Archive for July, 2011

Vintage Moveable Review: Luna Luna Pop-up

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

I recently learned about the fanciful artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his various creations like the Green Citadel.  I also learned that he took part in Luna Luna Park in Hamburg, Germany back in 1986.  Luna Luna was the brainchild of the equally interesting Andre Heller and was a traveling combination of a contemporary art park and a “child’s dream” of an amusement park. Heller invited famous artists of different generations to participate. Salvador Dali, Jean Tinguely, Jim Whiting and Roy Lichtenstein created special installations. Younger Americans Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf, along with several German neo-expressionist painters decorated children’s rides.  Seeing Haring listed here reminded me of a special pop-up.

Of interest to us today is the pop-up folio that celebrates the colorful carousel created by Keith Haring for Luna Luna.  This 12” x 12” single spread pop-up was paper engineered by Ron van der Meer and produced in 1986 by Carvajal in Columbia.  The edition is rumored to be around 2000 so this pop-up is a rare breed to come across.  Equally scare is information on Luna Luna Park and it’s success.  Nonetheless, I would have loved to visit this avant-garde carnival and hope that one day I can at the very least own a pop-up artifact from this bizarre wonderland.


Whats Popped Up: The Wizards of Houston

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The Wizards of Pop Exhibition has made it to Houston, Texas and this weekend starts off a series of fun activities celebrating the show.  Stop by the Children’s Museum of Houston to see 80 images from 16 books created by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.  Then stick around to make your own pop-up cards or pop your own bubbles in activity centers.

The Wizards of Pop exhibit premiered at the NCCIL in May 2009.  It recently made a stop at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and will be off to the Noel Art Museum in September.  And if your in the Houston area you have until August 28th to take the kids down for some fun.


Artist Watch: Brittney Lee

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Last weekend Harry Potter began dominating the movie theaters and it was all that folks talked about at work.  Now San Diego Comic Con is starting up this weekend and the office is getting excited to take part.  So it only seemed fitting that I pick to showcase the talents of Brittney Lee.

This California based paper cutter came to my attention via the great blog, Dude Craft.  Her recent tributes to Harry Potter are excellent and the more I viewed her past projects I more impressed I was with her skills.  She will be at the comic convention this weekend sharing her new book of work so if you like what you see stop by and say hi.


Whats Popped Up: A Japanese Book

Monday, July 18th, 2011

This weekend we got to see Japan’s overtime win in the finals of the Women’s World Cup.  I do not confess to be much of a soccer fan, but even I eagerly watched the penalty kicks as an underdog Japanese team bested the U.S. squad.  Let face it, Japan needed a win after the horrible trifecta of earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.

So today, we are taking a closer look at Japanese pop-up books.  Long coveted with high price tags, I can only drool over photos and Ebay listings.  Today I found a link to A Japanese Book, a small online bookseller based in, you guessed it, Japan.  The owner has created a webpage that showcases 60 years of Japanese edition movable books, which you can find here.

He prefaced the list with these words: “Modern Japanese pop-up and movable books (tobidasu ehon) are still at their beginning. Japan counts numerous fine illustrators and writers, and has a very active book industry — the only thing left is for paper engineers and publishers to give one another the means to realize their desires and meet our expectations! Greatly looking forward to it.”

I too am looking forward to the creative collaborations that continue to come out of this tiny island nation.  Some of these pop-up books are simple adaptations of popular cartoon enterprises but as you scroll down to more recent titles you will see there are many winners; just like Coach Sasaki and his team of champions.


Vintage Moveable Review: Bajazzo

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

One of my favorite pop-up books is also one the most mysterious.  This German edition is titled “Bajazzo, Die Freude Heiner Leute”.  My German is very sparse but one translation I found read as: Pagliacci the happy Heiner people.  This leads us to the Italian opera Pagliacci that premiered in Milan in 1892.  Based on the paper and the coiled wire rivets I would place the book’s creation around that time period.  The book contains seven lithograph color plates with multiple movable parts activated by a pull tab.  The mechanisms are simpler than Meggendorfer and more in line with movable books from Capendu in France.  Alas, while the actions are interesting and bizarre they do not match up with the plot of the opera.  One can surmise that the movable book is less an adaptation but an original narrative starring this Italian clown.  The 25 page accompanying text suggests that the author was a Georg Tllers and the publisher may be Burgftadt or from the Burgstadt region in Germany.

While I do enjoy the book as well as a good mystery, if any reader has more insight or information on this title, please feel free to comment below.


Vintage Moveable Review: Pennsylvania State Bank

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Somewhere in between the S&L bank crisis in the 1980’s and the more recent Subprime mortgage crisis the Pennsylvania State Bank decided to send a “thank you” to their loyal customers and offer to refinance with a home equity loan.  Now, I know U.S. banking history is not too interesting, but their promotional material is of interest to me.  When you open the tri-folded business letter a woman’s hand offers a handful of small bills.  This is the first time that I have seen a small pop-up inserted into a business letter.  After all these years, it’s exciting to see something new.  I could not learn too much about this pop-up advertisement, but my guess is the letter was produced around 1993 based on the documentation.  It seems Pennsylvania State Bank has come and gone and now PNC is at that address.  Maybe too many of their loyal customers took them up on the home refinancing offer.


Whats Popped Up: Acuity Storybook Year

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Paper engineer, Andrew Baron has had a Storybook Year so far.  Andy teamed up with illustrator, Aaron Boyd and the masterminds at Dufour Advertising to create quite an impressive book.  Actually, it serves as an annual report for the Acuity insurance company based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

As in years past, Acuity was determined to come up with a creative way to inform their shareholders about the state of the company in a visually pleasing way.  They decided a collection of colorful nursery rhymes popping off the pages was the way to go, and that is where Andrew came in to provide his signature touch.  Most pop-up fans know his expertise in creating intricate movables activated by pulling a tab, and will be pleasantly surprised to see his mastery of large dimensional compositions.  One of my favorite scenes is a nervous Humpty Dumpty teetering over not a safety net but a frying pan as the king’s men race towards him.  There are dozens of other Easter eggs and sight gags hidden in the pop-ups and I can tell that the group had a lot fun developing this title.

Less than twenty thousand books were assembled in China and sent out to agents at the annual board meeting this February. Currently it is not available in any bookstores.  We can only hope (or demand) that they consider adapting the annual report and release a children’s book in the future.  Until then you can check out more photos and videos at the custom website, and read about the pop-up process from Andy here, or even keep up with the awards and accolades this project is getting at their Facebook page.