A Toronto balloon artist with a background in nuclear physics is back home to demonstrate his twisted talents — sculpting blown-up circus versions of nature's microscopic organisms.
Willy Chyr's latest creatures was featured at Thursday's Art of the Danforth festival.
Just a few years earlier, he was working his way towards a PhD in physics.
But the 24-year-old was feeling creatively and artistically deflated. He began learning how to twist balloons into typical animals before gaining inspiration from his textbooks and modelling his creations on genetic molecules and neuron pathways.
"I made a series of sculptures that were modelled after bioluminescent creatures," he said.
"I'm still taking a lot of inspiration from science."
Now his reputation as an artist is also starting to blow up.
Over the past year, Chyr's sculptures have been featured in magazines and exhibits around the world. He recently had a spread in Elle magazine.
His vibrant work has been described as "exploring the intersection between art and science," and now the world's largest brewer, Beck's, has taken notice.
The brewer has officially announced that their new bottle labels will feature one of Chyr's designs.
Chyr calls it A Glimpse of Something Ephemeral, and the design will be one of six featured on a new line of bottles, which the brewer says are meant to celebrate independent thinking.