July 28, 2011

Vintage Moveable Review: Luna Luna Pop-up

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.


Word of the Day: Aestival

Aestival \ES-tuh-vuhl\ adjective

1. Of or belonging to the summer; as, aestival diseases.

Origin: From the Latin æstas, "summer"

July 27, 2011

Word of the Day: Hoary

Hoary \HAWR-ee\ adjective

1. Tedious from familiarity; stale.
2. Gray or white with age.
3. Ancient or venerable.

Origin: Hoary derives from Middle English hor, from Old English har, "gray; old (and gray-haired)".

July 26, 2011

Weekly Beast: Angora Rabbit

Yes there is a living animal under all that hair!  The angora rabbit has been bred for its luxuriant wool for centuries and originated in Ankara, Turkey along with the Angora cat, Angora goat, and the very rare Angora goldfish.  (Okay there was no goldfish.) These fluffy bunnies were a favorite of the French monarchy in the mid 1700s and were soon the rage all over Europe.  There are four different ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) -recognized Angora rabbit breeds: English, French, Giant and Satin.  They are usually active and friendly and make great pets, especially if you need to dust under the sofa!


Artist Watch: Calvin Nicholls

Calvin Nicholls is a Canadian artist who works in paper.  His paper sculptures have been in children's books, corporate offices, and advertisements.  Nicholls began working in paper as an illustrative medium in the 1980s and hasn't stopped since!  The amount of detail that goes into his sculptures is incredible!  Check out all the pieces of paper on the beavers!  And the feathers on the birds!  Lots of time and patience is definitely needed for these works.

Check out more of Nicholl's work here!


Word of the Day: Legerdemain

Legerdemain \lej-ur-duh-MAIN\ noun

1. Sleight of hand.
2. A display of skill, trickery, or artful deception.

Legerdemain is from Old French leger de main, literally "light of hand":  leger, "light" + de, "of" + main, "hand."

July 25, 2011

Whats Popped Up: The Wizards of Houston

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.


Word of the Day: Pukka

Pukka \PUHK-uh\ adjective

1. Authentic; genuine.
2. Superior; first-class.

Origin: Pukka comes from Hindi pakka, "cooked, ripe," from Sanskrit pakva-, from pacati, "he cooks".

July 22, 2011

Word of the Day: Arriviste

Arriviste \a-ree-VEEST\ noun

1. A person who has recently attained success, wealth, or high status but not general acceptance or respect; an upstart.

Origin:  Arriviste comes from French, from arriver, "to arrive," from (assumed) Vulgar Latin arripare, "to reach the shore," from Latin ad-, "to, toward" + ripa, "shore".

July 21, 2011

Artist Watch: Brittney Lee

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.


Word of the Day: Pangram

Pangram \PAN-gruhm\ noun

1. A sentence, verse, etc. that includes all the letters of the alphabet.

Origin: Pangram is combination of the Greek pan-, "all" and -gram, "related to writing".

History Lesson: Bruce Lee Passes Away

On July 20th, 1973 the martial-arts expert and actor Bruce Lee died in Los Angeles at the age of 32.  He died from a brain edema that was possibly caused by a prescription painkiller.

Jun Fan (Bruce) Lee was born on November 27, 1940 in California.  A year later Lee and his family moved to Hong Kong where he starred in roughly 20 Chinese films as a child actor.  Lee studied dancing and also trained in Wing Chun style of gung fu (also known as 'kung fu').  In 1959 Lee moved back to America where he went to the University of Washington and opened a martial-arts school in Seattle.

Lee moved with his wife and children to Los Angeles where he starred as Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet (1966-1967).  He later went on to make films in Hong Kong where he established himself as an action star in Asia.  His last film Enter the Dragon (1973) was released in the United States, but Lee tragically died one month before the film was released.

July 20, 2011

Word of the Day: Crabwise

Crabwise \KRAB-wahyz\ adverb

1. sideways
2. to move like a crab

Weekly Beast: Rainbow Toad

Ansonia latidisca was rediscovered recently by Indraneil Das.  Ansonia latidisca is also known as the Bornean rainbow toad which hasn't been seen since 1924!  Below is the first ever photograph of the toad; check out all of the amazing colors on it!  It's pretty amazing to see a toad that resembles some of the papers here in the studio!


July 18, 2011

Whats Popped Up: A Japanese Book

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.


Word of the Day: Deipnosophist

Deipnosophist \dyp-NOS-uh-fist\ noun

1. Someone who is skilled in table talk.

Origin: Deipnosophist comes from the title of a work written by the Greek Athenaeus in about 228 AD, Deipnosophistai, in which a number of wise men sit at a dinner table and discuss a wide range of topics.  It is derived from deipnon, "dinner" + sophistas, "a clever or wise man."

July 14, 2011

Vintage Moveable Review: Bajazzo

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.


Word of the Day: Troglodyte

Troglodyte \TROG-luh-dyt\ noun

1. A member of a primitive people that lived in caves, dens, or holes; a cave dweller.
2. One who is regarded as reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish.

Origin: Troglodyte comes from Latin Troglodytae, a people said to be cave dwellers, from Greek Troglodytai, from trogle, "a hole" + dyein, "to enter."

July 13, 2011

History Lesson: Live Aid Concert

On July 13, 1985, Live Aid is opened by Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the Wembley Stadium in London.  Live Aid is the brainchild of Bob Geldof, the singer of an Irish rock group called the Boomtown Rats.  After hearing news about the horrific famine in Africa and traveling to Ethiopia, he put together Live Aid to raise awareness of this crisis.

Live Aid was a 16 hour "superconcert" that was globally linked via satellite.  The majority of the artists performed at Wembley Stadium or at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium.  At the end of the "superconcert" they had raised $125 million for famine relief for Africa.

Word of the Day: Dishabille

Dishabille \dis-uh-BEEL\ noun

1.  The state of being carelessly or partially dressed.
2.  Casual or lounging attire.
3.  An intentionally careless or casual manner.

Origin: Dishabille comes from French déshabiller, "to undress," from dés-, "dis-" + habiller, "to clothe, to dress."

July 12, 2011

Weekly Beast: Emperor Tamarin

The Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator) is a tamarin supposedly named after the German emperor Wilhelm II.  The Emperor Tamarin is a primate that inhabits tropical rain forests, living deep in the forest and also in the open tree-covered areas.  They live in groups of 2 to 8 animals with the oldest female leading the group.

Artist Watch: Another Studio for Design

How amazing would it be to receive a post card that pops up AND can grow a mini garden?  The London based Another Studio for Design thought it would be pretty great, so they created PostCarden!  PostCarden are pop up greeting cards that contain seeds you can grow in the pop up environment.  Check out the video and images below to see just how amazing they are! 


Word of the Day: Nonplus

Nonplus \non-PLUHS\ transitive verb

1.  To cause to be at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; to confound; to perplex; to bewilder.

Origin: Nonplus is from the Latin  non plus, "no more".  To be nonplussed is to be at a point where "no more" can be said or done.

July 11, 2011

What's Popped Up: Center for Book Arts

Last week I was fortunate enough to pay a visit to the Center for Book Arts to view their two newest exhibitions.  One is curated from their permanent collection and the other is 'The Un(framed) Photograph'.  Both are really well thought out and I feel the artists took the idea of photographs being unframed but still arranged (whether in book form or other wise) and ran with it.  There's even a giant pop up book on display by Colette Fu!  So if you have a chance to visit NYC, swing by the Center for Book Arts and check out these exhibitions!

Word of the Day: Deciduous

Deciduous \dih-SIJ-oo-uhs\ adjective

1. Falling off or shed at a particular season, stage of growth, etc.
2. Shedding the leaves annually, as certain trees and shrubs.
3. Not permanent; transitory.

Deciduous derives from the Latin dēciduus, "tending to fall."

July 8, 2011

Word of the Day: Torrefy

Torrefy \TAWR-uh-fahy\ verb

1. To subject to fire or intense heat
2. In pharmacology, to dry or parch drugs with heat
3. To roast, as metallic ores.

Origin: Torrefy stems from the two Latin roots torrēre "to dry up" and facere "to put, or make so"

July 7, 2011

Vintage Moveable Review: Pennsylvania State Bank

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.


Word of the Day: Eldritch

Eldritch \EL-drich\ adjective

1. Strange; unearthly; weird; eerie.

Origin:  Eldritch perhaps derives from a Middle English word meaning "fairyland,
 from Middle English elf, "elf" (from Old English aelf) + riche, "kingdom" (from Old English rice).


July 6, 2011

History Lesson: Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton

On July 11th, 1804  one of the most infamous moments in U.S. history occurred on a windswept plain at Weehawken, New Jersey when sitting Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shot the former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.  The two men met in a duel after Hamilton had publicly disparaged the wealthy and influential Burr.  Though the idea of two respected government officials settling their differences in such a brutal manner may seem bizarre to us today it was a socially acceptable course of action at that time though few proclaimed duels actually ended in shots being fired.  This event has been reenacted in many plays, movies, and T.V. shows and was the basis for a very successful T.V. commercial for milk!  Hours after being shot Hamilton died in Manhattan.  Burr was accused of murder in New York but was able to finish out his term as vice president with immunity.  However his political career never recovered its earlier luster.


Artist Watch: Yowayowa Camera Woman

I've stumbled across this great website of a Japanese artist's photography.  Natsumi appears to be levitating in her photos, but in fact she's jumping!  It's all about time and when the camera shutter actually opens.

I'm really in love with the whimsical feeling of these portraits, Natsumi makes it look so easy to just fly off the train or hover in a telephone booth.  Check out more of her work here:



Word of the Day: Recidivism

Recidivism \rih-SID-uh-viz-uhm\ noun

1.  A tendency to lapse into a previous condition or pattern of behavior; especially, a falling back or relapse into prior criminal habits.

Recidivism derives from Latin recidivus, "falling back," from recidere, "to fall back," from re-, "back" + cadere, "to fall".  One who relaspses or who is an incorrigible criminal is a recidivist.

July 5, 2011

Whats Popped Up: Acuity Storybook Year

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.