Balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto enjoys creating life-like versions of various pests including (top to bottom) a wasp, jumping spider, termite and beetle larva.

Thinking of balloon art usually conjures up images of clowns squeakily putting together a dog- or flower-shaped balloon. A subject that probably doesn’t come to mind is intricate depictions of insects and other animals, but that’s exactly how Masayoshi Matsumoto practices the art of balloon twisting.

Matsumoto is a 27-year-old artist from Tokyo who taught himself to blow and twist balloons into complicated and surprising forms. He doesn’t use any type of adhesive — the only materials in the designs are balloons. He uses about 20 to 30 balloons for each piece, which can take two to six hours to create depending on the complexity of the subject. In addition to his art depicting lifelike animals, he has a Tumblr page dedicated to balloon art of animal skeletons.

While insects and bugs are not Matsumoto’s only subject matter, they make up a good portion of his collection. Examples include a horsefly, a louse, a flea and a Nephila clavata spider, among many others. Matsumoto said he has always liked insects since he was a child, and this motivated him to make them the subjects of his art. He generally consults wildlife pictures to make accurate representations of the animals he creates.

Far from being simple balloon depictions, these pieces are true-to-life with striking attention to detail. Many of them are able to stand on their own, and some glow in the dark by incorporating neon balloons into the design.

Through an art form that sees little mainstream attention and with subjects that are generally viewed as pests, Matsumoto highlights the complexity and beauty in even the smallest of Earth’s creatures. View more of Matsumoto’s work at www.isopresso.tumblr.com and www.latexbones.tumblr.com. — Sean Wolfe