An internationally recognized balloon artist, John Reid, has been practicing balloon twisting for almost 30 years now. Not only is he an innovative craftsman who is ready for any challenge, he is also a talented magician.
Reid continues to accomplish much in his field of art including holding a couple of Guinness World Records including making the world’s biggest balloon animal sculpture by one person, performing at schools, libraries, or conferences in 48 states and 17 countries, sharing his art to well-known figures including singer Amanda Palmer and the Obamas.
Though balloon twisting is the art that made him popular, Reid started off as a magician. When Reid was five years old, his grandmother bought him a magic set, starting his long-lasting love for magic. However, his passion was kept hidden until his college years due to his introverted nature. In the beginning of college somebody saw him doing magic tricks and asked him if he would like to perform for his nephew’s birthday party for $50. When Reid heard he would be getting paid he was all in.
After this, he started to do kids’ birthday parties and gained popularity due to word of mouth. After two years of doing parties for children someone asked if he could make balloon animals to which he replied yes to. That night Reid bought a book, pump, and balloons and learned how to make 137 animals to allow him to get by.
Reid’s creativity always nudged him asking him questions like “I wonder what else can I make” until one day he experienced this conversation.
Child: Can you do Bugs Bunny
Reid: I don’t know how to make it.
Child: Well can you try?
Reid: You know what, why not?
The child’s “What do you have to lose” attitude influenced Reid greatly. From then on Reid took every challenge that was given to him, further pushing him to create bigger and better balloon structures, thus leading him to create his business, Epic Balloons.
Though balloon making and magic were his passions they are not what Reid originally wanted to do in life. Growing up Reid wanted to be an architect. However, after the first time Reid saw people applaud and appreciate his work, he knew that his dreams of becoming an architect were over. A year after dropping out of college six credits shy of an architecture degree at NYIT, Reid went to college and got an associate’s degree of Fine Arts at Nassau Community College.
After college Reid learned his magic at a local magic shop in Hicksville. Eventually after spending a lot of time there during the span of five months, he was offered a job. On the clock, Reid would spend time at the front desk performing tricks for the customers. During his time at the store, he became close to one of his co-workers, Perry Parret, who was instrumental in his journey as he would help Reid script shows, market Reid’s business, and ultimately show him how to turn his magic tricks into a career.
Reid later bought his own magic shop in 2003, which he kept for three years and then ultimately closed it down. Then a few years goes by, he opened his second magic shop, Tricky Business, in 2010 and then moved to a larger shop in 2012. Throughout his time managing shops and training employees, he realized how much he preferred to be an artist over a manager. Slowly he stopped replacing his employees who moved on from the company, closed his shop and leaned into the education aspect of his business.
Tricky Business now does events like after magic clubs across schools on Long Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan and school assembly shows. Now, Reid also owns Epic Balloons where he does events with balloons including twisting, large installations and decor, workshops, and fashion designing.
“My grandmother is the North Star to my moral compass,” says John Reid.
Throughout Reid’s entire journey his grandmother has been the voice in the back of his head pushing him to do better and side supporting him. When Reid told his family that he wanted to be a magician she was the only member who thought it was a good idea and told him to make sure he tried his best.
“I’m living my best life. I have the greatest job in the world. This summer has been so much fun as I have gotten the chance to make tens of thousands of people smile.”
John Reid continues to share his skills with the world and continuing to grow with every challenge that is thrown at him, including places such as Mundays in Huntington every Tuesday.