Archive for April, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Paddy Finds a Job

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Recently a friend was moving and was confronted with too many boxes of books.  This is something that I have come across many times as I shoehorn my modest collection of pop-ups into tiny New York apartments.  In an attempt to lighten her load she offered some lovely movable titles that had belonged to her grandmother, a children’s literature professor.  I was grateful for the kind gesture and excited to come across a pop-up book that was new to me.  Paddy finds a job is a pop-up story created by the late John S. Goodall in 1981.  The book has an Athenuem imprint logo and was printed by Intervisual with paper engineering credit going to the great Tor Lokvig.

This is a six spread wordless book that tells the tale of the disastrous employment Paddy Pork who was first introduced in 1968.  The folks at Intervisual stay true to Mr. Goodall’s vision and even employ the artist’s knack for using half pages to progress the action in the story.  It is a charming book with subtle and efficient pop-ups but I can’t help but get hung up on a few small details.  When you anthropomorphize animals, it helps to be consistent.  Why is Paddy Pork the only figure that is pantless?  And why is there a pet cat alongside larger feline diners?  Those weaned on Disney characters like Donald Duck and the Goofy/Pluto conundrum can readily dismiss these observations but viewers still have to wonder why Paddy continues to charge out of the restaurant after tripping over the boa of the prominent poodle.  I guess we learn that nothing good comes when you put swine before pearls and vice versa.

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Dragons & Monsters

Monday, April 25th, 2011

The final book in the Encyclopedia Mythologica series has arrived in bookstores!  Building upon the investigation of Fairies and Magical Creatures and delving deep into the tales of Gods & Heroes, we finally come face to face with some of the most memorable Dragons & Monsters from around the world.

To celebrate the release of the book, the studio created a 12ft long Chinese dragon that is on display in the front window of one of our favorite local bookstores, Books of Wonder.  The vibrant red Chinese Lung twists and turns in the air above pop-ups of Medusa, a Medieval Wyvern, the Yeti and a curling Eastern dragon that was the inspiration for the window installation.

Stop by Books of Wonder to see the display, day or night until Saturday, May 7th when Matthew will be sharing the new work and autographing in-store copies, so mark your calendars now if you are in the Manhattan area.

~Kyle

Vintage Movable Review: Transient Rainbow Card

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

One of my all-time favorite artists is Cai Gou-Qiang.  Maybe it’s his inventive use of explosives as an artform or the massive installations that I was confronted with at his Guggenheim show a few years back.  Had I not been so overwhelmed by the artwork I would have noticed this pop-up card in the gift shop where it was distributed by Gallery 91.

This movable card showcases a 15-second fleeting moment that occurred over the East River in New York on June 29, 2002.  Transient Rainbow employed 1,000 multicolored peony fireworks to suspend a vivid rainbow against the dark New York skyline.  With the reflection from the water, you get the impression of the always inspiring, double rainbow or circular rainbow.  You can see more images and even a video from the event on his website by scolling down through his 2002 projects.

The pop-up card itself is a four panel hinged reflective foil base that flattened out to represent the shimmering water under the rainbow that swings on a v-fold to complete the familiar arch. It was conceived by Cai Gou-Qiang and created by Japansese paper engineer Takaaki Kihara, a disciple of Masahiro Chatani and a well-known figure in field of origamic architecture.  The design aesthetics are similar to his other works where the pop-up elements are cut and constructed from a single sheet of paper leaving a symmetrical pattern in the base page.

This interesting artifact does not qualify as a vintage movable, but it is a rarity and I felt it needed a closer review, much like the rest of Cai Gou-Qiang’s work.

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Isabel Uria

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I love getting mail, especially if it pops up.  A few days ago I received an impressive invitation from paper engineer, Isabel Uria.  We meet in 2008 at the Movable Book Society conference, where she showed some of her paper engineering creations from her undergraduate portfolio.  Since then she has been busy working with the inventive novelty company Up with Paper while attending graduate school at MICA.  And now all her hard work is going to pay off as she displays her MFA thesis on April 22 – May 1 at the Decker Gallery in Baltimore, MD.  Besides the reception on Friday, April 22nd from 5-7pm, Isabel will also be conducting a workshop to introduce basic pop-up concepts on April 29th from 3-4pm.

The thesis announcement arrived in a packet that contained an intricate pop-up card featuring laser cut type.  And hiding behind a photo and diagram on heavy card was a cute little custom made cutting mat.  What a wonderful idea!  If Isabel’s thesis show is as memorable as her promotional mailer, then she has a bright future in paper engineering.

You can learn more about her thesis work through her blog.  Or better yet, stop by and see it for yourself.

~Kyle

Vintage Movable Review: Koehler cards

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Here is a set of mechanical trade cards that use a single pivot to create some rather stylized “Before & After” views of Victorian era characters.  First off we see a bride transform into a widow, followed by a Civil War solider ravaged by battle and cap it off with a quick passage of time from sweet sixteen to sixty with the turn of a hat.  The cards are all chromolithographs on a gold background with no printing on the reverse.  A small note mentions that a patent was applied for and registered by Jos. Koehler, NY in 1882.  I could not locate the specific patent on-line but found many others and came across this information from the Chicago Postcard Museum and the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City.

“Joseph Koehler, New York, NY; Founded as a printing firm 1892-1911, they later began publishing view-cards in both continuous tone and halftone lithography as well as real photo cards. They have been well known for their early hold to light postcards, mechanicals, and exposition cards, since publishing an unofficial postcard set of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. While most companies stopped using the expensive chromolithographic printing method in favor of the cheaper halftone printing process, Koehler (a pioneer in halftone technology) had returned to producing chromolithographs. Koehler postcards have a very distinct style to them and is the reason why Koehler postcards are so sought after by serious collectors. All of their postcards were printed in Berlin Germany.”

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Trio of talks at the Smithsonian

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I just returned from a weekend in our nation’s capital where I caught the tail end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Washington monument.  Just down the Mall is the National American History Museum where I was able to finally view the Smithsonian pop-up exhibit, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pop, Pull and Turn. We learned about it on the blog here.

The show is a wonderful exploration of different pop-up techniques with fine examples of movable books that dated back hundreds of years.  There are also two short videos on a loop that provide some excellent background about making pop-ups.  Over a dozen cases are well laid out and very approachable to the many visitors that streamed in while I was there.  The addition of two button activated page turners made the movable books come to life and show some of the excellent movement that can be achieved through paper engineering.

It was recently announced that there will be three upcoming lectures at the museum from some of the best pop-up artists in the world.  On Saturday, April 16th at noon, David A. Carter will talk about his pop-up artistry.  Then on Monday, April 18th, Andrew Baron will discuss his latest project creating a pop-up annual report.  Finally, on Tuesday, May 10th, Bruce Foster pulls back the curtain on his latest Harry Potter book.  Be sure to check the PDF flyer for popupbookseries for more details on this exciting lecture series.

Now I have to figure out a way to get back to Washington, D.C. this weekend.

~Kyle

Vintage Movable Review: Toyota Ad

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Here is the last of my recent batch of pop-up promotional pieces.  I’d like to think that I saved the best for last, but I’ll let you be the judge.  I offer you an Australian safety campaign for the Toyota Camry from 1993.  Like the Mercedes advertisement from last week, this is another rubber band-activated mechanism with no provenance, so I will let this movable mailer speaks for itself.

(Imagined pitch meeting at the Toyota Motor Corporation, Australia, 1993)

Ad man: “Right-o, We need to liven up this dry information about the safety features of the new Toyota Camry. Any ideas, mates?

Copywriter: “How ‘bout we slap a chicken on top. Chickens make everything better.”

Ad man: “Fair dinkum, Fred Nerk, Let’s do it!”

~Kyle

Artist Watch: Yu Jordy Fu

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Yu Jordy Fu has been exhibiting her artwork since the age of six.  This London based artist has a background in Spatial Design and Architecture but it’s her 2008 series of ‘Cloud  Lamps’ that caught my eye.  Exhibiting great patience, she creates these intricate paper-cut landscapes inspired by her architectural design projects.  The lamp shades are made from treated recycled paper and is “a simple and sustainable way to add intimacy and magic to domestic environments.” The shades series has since expanded to chandeliers, installations and other custom commissions and you can learn more about Yu Jordy Fu by checking out her blog.

~Kyle

Whats Popped Up: Bowdoin Exhibit

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine has put together a nice exhibit of pop-ups that will be on view in the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library until June 4, 2011. The curators selected more than 150 movable items from the 1,800 titles donated to the college by alumni Harold M. Goralnick for the show, “Pop-ups! They are not JUST for kids”.

Here’s what the folks at Bowdoin had to say about the show:

“Although we usually think of children’s books when we see “pop-ups,” these are definitely not all just for children—erotica, architecture, and political commentary join such predictable themes as fairy tales, rhymes and verse, the alphabet and counting, and animals, to name a few. Displayed works range from the late nineteenth century to the present and also include artists’ books that employ pop-up features in their design.”
Click here to view the press release for the exhibit.

~Kyle