Conway’s Matt Mattingly, otherwise known as Big Poppa Bubble, visited the University of Central Arkansas on Friday to spread joy through blowing bubbles.
Mattingly, a 30-year-old father of three, has been blowing bubbles all his life.
About five years ago, he started researching what it would take to start blowing massive bubbles and said he became quite interested, but it wasn’t until about six months ago that he decided to dive in to the hobby.
"I was going through a really hard time," he said. "I spent a lot of my life not really knowing what I wanted, as many people do."
Mattingly said he struggled to find a place and find his "niche," something he could be confident in and own.
"I was going through a really rough patch and as crazy as this probably sounds, it was the bubbles that drew me out of a bad place in life," he said. "I’m doing better than I’ve ever done."
Blowing bubbles, Mattingly said, was simple, but also allowed him to express his artistic side.
"It’s also been a source of therapy for me," he said. "Bubbles only last for a little while, they’re temporary. You don’t always blow the perfect [bubble], they pop and everybody loves them."
Mattingly said overall it’s been the thing that has brought the most peace and joy to his life as well as provided him with the confidence to get out and meet new people by randomly appearing in parks, on campuses and other traffic areas where people are present.
This new hobby, he said, is something fun that he can share with others.
"Basically, I’m trying to spread joy through the magic of bubbles," Mattingly said. "I’m highly fascinated by them."
The Conway resident even built his own Big Bubble 5000, a pack filled with bubble solution — he creates his own — that allows him the opportunity to go anywhere he wants to and blow bubbles in different locations.
"It kind of brings people together and breaks down a lot of barriers because everybody is mystified by them no matter what age," Mattingly said. "Everybody loves them and I love everybody so it’s nice to bring people together through that."
He said it also gives adults a break from their everyday routing and allows them to dip back into their adolescence if only for a small amount of time.
When he attends birthday parties, the cool part to him is not just how impressed the kids are, but the looks of amazement on the adults’ faces as well.
"It’s really interesting to see the parents that are living in adulthood, like we all do, break down and get back to their roots, back to childhood and you get to kind of forget about all the stuff that’s going on in the world," Mattingly said.
The activity has not only allowed him to put himself out there and come to understand more of who he is, but has also given him a hobby to enjoy with his kids who have been there alongside him through the whole learning season.
"I don’t know if they think I’m nuts or not," Mattingly said, laughing. "It’s been nice to have something to share with them that is kind of exclusive."
When he began the adventure, he said he learned there’s a lot more science that goes into making and blowing bubbles than he realized.
"There’s even physicists that theorize that the universe is kind of like a bubble and that’s how alternate, parallel universes could exist," Mattingly said.
To him, the cool thing about a bubble is that from the moment that it’s born and it leaves the strings, it spends it’s whole existence trying to become the most concise, perfect, colorful, best bubble that it can be.
"It’s got all this adversity to fight like bugs and weather and people wanting to pop it and bring it down," he said. "There’s really a lot that goes into it. It’s neat that something so simple is also so complex and have a deeper meaning to it."
Big Poppa Bubble can be found on Facebook and Instagram and can also be reached at email@example.com.