When a Balloon Maker Becomes an Environmental Artist

Doron Gazit travels the world raising awareness of climate change and other environmental destruction—with big, red “balloons.”

December 02, 2016

The Red Line in the Dead Sea

Courtesy Doron Gazit

Armed with 500 feet of inflatable scarlet tubing and a camera, Doron Gazit is drawing attention to environmental disasters around the world. In ecosystems where human activity has crossed the line between the sustainable use of resources and outright exploitation, the Los Angeles–based artist transforms those metaphorical turning points into literal red lines.

Gazit with the Red Line at a burned forest near Los Angeles

Courtesy Doron Gazit

Inflatables have been Gazit’s medium of choice for years. While a young art student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, he made a living by working as a balloon twister. He began to view the long, skinny balloons as three-dimensional lines he could draw with on a larger scale. Gazit would go on to patent the design for Fly Guys—those undulating tube figures that dance outside car dealerships—after working with a team that introduced them at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Nowadays, Gazit says, “Nature is my canvas.” His inflatable-based works include Sculpting the Wind, in which inflatable sleeves reveal the movement of the wind; “Hi-Lights,” a series of playful, illuminated decorative pieces; and, of course, the Red Line Project. Gazit has placed his supersize red lines at the dwindling Dead Sea, melting icebergs in Alaska, California’s drought-ravaged San Joaquin Valley, the shrinking Salton Sea, and other imperiled places. When Gazit leaves, the tubing goes with him, leaving no trace on the landscape.

Some of his upcoming canvases include the rainforests of Borneo, where slash-and-burn deforestation is clearing land for palm oil plantations, and the Aral Sea, a victim of river diversion and drought. “This is only the beginning for the Red Line Project,” Gazit says. Unfortunately, there are too many sites from which to choose.

The Red Line at Alaska's Knik Glacier

Courtesy Doron Gazit

The Red Line at California's Salton Sea

Courtesy Doron Gazit

The Red Line at California's Salton Sea

Courtesy Doron Gazit

The Red Line at Utah's Great Salt Lake

Courtesy Doron Gazit


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