot air balloon, which was part of an art project organised by the Utsunomiya Museum of Art.

A representative from the museum commented:

“We wanted to produce something that even people who don’t make the effort to visit art museums can still see. This way, they have no option but to be exposed to art. The sky scenery also provides an excellent backdrop for the piece.”

A dream that the one of the artists involved had while attending junior high school was the inspiration for the giant floating head. Haruka Kojin, after the dream, was inspired years later to create the art installation, called The Day an Ojisan’s Face Floated in the Sky.

In Japan, an ‘Ojisan’ is a local elder. The face that featured on the balloon was chosen from a pool of 218 volunteers, who came forward when the artists set up a booth on a busy North Tokyo street.

The hot air balloon took several months to build and paint. A group of artists applied the face to the envelope by hand using the Ben-Day dot technique, which is more commonly used for pop art. Many of the paintings by Roy Lichtenstein featured Ben-Day dots, including his iconic piece Whaam!

To give more people the chance to see the floating head, the balloon was scheduled to fly again on the 20th December, 2014.

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