Balloon animals have some pretty firm associations — birthdays, fairs, zoos, Alison Brie on the Tonight Show, and that book and pump that you bought in sixth grade so that you could make your own balloon animals (unless that was just me).
The process is easy enough; you blow up a balloon and get to twisting. But Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto has taken the basics and created true art. His detailed creations put the memories of your youth to shame and surely clowns everywhere weep with a general sense of failure (maybe this is where all those velvet paintings of crying clowns come from).
When it comes to balloon creations, the poodle, the hat, and the sword are the holy trinity. Perhaps, in your balloon religion, the flower takes the place of the poodle, but no one denies the ubiquity of the hat and sword. Matsumoto, on the other hand, is busting out detailed renderings of a giant isopod, a phoenix, and a warthog. And, he is doing it all without the use of tape or markers, no lazily whipping out a Sharpie and scribbling in an eye here and there or connecting balloons with adhesive. Further, he is entirely self-taught. Sixth-grade you never achieved this level of skill.
You will literally (like literally and not figuratively) be amazed by these images because they destroy every expectation that the balloon animals of your past established. You can check out more on his Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.