A new year, a new focus

March 5th, 2015



Hi folks,

Some faithful readers may have noticed that I have been absent from the blog for a few months. After attending the last excellent MBS conference in Philadelphia, I decided to re-evaluate my approach to the website and my audience. The kyleolmon.com website and blog went live many years ago and I am beginning to explore options for a fresher look and navigation. Many viewers are reaching me via mobile and tablet as opposed to desktop and laptops. HTML5 is making dynamic web pages much easier. RSS feeds like my beloved Bloglines and Google Reader are disappearing along with many of my favorite bloggers. Kyle Olmon 2.0 may be just around the corner.

While I love the less constrained and longer format options of blogs, it seems like my limited time and energy for social media might be better served as I focus more on my Facebook profile, Youtube channel, Twitter feed and whatever the next big app will be…PinSnapInstaElloFour+ anybody?

So keep contacting me through the website and keep sharing on social media, but don’t be surprised if I don’t get back to your blog comment right away. That being said, I just may get a second wind and fire off some blog posts when I get inspired. Blogs are dead, long live blogs.

Keep poppin’!


One month to go!

August 20th, 2014

Next month swarms of pop-up artists and fans descend upon Philadelphia for three days of presentations, hands-on workshops and hopefully some juicy gossip. If you plan on attending please remember that TODAY is the last day for early registration to the Movable Book Society biennial conference. There are still spots left to attend the conference, but hotel rooms are filling up, so act fast! You can print out the registration form here. If you would like a sneak peek of the tentative schedule then check out this PDF.

Shawn Sheehy is in charge of programming this year and has set-up many great presentations of new pop-up projects by numerous paper engineers as well as rare antique movables from collectors and conservators.  Attendees will also be visiting the University of Philadelphia library and later the University of Arts for a demonstration and workshop with Sam Ita. Our keynote speaker this year is the UK book artist Paul Johnson and I look forward to see what he has in store for the group. It has been many years since I had a chance to see Paul and his colorful explosive pop-up creations. Closing out the conference will be the presentation of the Meggendorfer Prize for the best recent commercial pop-up book and I am very curious to see who will win this time around.  Additionally, for the first time the Movable Book Society has expanded the prize categories to include Best Pop-up/Movable Artist Book and Best Emerging Paper Engineer.

This MBS conference is shaping up to have something for everyone and I am looking forward to seeing many familiar faces and meeting new folks. I’ve waited almost two years, so I guess I can wait another month.


The Freedom Trail

June 26th, 2014

Four days more. That is how long you have to fund the start-up project called the Freedom Trail Pop-up Book by Denise Price. Make your pledge now!

Four years ago. Denise contacted me after learning about the paper engineering course I teach at Pratt Institute. She had a wonderful idea to create the first pop-up book about Boston. Denise was not able to take my class at the time (it was a heckuva commute from Boston to Brooklyn), but she did take workshops and studied with Paul Johnson and was able to continue her personal study of pop-ups. Soon she had a white prototype of the book that she shared in this Youtube video. After careful research of the historic buildings along the Freedom Trail, Denise finished the illustrations and was able to create a color prototype. Now she needs your help in self publishing this project!

Click on this Kickstarter link to show your love for this love letter to Boston. What better way to celebrate our nation’s independence next week then by supporting this patriotic pop-up project.


Got to get funky

June 19th, 2014

I am super excited as I recently received a review copy of the limited edition pop-up book titled Pop-Up Funk. Now many of you may know that I love pop-ups (obviously) and I love funk (music, art, whatever), so this is a match made in heaven for me.

This is the debut dimensional artist book from artist Jim Mahfood and paper engineer/designer Rosston Meyer. The ten spread, 9″ x 11″ hand bound book showcases a variety of Jim’s art styles converted to three dimensions and employ a variety of engineering techniques. (Props to David A. Carter for his guidance on the project.) One of my favorites is the last spread “Thrilling” which lives up to its name as it rises over 17″ above the base page. This edition is limited to only 100 copies so grab a book here before they run out.

The title has been out for a few months now and Rosston is already working on follow-up pop-up projects with other big name artists under his new venture Poposition Press. I can’t wait to see what he has in store. Hopefully Rosston will be bringing his Pop-up Funk book to the MBS conference in September for everyone to drool over, so be sure to register soon to meet this young gun. In the meantime, enjoy their great ‘how it’s made’ comic from the end of Pop-up Funk. (I hope that the Funk Lords of Pop-up present me with divine instruction as well.)


Away we go to BookExpo

June 9th, 2014

I had a good time at the recent BookExpo America 2014 a few days ago. Sprawled out over three days in the cavernous Javits Center in NYC, hundreds of publishers mingle with authors, librarians, media companies and book lovers of all stripes. At the last minute, I grabbed a day pass and met up with fellow paper engineer, Sam Ita, to patrol the aisles for interesting pop-up titles and to see if more novelty books are on display in this ever improving economy. I was pleased to see a lot of simple pop-up books for young readers at AZ Books, including a mechanism I had not seen before (which is rare these days). Baker & Taylor showed a trio of finished pop-ups from Alan Brown and Richard Ferguson that I peeped last year. I’m a big fan of the subject matter and ‘Edgar Allen Poe’, ‘the Brothers Grimm’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ all have cool pop-up elements sprinkled throughout the collection of stories. We met up with the legendary Robert Sabuda for some lunch and heard about his upcoming title ‘The Dragon and the Knight” due out this Fall. (I later learned that Robert has a new fan that some of you may have heard of. Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItctwLoV7Rw&feature=youtu.be&t=3m40s)

There were many booths with pop-up titles and I was happy to come across Corina Fletcher’s cute pop-up playsets at Nosy Crow as well as a series of pop-up scrapbooks by the clever Kees Moerbeek. It is always a treat to stop by the booth of Up with Paper and see some of the 900! dimensional items they have to offer. Sam and I just missed a book signing there with the talented Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, but did manage to bump into her colleague and paper engineer, Yoojin Kim.

We saw many familiar faces and met with a few new companies. One if which was an augmented reality publisher that sparked in interesting argument about information integration and presentation between Sam and I. (Needless to say, I am in Camp AR and think it has untapped potential, but we decided to agree to disagree.) Soon the day was fading as so was our energy, so I left the Expo with a hopeful view that there is still a place for interesting and thoughtful pop-up books and hopefully I will get to see one of my titles promoted there next visit.


Playing with Pop-ups

May 1st, 2014

Today is the day. Which day you say? May Day? International Workers Day? Director John Woo’s birthday? Well, yes, technically all are correct, but I am referring to the release of “Playing with Pop-ups” by Helen Hiebert. Helen is a paper artist based out of Colorado who made one of my favorite films called Water Paper Time in addition to creating great art and writing a half dozen books. Her latest book is part pop-up instruction manual and part gallery showcasing 24 paper engineers from the U.S. and abroad. I was fortunate to meet Helen at the last Movable Book Society conference (psss, the next one is coming up this September!) where she shared her wonderful work. Helen asked me to design a special pop-up project for her book so I chose to make a fun card for your Valentine’s Day or any other day you wish to show some love. I was also honored to be featured in the gallery section next to the legendary David Pelham (and I can thank the alphabetical order for that one).

“Playing with Pop-ups” will appeal to the paper crafters as well as the fans of pop-up books. (And really, who ISN’T a fan of these wonderful books!) This book would also make a great gift for young artists that are interested in creating some paper projects. I would say this book is suitable for ages five and up with the help of some parents and a photocopier. (If you don’t know what a photocopier is, check out this video.) Speaking of videos you can see the trailer for the book here and a review here.

You can find this book at local and online bookstores, so don’t delay and you better show me some love and send me a pop-up card for Valentines Day once you master my project!


Happy Year of the Horse

January 31st, 2014

Today is the start of the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year and I want to wish all my friends in Hong Kong ‘Gong Hey Fat Choy’ and on the mainland ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’. I wish you all joy and prosperity in the year of the Wood Horse.

I can’t believe that it was a year ago when I was able to last visit China to oversee production of the Lancome pop-up presskit. What a memorable trip! I just missed the two week long celebrations last time, and one of these days I hope that my travel plans will allow me to take part in the feasts, fireworks and the little red envelopes.

To celebrate, I put up a video of a horse made out of wood (well, ok, it’s really paper) that I have been playing around with to study the natural movement of animals. It is only 30 seconds long, so take a peek and tell me what you think.


Czech out the pop-ups from Prague

January 16th, 2014

I am very excited for next week when the Pop-ups from Prague exhibit opens at the Grolier Club in Manhattan. Ellen G.K. Rubin, a.k.a. The PopupLady, will be sharing over a hundred works by the famed designer Vojtech Kubasta. In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of his birth, attendees will get a rare treat to view a variety of illustrations and movables that Kubašta created over his very productive lifetime. Advertisements, ephemera, pop-ups and moveables all jockey for attention in the display cases on the second floor of this intimate Upper East Side club. Many of the items have not been shown in public before, and some have not been mentioned in previous attempts to catalog Kubašta’s prodigious output. Kubašta is one of my favorite paper engineers and this show is going to be a real eye opener to the depth and breadth of his many artistic talents.

The exhibit is on view from January 23 thorough March 15, 2014 in the second floor Members’ Gallery and a color catalog will be available for purchase. It was announced that a Collector’s Forum will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 6-8 PM with a lecture by curator, Ellen G. K. Rubin, followed by a panel discussion with Dagmar Kubaštová, Kubašta’s daughter, Robert Sabuda, award-winning paper engineer and Monika Brandup, Creative Director of Up With Paper. Plus there are curator-led tours of the exhibition on Wednesday, February 12, 5:30-7:30 PM, Wednesday, February 26, 1-2 PM and Saturday, March 1, 2-4 PM. More information can be found on the announcement.

I hope to see you all there at the events and for the folks who cannot make it to New York, I will be sharing more about this highly anticipated centennial celebration in the coming weeks.


America’s National Parks Pop-up

December 5th, 2013

I was watching Ken Burn’s documentary for PBS on the National Parks and lamenting that I have not been able to witness all the diverse landscapes and beautiful nature that our United States has to offer. It was not long ago that I was hiking down to the Rio Grande in New Mexico, but that is no match for majestic vistas of Yellowstone and other big parks. It seems difficult to find a balance between the fast pace of the metropolis and the peaceful reflections before a campfire. My desire to see more of this country was only heightened when I opened up the pop-up book America’s National Parks. Now this book has only been around for a few months and it had already been featured by Oprah and won a gold medal at the IPPY awards. The book itself is also raising money and awareness as a portion of the book sales go directly to the NPCA. How cool is that?! The good folks at NW Book Lovers are so passionate about this project which originated out of Oregon that they shared one of the Limited Editions with me. Check out their 2013 Holiday catalog to find this pop-up and many more interesting titles.

I had a chance to see an early pop-up from the book last year at the Movable Book Society conference when I sat down with the author, Don Compton. He explained how he had assembled a great team to create such a sincere tribute to “America’s best idea”. Inspired by classic WPA posters, Dave Ember illustrated 18 of the most popular national parks that span across the country. Bruce Foster used his paper folding mastery to take us to the depths of the Grand Canyon and witness Old Faithful rise a foot off the page. This excellent pop-up book was a true labor of love to one of our greatest national treasures and I will in turn, treasure it as it rests on my bookshelf. Where it will stand as a gentle reminder to see more of the U.S. and to heed the words of John Muir when he says, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”


Rube Roundup

November 27th, 2013

A great time was had at the book release party for The Art of Rube Goldberg last week. The Lori Bookstein Fine Art gallery was packed with folks eager to step into the world of Rube Goldberg. Original black and white artwork and comics filled the walls (after being stored under the bed of Rube’s granddaughter, Jennifer George). A video loop of various Rube Goldberg contraptions played overhead as people lined up to get their books signed. We were joined by fellow paper engineers, Sam Ita, Simon Arizpe and Becca Zerkin as well as the wonderful Pop-up Lady, Ellen Rubin. It was great to see everyone out to support Andy Baron, who created the intricate movable cover for the coffee table book. While I did not get a chance to meet the writer/contributor, Adam Gopnik, (who slipped out early) it was a real treat to see Al Jaffee, creator of the MAD magazine fold-ins. I love these paper folded wonders and hope that I am going as strong at 92! Before we ducked out for dinner, I tried my hand at the RubeWorks app on the iPad and was very impressed with the interactive play and realistic physics. One of the app designers demonstrating the title told me that he also builds the physical contraptions which gave him a good perspective on the gameplay. He then mentioned that the event planners wanted him to construct a working model for the launch party, but he said it would have taken him weeks to complete. I smiled as I remembered that this book took no less than seven years to complete (with some versions of the book project going back decades), but boy oh boy, it was worth the wait.