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Meet Clayton Mastaw of ChiTwist Balloon Art in Lakeview

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clayton Mastaw.

Clayton, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I actually started out as a face painter in 2009. My mother face paints in the Detroit area, and when the Final Four was there she was hired to provide face painting for the fans of the Final Four teams.

She asked if I could come give her a hand, and it seemed like something that would be fun so I said yes.

After about a year of face painting, I decided to get into balloon twisting just as something new to be able to add for clients.

I watched a lot of videos, purchased many instructional downloads, and attended every class that came through the area.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve always been fairly artistic, and so it’s all been kind of natural for me. Really, the hardest part was learning that balloons pop, whether you want them to or not, and to just not worry about it.

I would say the most difficult part really is trying to find a balance between what each client is expecting verses what they have a budget for.

I get a lot of calls from people who love my work, want to see my biggest and best designs, but are expecting 30 kids and only want one artist for one hour.

I always strive to leave the best impression possible, but learning to just say no sometimes was really the most difficult part to learn.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with ChiTwist Balloon Art – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We have a lot of great balloon artists and face painters in Chicago, but until very recently I was one of only a handful of artists who could do both, let alone do both at a very high level.

I literally have thousands of designs to offer and am able to cater my menu selection to just about any event in order to make sure that everyone gets something great.

This applies even to large events where there isn’t a lot of time. When I’m twisting balloons at something like a street fair where the line is 50 kids long I still hear comments from parents that they’ve never seen balloon animals like the ones I’m making.

With face painting it’s similar. I’d rather offer a smaller design that looks great than rushing a large design that just needs more time to look right.

In regards to what I’m most proud of, last month I was invited to instruct at the Face and Body Art Association convention in St. Louis. I taught two balloon classes and mentored one of the teams for the Body Painting competition. It was an incredible experience; one I’ll never forget.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m really looking to get more involved with decor and costume making.

I was hired by Knott’s Scary Farms this year to create an 8 foot tall clown costume for their ad campaign. After that I got hooked on them and have made 4 other large scale costumes since.

The other thing I’ve just gotten into is airbrush tattoos. Honestly, I was just looking to add something new at first, but then I began making my own custom stencils. Before I knew it I had about 250 designs to offer.

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