EDMONTON -- Rupert Appleyard, who performs under the name Phileas Flash, has launched a new online show called “The Big Balloon” where he takes you into a world created entirely out of latex and hot air.

“Balloons are incredible. They’re one of the most versatile building blocks for art that I’ve ever seen,” says Flash. “They’re so underestimated. People see a balloon and think ‘oh you can make a dog.’ In reality, you can turn them into anything.”

For his show, Appleyard has turned balloons into everything from an enormous penguin to actor John Krasinski.

He makes each of his creations based on requests from people watching and also show viewers how to create their own balloon art. Plus Appleyard twists in some humour and education.

“It’s important to make things funny and it’s important to learn. I’ve got a three-year old and I know when I watch things on YouTube, I want to have some educational content,” he says.

Appleyard wasn’t planning on making an online show, his schedule was packed with live performances at festival around the country including several in Edmonton. But when Covid-19 hit, he decided to head to his basement and start filming.

“I always wanted to have a children’s TV show and suddenly you can do that from the safety of your own home,” says Appleyard.

The Big Balloon is also a way for him to fill people up with joy, something he says he sets out to do every day.

“I wanted something to show the world how wonderful and positive we could be when we’re trapped inside and have to get by with what we’ve got,” he says.

Appleyard is putting new episodes of The Big Balloon up on YouTube and his Facebook page every week.

“I’m pretty pumped about this,” laughs Appleyard.