Afloat Forever: Ceramic Balloons and Beach Balls

Korean born sculptor Nina Jun studied at California State University, Long Beach, California and graduated with an MFA in Sculpture in 2002. With a background in figurative sculptures, bronze casting, ceramic and video art, it was the accidental release of a mylar balloon from her own hand that prompted what now makes up the majority of her work.

Ceramic Balloons and Beach Balls

Wondering if there were a balloon that could stay afloat eternally, she was inspired to create a ceramic version.

Reinterpreting the properties of levity and gravity, her balloon series, ‘Fly High,’ are made of heavy ceramic but appeal almost weightless. The various shapes feature patterns of colorful polka dots, flowers, geometric shapes and some even have sculpted butterfly appliqués. Others replicate characters from pop culture and children’s books such as The Simpsons, Snoopy, Hello Kitty and Babar The Elephant.

Ceramic Decorative Balloons:
nina-jun-galaxysm-orstr

Ceramic Pop Culture Balloons:


Ceramic Balloons with Butterflies:


She progressed to word sculptures, using the letter-shaped mylar balloons as inspiration and most recently began adding ceramic versions of the classic inflatable Beach Ball to her repertoire.

Ceramic Letter-Shaped Balloons:

Ceramic Beach Balls:

Every piece of Jun’s is one of a kind. Because she paints each of them individually with the clay material called ‘underglaze’, there are no editions.

For pricing and availability of her fabulous ceramic Balloons or Beach Balls, contact the Skidmore Contemporary Art Gallery.

Nina Jun

images courtesy of Skidmore Contemporary Art and Nina Jun

If you like this work, you’ll love the work of Bret Kern, another artist who makes ‘inflatables’ out of ceramic – only his are dinosaurs, astronauts and more!


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