I was born outside Chicago, Illinois into a very artistic household.  My mother, a
former art teacher, and my father, a kitchen designer, always encouraged me to
explore the world of art.  By the end of high school I was devoting half the day to
various art classes.  I went on to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and
enrolled in the painting department.  After finishing my studies in fine arts, I began a
second degree in art history.  It was at this time where my art-making practices and
love of history and books came together and I began to make artists books.  In one
bookmaking course I took as an exchange student in Australia, I was reintroduced
to the world of pop-up books.  Fond memories of dismantling popup books as an
inquisitive child flooded back and I realized I was once again drawn to the novelty
and surprise of these children’s books.  I began to teach myself everything there
was to know about how to make pop-ups. After exhausting the few instructional
books available to me, I visited library book sales and dissected and repaired “well-
loved” pop-up and pull tab books.  As my fascination with pop-up design grew, I
was determined to apprentice under some of the great contemporary bookmakers
to further my education and obsession.
I moved to Santa Fe to study under Andrew Baron, who taught me the intricacies of pop-up and movable book
production; from initial concept to follow-up revisions of released titles.  He invited me to participate in the creation
of a book titled
Celebration, honoring the tenth anniversary of the Movable Book Society.   This group of collectors,
designers, sellers, and fans is a wonderful resource and has been a leading supporter of pop-ups across the
world.  I was delighted to be working with some of the most well known people in the pop-up community, as well
as, handle and recreate treasured pop-ups from the past.  During this time I was fortunate enough to take part in
an artist book show entitled
Stand & Deliver curated by Ed Hutchins.  Not only was a moveable entry of mine
accepted, but I was also able to create a pop-up catalog that accompanied the touring exhibit.

Soon after the completion of
Celebration, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart asked me to join them at their
studio in New York.  Again I found myself working under the most innovative and creative minds in the field.  I also
found myself back in school, except this time I was grading projects instead of slaving over them. I have been
fortunate to teach a course on paper engineering (which is a fancy term for pop-up design) at Pratt Institute for a
couple years now.  I am amazed at how quick my students understand the mechanics behind the pop-ups, and I
wish there was a class like this when I was first learning how to make books!  Shortly after my arrival to

Manhattan, I was offered the chance to write and design a pop-up book about castles and medieval life.  I could
not pass up the chance to construct giant castles and knights in shining armor.  So I got to work and one year later
Castle: Medieval Days and Knights officially hit the book shelves.  To this day, I can still be found at my drafting
table, devising new ways for paper to defy gravity and peoples’ expectations.

- Kyle Olmon

Sign Up