Meet Jan Hakon Erichsen, The Balloon Popping Artist Who's Become Target Of 'Looners' — People Who Find Sexual Pleasure In Balloons

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Jan Hakon Erichsen? New Details On The Balloon Popping Artist Who's Gone Viral

Have you ever seen a balloon floating majestically in the air and thought, "nope?" Those haughty rubber balls of helium floating around like they're better than everybody else, thinking they're untouchable. If there is one guy who gets it, it is Jan HakonErichsen. Erichsen is artist who specializes in popping balloons, using different incarnations of blades, pressure and fire. With over 300,000 followers, Erichsen is setting out to prove that art isn't just about human suffering, it is also about rubber suffering and helium suffering. So after his meteoric balloon-like rise to Instagram fame, everyone is wondering who is Jan Hakon Erichsen?

1. Following in his older brother's footsteps

Erichsen said he's wanted to be an artist  ever since his early teens. His brother was already on the path to becoming an artist so that's what inspired the love of art in him. He attended art school with the intent of becomimg a video artist but his path changed early into his time there. "...I didn’t make a single video my whole time there and instead focused on sculpture and installation work. That’s when I started working with everyday materials and started to develop an interest in destruction and danger. After the Academy I picked up a video camera again and went on to do what I originally wanted."

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2. Early Works

Before balloons, Erichsen was focused on more serious works. In 2010 he completed a project called Obvious Art Works, where he focused on more serious subjects such as love and 9/11. He created a vlog of "unfiltered" and "raw" concepts. In an interview about the project he said, “The project was about getting rid of filters in my thinking process. It was works I would not normally make because, in my thinking, they where somehow wrong to make. I would instead try to make all of them without any censorship.” He went on to describe it as a way to get all of the obvious ideas out of his head. 

3. Why Balloons

Erichsen says he is drawn to the juxtaposition of art being innately creation and the popping of balloons as destruction. "I think of destruction as the dark side of creativity and I’ve always been drawn to it. It’s like punk rock or horror movies in a sense. As long as I’ve been an artist I’ve had an interest in the more neglected sides of creativity, like people fixing their backpacks with duct tape because they can’t afford a new one or Graffiti artists hacking their spray cans to create a bigger mess just for the hell of it."

4. Other destruction

Balloons aren't his only product of destruction. In his Instagram videos he also destroys oranges, zucchini, flower pots, uncooked spaghetti and what seems to be almost his secondary muse, bananas. When asked if he could destroy anything in the world, and had any means to destroy it with, he answered, "It’s tempting to say something big or really expensive, but I think that one of the strengths of my project is that the things I destroy are so neglectable. So instead of destroying something spectacular, I would much rather go big and spectacular on the destroying itself. Making a more sophisticated thorough machine to destroy something you could just as easily step on."

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5. Large "Looner" Landing

"Looners" is a term that refers a sexual fetish that involves balloons. Some people who identify as a Looner, they can become aroused by the sound of popping balloons and the people who pop them, while other people can become emotional and even tearful when they even think about popping balloons. When asked about his large Looner following, Erichsen said, "When I started this, I didn’t know that was a thing at all,” he said. “There were a lot of these Looners, I think they call themselves, who contacted me to bring me into their group. They tried to get me to join their groups, but I just didn’t answer their DMs.”

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6. What's Next?

Erichsen doesn't have much on the horizon as far as new ideas. Right now he is comfortable making his destruction videos. "For now, I’ll just keep on making these videos and see where it takes me, but it’s sort of inevitable that I’ll start doing more gallery shows again and see how my Instagram work functions in a real-life setting."

Kaitlin Kaiser is a writer who writes about love, relationships, self-care, spirituality and astrology.