America's Challenge Updates
Inside the Basket - Kimberleigh Gavin and Paul Gavin, Balloon Fiesta Shirt Artists
April 28, 2020
Kimberleigh and Paul Gavin are the two artists who have created the design for the 2020 Balloon Fiesta retro tee-shirts. Their design features balloons, both the real and imaginary, that illustrate this year’s theme “Time Flies.”
In this month’s Inside the Basket, learn more about how the design for this shirt came to life and how the duo became involved in Balloon Fiesta.
1. Give a brief overview of Gavin Arts and how your organization became involved with Balloon Fiesta.
Both: Kimberleigh and Paul Gavin are “Gavin Arts”. We have co-created event art t-shirts since the 1993 USMC El Toro Air Show in California. Gavin Arts became involved in Balloon Fiesta in 2017 when Balloon Fiesta Merchandise Managers Lisa Mulder and Jayne Thurman visited the Oshkosh event to learn about their event merchandise. There they met our team, admired the designs we created for EAA and asked us to create a tumbler and t-shirt design for the 2017 Balloon Fiesta. We have been involved ever since.
2. What was your favorite part about creating this shirt?
Kimberleigh: The best part of doing this design was to imagine and then draw unique shape balloons to illustrate the “Time Flies” theme and mix them in with actual existing ones and having them all look “real”. It made me realize how fun it must be for balloon designers to see them fly after starting from sketches like these. Shape balloons are just huge and so much larger than life. They are truly impressive; amazing and awe inspiring while at the same time so beautiful and humorous so much so that you laugh out loud as they fly over. Seeing the final design with my own shape balloons in the sky with all the real ones gave me that happy feeling. Perhaps a designer will be inspired to make one of them real!
3. What makes this shirt unique?
Kimberleigh: What makes this design unique from the others are the many shape balloons I created from my imagination to illustrate the “Time Flies” theme and trying to make them look real based on what we’ve learned about balloons we’ve seen.
4. What is the most difficult part of creating art for a piece of clothing?
Both: Besides the basic technical difficulties of drawing all the elements, the most difficult part of creating art for a piece of clothing is to make the idea come alive; to have it reach out and grab the viewer while telling the event’s story: the theme, some of its history, the participants and the place where it is – in 14 colors or less. This takes many weeks to study the event, find images and then draw and assemble all of them using the best composition and color balances. The design should be both strong and subtle at the same time. It must be seen AND felt; it should tell you all the above and be attractive and magical at the same time to capture the imagination on a visual and emotional level. The most difficult part is to know what is needed to get it to that point; how much is enough and when that balance exists; to know when it is “just right!”
5. Where can guests purchase this shirt?
Both: These shirts will be available on the Balloon Fiesta website http://balloonfiestastuff.com/, the Balloon Fiesta Gift Shop and at all of the Balloon Fiesta official merchandise locations during the event.