David and Jenell Alward, owners of Swish ‘N Flick Entertainment in Rapid City specialize in professional face painting, balloon twisting, special effects makeup, theater makeup work and starting this summer they will be adding airbrush tattoos to their menu of entertainment.
When asked how they got started in this business, Janell explains:
“I mean, there’s not like, a manual or a class that you go take. And that’s kind of why we like to inspire others to kind of chase after their dreams. But I got started with makeup and face painting and stuff in high school, so I did a lot of theater growing up and I became super entranced with theatrical type of makeup. I headed the drama department with all of the makeup related kind of stuff, and then started there and then went on to do haunted houses in California, things like that. And then we would do Halloween styles and looks and stuff for our friends and family. And I looked at David one day and I said, ‘I would love to do this more than just during Halloween or like very occasionally with theatrical performances and stuff. I’m going to buy a bunch of face paint and figure it out.’ And so that’s what I did. And I kind of transferred everything into face painting for children’s birthday parties and events and things like that.”
David is in charge of the balloon animals.
“I used to want to be a clown a long, long time ago. So when you come to me, basically what you get is a balloon animal and a bad dad joke and a cool mustache. I get stopped all the time. You’re the balloon guy, but they recognize me from the mustache. One of my things is I like to teach the kids to juggle while they’re waiting in line.”
One of David’s lines, when he’s teaching people how to juggle is “What’s the worst that’s going to happen?”
Jenell laughs, “You’re going to juggle and then you’re going to throw them on the ground. We’re going to pick him up and laugh and high five. That’s the gist of it.”
Dropping the balls is the worst thing that might happen, but the best things is that you could theoretically learn to juggle right then.
When the Alwards first moved to Rapid City in 2020, they started with elaborate balloon arrangements which helped them get through COVID. However, their specialty has always been public events such as birthday parties, family reunions, fairs, festivals, kids’ carnivals, corporate parties and similar events.
David explains what he loves the most about the business. “For me personally, the interactions are the most important thing, to get out there and see kids, to see parents, just to make smiles.”
Jenell completely agrees. “Yeah, because when you get like, for example, when I have a child in my chair, you don’t know what their home like his life is like. You don’t know kind of what they’re experiencing in that moment. But when they’re in our tent, in our chair, in front of us, we get 5 minutes to just love on them and to give them a fun experience. We just get that one on one interaction and they’re king or queen in our chair picking their own colors and and picking their balloon animals and experiencing the terrible dad jokes and and all the fun.
You can contact Swish ‘N Flick on Facebook.