Jihan Zencirli: Design Tangents Episode Four

The installation artist on shifting from ephemeral work to a concept that she hopes will last a thousand years

For Jihan Zencirli, sometimes known as Geronimo, curiosity is the key to the future. “As an artist, I want to ask all the questions,” she explains in episode four of the COOL HUNTING podcast, Design Tangents. “What should our lives look like? How can we challenge things that exist just because they’ve existed for many years? Can we move forward by just questioning?” Throughout our latest podcast installment, Zencirli (who we documented in 2018, for a video now on DesignTV) walks CH founders Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten down many thought provoking tangents—from her art cult invitation to the pageantry of religion and why her practice is shifting from ephemeral work to a concept that she hopes will last a thousand years.

Zencirli first became known as a balloon artist, selling kits with tassels and soon after populating events with wondrous creations. Today, her studio stages large-scale public works aimed at spreading smiles the world over. Zencirli’s path to Geronimo was filled with many kismet moments, including early support from the pop star Sia to an accidental affiliation with the mission to end Osama bin Laden and even an unexpected phone call from Donatella Versace. Along the way, Zencirli continued to reinvent herself and her artist persona.

I like to think of myself as the Q-tip or Kleenex of the balloon industry.

“It took me years to think of myself as an artist because I just was [being] myself,” Zencirli says in the episode, but “over the years of learning about how to talk about what I love, it created my artist’s heart.” Now, she adds, she likes “to think of myself as the Q-tip or Kleenex of the balloon industry.” Listen to Zencirli explain how Instagram led to her partnership with the New York City Ballet and how web3—and her work with Doodles—changed her perspective on the art world at large. As with previous episodes, the insights are plentiful and the conversation is uplifting.

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Design Tangents is presented by Genesis and produced and edited by SANDOW Design Group. Special thanks to the podcast production team: Rob Schulte, Hannah Viti, Wize Grazette and Samantha Sager and to Amber Lin for creating our show art. Discover more design podcasts from SURROUND at surroundpodcasts.com.

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