Hello, I’m Wendell “Stretch” Clendennen and I’m a photographer, balloon artist, Santa Claus portrayer, and avid motorcycle rider. I picked up the nickname of Stretch when I was 17 and it has followed me ever since. In junior high I took a class on photography where I learned the basics and how to develop film and prints in the dark room. Photography became a passion that I played with off and on, but never really focussed on until the mid-2000s. In 2014 I enrolled in The New York Institute of Photography in order to further my knowledge and skills as a photographer and the addiction has only grown stronger. I love taking photos of just about anything, but really love nature and landscapes. I am a professional entertainer, so I’m also expanding into event photography, as well as environmental portraits of both people and pets.
What else do I do, you ask? I’ve done a lot of things throughout my life, but there is one other big passion that has dominated my life since 1989, and that’s twisting balloons into animals, hats, and other shapes. It started in a Children’s Church that was clown themed, and I was volunteered to be a clown. I already had the nickname of Stretch, so I became Stretch the Clown. It wasn’t long until I was performing at birthday parties and other events and Stretch the Clown became an increasingly large part of my life. After nine years, I dropped the makeup and became Stretch the Balloon Dude and then things really started taking off. Since then I’ve traveled across the US teaching at major balloon conventions, seminars, and lectures. I’ve published a number of DVDs and books on balloon twisting, and have also been privileged to be the official balloon artist for the Dallas Mavericks since 2002. You can find out more about this by visiting the web page of Stretch & Company.