My short bio: RedBall project artist Kurt Perschke currently in Toledo where the project recently got caught in a storm, captured on Instagram and on International news.

My Proof: Proof: website:

EDIT: I'll be back in the morning to answer, but we have a new site bright and early in about 6 hours... Thanks to everyone for their questions and comments.

EDIT: Hi I'm back on! Installing today but I'll be in and out but keep'em coming I'm here.

EDIT: Hey everyone thanks for all the questions and upvotes! It's been a great first reddit experience. The AMA is coming in at 24 hours and it's been fantastic. While I will check in tomorrow, it's time to wrap. I've got one site left in Toledo. If your in Toledo come on by the Museum Sunday the 23rd. anyone can reach me via the project site above, or track us on Facebook, twitter, etc.. Thank you Reddit!

Comments: 193 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

oubrew123 karma

Do you have any intentions of creating an appropriately sized Clifford?

Kurt_Perschke64 karma

I don't think Louis CK would stand for that.

Patches67107 karma

Have you considered making a giant red ball out of steel or concrete and having it weigh hundreds of tons?

Kurt_Perschke108 karma

hmm, no.

Organia94 karma

Would you rather be chased by 1 huge red ball or 100s of small red balls?

Kurt_Perschke75 karma

One RedBall has been to over 25 cities and 300 locations but this is the first time it escaped. I'll take one redball every time.

Tucana6643 karma

Were there any citations issued for the runaway RedBall?

Kurt_Perschke97 karma

RedBall's artistic license was reviewed but not revoked.

rain-dog233 karma

I have to believe that at some point you saw a ball that inspired you. What kind of ball was it, and what made you think,"Bigger and red,"?

Also, have you had a chance to stop by Tony Packo's yet in Toledo?

Kurt_Perschke29 karma

YES to Tony Packo's where I had the stuffed cabbage with a dog on the side. Today Rudy's, it's a toledo-gastro-tour.

Actually I drew it red from the very beginning. I sketched it over a photo of the first site and laughed. That was the start. the first site is here:

Tactis4 karma

Is the first project still there? I live about 10 minutes from St.Louis and I think it would be cool to go check it out. If it is still there, is it in a decent part of the city or did someone happen to give it a drive by then loot it?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

no, the work is in a new location each day during a performance. were about to do a new install for today in Toledo. so it's not in STL for a while now

IDKSpeed1 karma

If you're still in Toledo, check out Ideal Hotdog on heatherdowns near eastgate and key. Grab yourself a chili mac. You won't regret it.

Also grab some breakfast from Schmuckers on Reynolds. They have insanely good pies, VP Joe Biden stopped there a year or so ago.

Also thank you for giving Toledo something to talk about instead of green algae water.

Kurt_Perschke1 karma

hey thanks for the tips! will do.

werterty27 karma

So how exactly did the big red ball get loose Kurt?

Kurt_Perschke48 karma

It was end of day and the the ball was in a downtown alley and a storm came in really fast. The wind built up behind the ball and popped that sucker like a champagne cork!

AttachedSickness24 karma

How does it make you feel that a giant red ball rolling freely is the safest thing on the streets of Toledo?

Kurt_Perschke17 karma

I was very relieved no one was hurt. Downtown Toledo is where I'm staying and it's not the busiest place.

Zerba7 karma

Parts of downtown come to life when there is a baseball or hockey game, but other than that it's pretty boring. If you get a chance check out a Mud Hens game, its a really nice ballpark and the games are normally pretty fun.

Stay safe, we've had some crazy shootings lately. It's pretty unusual for us to have so many so close together.

Also, thank you for bringing the red ball to Toledo! We love having stuff like this come to town.

Kurt_Perschke1 karma

Actually I did go to a Mud Hens game with my family and the whole crew when they were in town the fist weekend we launched. it was awesome, the size of the stadium is perfect. though Wrigley has to stay my #1, chicago native and all.

hurdur122 karma

So did it damage that one car or anything else?

If so, how do you deal with it?

Kurt_Perschke42 karma

The car it rolled against in the video, the driver came by the next day to say hello. Turns out his sister had seen it in Galway, and he has a pic from inside the car! that's fast reflexes. No cars were damaged in the making of this video... it did wack the stop sign kinda hard.

HoneyboyWilson30 karma

We are going to need to see that picture, sir.

Kurt_Perschke33 karma

here you go, view of it coming at the car, thanks to Rory who's the guy getting back in the car. I'll send him the AMA link incase he wants to get on. Imgur

HoneyboyWilson5 karma

Thanks for delivering OP! You're...on the ball!

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

thanks, and not under it yet..

Kurt_Perschke25 karma

good point! I'll ask him for it tomorrow and get it up, its kinda late right now. He was very mellow about it actually.

Emmet-14 karma

What did you think of Galway when the ball was there?

Kurt_Perschke9 karma

Galway is an amazing river city, we had a fantastic time and the response to the project was killer. I'd love to go back to the Galway International Arts Festival.

Mobstastyle13 karma

It's pretty cool to see my home town on reddit! How are you liking Toledo so far?

Kurt_Perschke10 karma

yea at the top of reddit was a surprise, Toledo has been a really great audience and very friendly to the team. but only two days left!

Ferfrendongles9 karma

How is the ball so resilient? What's it made of, just vinyl? You said that a storm popped the ball out of an alley like a champagne cork, and then the pic of the ball's first debut... balling, it's sort of wedged under this bridge, on gravel.

Could you go into the details about how you made it?

Kurt_Perschke14 karma

Yes it's made of an architectural vinyl, like you use in stretched roofs, river rafts, etc. I knew the piece needed to be super tough, so rather than DIY this one I designed it and had it professionally fabricated.

A lot of comments on the gif feed are about the pressure, it is true that as a chamber gets larger the pressure required is inverse. so it's not like a bike tire at 120psi.

spiderpark7 karma

Hey, nice ball

Any advice for artists, sculptors in particular? Any cool little technical things you learned while making this ball?

Any advice on hiring fabricators, and maybe some info on the process (in your experience)?

Kurt_Perschke10 karma

"advice for artists" would probably be a whole other AMA, which I'd happily do, but since you asked here I'll say when I was getting this thing made it took forever to find someone who could fabricate it, and was willing to do it. fab shops like to make one thing a thousand times, not make a one off. If your a sculptor and need space to build, pick the right city. Do some geographic arbitrage!

HyperfinePunchline6 karma

Was this a purposeful stunt to channel more interest in your work?

Kurt_Perschke7 karma

ummm if I could make that happen that would be something, but how did I make it take a left turn? this is the source file btw.

HyperfinePunchline4 karma

I would just kick it off a slight hill and let gravity and air resistance do its job ;)

Kurt_Perschke11 karma

A hill? I'm in Toledo, Ohio_

jeremy419_2 karma

The full length uncut video is on youtube. You can hear the wind and see the ball get blown down St Clair.

Kurt_Perschke2 karma

Hey Jeremy! thanks for posting. FYI everyone Jeremy shot the video, he's the guy on the roof who caught a moment that when worldwide. Jeremy jump in here if you want!

Solkre6 karma

Can you explain how sticking a big red ball in places is art? Is there a name for this type of art? Compared to say, painting, drawing, writing, composing, or sculpting something?

Kurt_Perschke5 karma

Look up say street art, public art. you'll find their is a lot out in the world. If it's not art to you that's ok.

MorphineBear5 karma

What is the significance of a red ball? Why did you make it?

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

I don't think of the work as a symbol really. The significance question is really to any work. Art is about people. The significance of an artwork is not static or absolute, it's personal and fluid. Even looking at a great painting is an experience, not a fact. For me the ball's humor, tactility, and charisma is part of how as a sculpture it invites people in to something more. The work as a whole is not the ball, its what it creates. even when it's unintended.

California_Viking5 karma

Have you thought of a new and better way to secure your ball?

Have you thought of making it blue, or has it been too long and it's too late?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

well since 2001 and installing it all over the world this is the first time were looking at something like this. The next day we had it on ropes but in general the site is the anchor and that does work out, air pressure!

AdorableLittleFuck4 karma

I live in the Toledo area, and I don't quite understand what it is. Can you explain?

Kurt_Perschke15 karma

Come by tomorrow I'll be at the site at Side Cut Metropark lock #1. It's part of the Toledo Museum of Art's Play Time exhibition.

AdorableLittleFuck3 karma

At the main playground on the river side or by the locks?

Kurt_Perschke7 karma

this is the park map, it's the most clear. we are at lock #1. that small parking lot just to the right is the closest FYI.

scales824 karma

Have you apologised?

Kurt_Perschke10 karma

yes I've talked to everyone involved. The guy in the car came by the next day to say hi.

Kurt_Perschke1 karma

he took this when it was coming at him. View from car in video, RedBall rolling in Toledo

Pentosin4 karma

How much damage did it not cause?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

one bent street sign. but still there!

fuz_3d3 karma

why did you choose red ??

Kurt_Perschke5 karma

I drew it red from the very beginning. Red just the right color, play, love, energy, you name it. also there is an inside sculpture joke about big and red..

Pabloster3 karma

What's the best thing that's happened while your show has been traveling?

Kurt_Perschke2 karma

man that's hard. I mean 15 years is a lot of memories. I need a book! random true story. I was in Norwich England sitting with the NNF artistic director at the time watching people with the piece , we had just done a bunch of TV press and were just chilling out. Someone I don't know comes up and hands me this bag of hard candy as a gift, they had heard my wife loves British humbugs. He looks at me and says with total English incredulity, "people bring you CANDY?" That moment was kind of awesome.

doesntakethehighroad3 karma

How do you make such a large ball have close to spherical dimensions without obvious seams?

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

actually it does have sections and seams, you just need a bit of backlight to see it. some of these pics from Chicago will show it.

level27geek3 karma

What inspire you to start the big red ball project in the first place?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

I had the opportunity to work with one of three sites in St. Louis via a commission with Arts in Transit there. One of the sites was kinda a concrete armpit, but I just was into it. RedBall came out of trying to show why.

not to overlink, I don't know the rules here really, but these are interviews of me getting at your question in depth.

more recently:

a few years back:

hardonchairs3 karma

Are you planning any new self destruct systems in case a tragedy like this befalls another city?

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

I don't think making it explode would improve safety, generally.

flyawaylittlebirdie2 karma

How do you deal with those who say you aren't an artist? Some people are unbelievably rude, I don't know how you put up with it.

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

Yea, it can get rough. some of the thick skin clich├ęs are true, you need that. I read through the 2000 comments last night on the vid mostly laughing, but some I wished I hadn't read. But that kind of energy is only a byproduct of the work being successful in the world, working in public puts you out there in a way gallery work doesn't. But I'll also say I honestly feel very grateful for the opportunity to have a work that brings so many people a smile, and lets me travel the world with it. Gratitude is my defense.

junglemonkey472 karma

Are you in the gif chasing it, or is that someone else?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

that is my assistant running it down, fast.

UmphreysMcgee132 karma

Have you eaten at rosies italian grille in toledo? Best Italian food in the Midwest

Kurt_Perschke2 karma

not yet but thanks for the tip, the crew likes to eat!

coolplate2 karma

where do you get the materials and skills for making things like that? I am always interested in how stuff like that is made.

Kurt_Perschke4 karma

you look into the industry that already exists to solve those issues. So when I was developing the work and researching the fabrication I'd need to use it became clear I needed a heavy fabric. Almost all inflatable art is made like a beach ball, looks great in the air but delicate, or a cold air inflatable where it has a hidden fan constantly running and actually can't hold it's shape other wise. like the Duck.

I didn't want any of that, I wanted a real ball. I needed something sealed, and really tough. So I looked to the river raft industry. As far as I know it's the only art inflatable made this way, but it works for me.

patjackman2 karma

I have been part of a very large, lovely project that has suffered from very poor project management from the get go which has impacted severally on the final product. Watching your ball bounce away inspired me to do the same thing and walk away from it today! I hope ya appreciate the irony? :D

Kurt_Perschke6 karma

oh now I want to know what it was! but yea getting free is sometimes the right thing. speaking of getting free... this is maybe my favorite piece of press about this ever, they wrote haikus! the whole crew was on the ground when we read it.

patjackman2 karma

Hehe, they are brilliant! :) I'm a performing arts sound designer by trade but I got involved in a full-length feature film project. It is truly gorgeous, and the cast and crew were wonderful. Principle photography was wrapped up this week and I had just been told that my deadline to complete the entire soundtrack, including mixing, soundtrack, adr, foley, blah de blah, had been reduced to three weeks. Argh. I looked at the ball breaking free and had a real strong moment of empathy. That was the moment I decided to do the exact same. :) First time in my life I've empathised with a huge red plastic ball! :) Well done, either way, tho! It's a beautiful concept, and the exposure is no harm either! Thanks so much for your reply, and continued success! :)

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

feature film production, that about says it all. Have some friends in that biz, the stories are brutal.

I feel for the performing arts people, I've actually learned a lot from that world about how to improve my tour productions. My wife is a choreographer (insert husband's shameless plug now..)

highergrounded2 karma

What's the best piece of advice that you've ever received?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

too much to choose from, I look for good advice constantly. Maybe that would be it, I like to be constantly learning. for instance, this is my first time on reddit!

level27geek2 karma

How many people and hours does it take to install/take down the piece?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

generally it takes an hour for each. The ball can inflate in about 20 minutes, but you load everything in, the geni etc. So an hour or less for simple installs.

amandatoryy2 karma

were you also chasing the ball in the video? if so, which one were you?

Kurt_Perschke2 karma

ah good question! I'm not in the video alas, but the guy in the grey is my assistant, on reddit switters7 he got it under control fast.

Angry_Apollo2 karma

Any concerns about placing the ball in historic architecture? How many pounds does it exert against walls when lodged.

Kurt_Perschke2 karma

it's been in some fragile places, like three sides of glass here in front of the Tate Museum UK on the Millennium Bridge

we had to measure the pressure to get the permit, with of all things a 'manometer' (yes it's called that), it's 0.112psi (0.8KN)

level27geek1 karma

If money, safety and law was not the issue, would you make an "art on the loose" project?

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

"If money, safety and law was not the issue" in this world I might go into a bunker. I mean seriously.

level27geek1 karma

Haha. Well I meant if you had been allowed to stage "art on the loose" in a city and funding was not an issue, what would you do?

I would love to get a buttload of baloons going down city streets. Maybe have them attached to some drone so it wouldn't float away. Just going up and down along city streets.

I would love to see how people would react to it.

Kurt_Perschke3 karma

you should do it! baloons and drones are easily recruited.

It's great that the vid jeremy shot went all over, but I'm not looking to make a piece to 'recreate' what's in the video. You can't start with the end in mind, I certainly didn't predict were RedBall would go over the years when I started it. Though the curator at the time could see it more clearly.

FyreCell1 karma

Have you considered selling this to Superman for use during fights with Kryptonian enemies?

Kurt_Perschke1 karma

or to Batman? if it's B vs S. I'm with the bat.

magicjj1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, I really appreciate your work!

Are there any pictures of the deflated ball? I'm curious how small it packs up.

How long does it take to fill?

Is the RedBall project your first time touring with your art, and what's it like?

What has been your favorite city so far (in terms of how/where RedBall was placed, the response to it, etc.)?

Kurt_Perschke1 karma

thanks! the AMA has been an eyeopener for me. though I'm needing to get to the bar with the crew right now.. so a video. this will show you what it looks like, in superspeed!

notafraid1989-11 karma

Less people care then you thought would. Isn't that right?

Kurt_Perschke8 karma

actually just the opposite, I'm surprised it made the news at all. But the video is amazing.