What better way to commemorate the birth of the artist than with a handful of his balloon paintings (and perhaps more birthday party appropriate than say, one of his ten-foot-tall, one-ton stainless steel Balloon Dogs). As a child living in York, Pennsylvania, Koons began his study of art by copying paintings of the Old Masters, which he sold at his father’s furniture store. Far later in life and already on the fast track to a prodigious career (soon to be the self-proclaimed ‘most written about artist in the world’), Koons became a father himself. He sought to create toys in simple shapes for his children, and later, works inspired by them, like his painting from 1995, Party Hat. We should all be wearing one today.