Thank you to Jean-Paul and Denice from BestPopUpBooks.com for the interview and for creating an amazing site full of unique pop up books news, interview, and video reviews. This article originally appeared at http://www.bestpopupbooks.com/interview-rosston-meyer-from-poposition-press/ Rosston, who’s representing Poposition Press, answered some questions we asked him about The Pop-Up Art Book and his work as a paper engineer.
BPUB – How did your love for pop-up books started?
RM – Like many people, I had a few pop-up books as a kid. But it was when I was a teenager and I got a copy of Robert Sabuda’s Alice in Wonderland book that I was first really amazed by a pop-up book and had the thought to one day make one myself.
BPUB – What’s your history with paper and paper engineering?
RM – I had a loose idea to make a pop-up with some of the artists I was a fan of from the comic book and designer toy worlds, but that idea sat with me for about fifteen years before I really did anything with it. It was kind of one of those things I would talk about here and there, but didn’t actually do anything with. That was until 2013 when I started working with Jim Mahfood on what would become my first pop-up book, Pop Up Funk. My brother Marc and I worked together on that book, both designing and then assembling 100 copies, so that was really my first foray into the world of paper art and pop-up books. There were a lot of unknowns with that project from: cost per book, time involved to assemble a copy, and how to best make the pop-ups work. After that book was done and released, I knew that I wanted to make another book. But I had to look at getting it mass produced in a professional pop-up assembly factory, which is what happened with the follow up book, The Pop Up Art Book.
BPUB – Do you have any plans or offers for higher volumes and more commercial titles?
RM – Yes, starting now in 2016, I have a few art books planned similar to the ones that Poposition has already released, as well as a more commercial book focused on just one subject. I’m working with a handful of different paper engineers on this upcoming project and look forward to seeing what everyone involved comes up with, and how it all comes together. Look for an announcement on this book the first few months of 2016, and hopefully a release in the summertime.
As far as quantity, moving forward the artist books will have runs of at least 1000 copies (just like The Pop Up Art Book’s run), and possibly 2500 copies.
BPUB – Who are your favorite and most inspiring popup book authors or paper engineers?
RM – I would say one of my favorite paper engineers would have to be Matthew Reinhart, because the work that he puts out book after book just gets more impressive as time goes one. The flip style effect found in his Transformers book is just amazing to me.
Another paper engineer I have a lot of respect for is Roger Culbertson. I initially met Roger back in Florida around 2005, when I had some interest in pop-ups but no solid ideas or plans on what to do. Roger showed me all sorts of books and promotional items he had worked on and I was amazed by what could be done with paper. Fast forward about ten year after I’ve put a few books out on my own, and Roger and I have worked together on a commercial pop-up project for an agency in Singapore. He’ll be one of the engineers on the commercial book I previously mentioned.
Finally, David Carter is another favorite engineer of mine, especially with the artistic shapes found in his One Red Dot series of books. I find those books to be very interesting with the use of primarily colors and simple shapes, and how he’s designed interactivity into those book (finding the One Red Dot or 600 black spots, for example) David is one of the first people in the pop-up book world that I got in contact with when starting to make my own books and he’s been very helpful and supportive in many ways. He too will be one of the engineers in the aforementioned book.
BPUB – What’s the most difficult/technical spread you have ever made and why?
RM – That would be the “Onna Bune 1” spread, which was the special page that came with Junko Mizuno’s Artist Editions of The Pop Up Art Book. It was the most difficult page I’ve done because there were so many small pieces to extract from the original art, and I feel that the final pop-up version is in a way better than the original in that it truly gives the sense of a full scene with the boat visible on top of the ocean, compared to the original art which has a lot going on.
BPUB – How did you get to collaborate with great artists such as Jim Mahfood and Junko Mizuno?
RM – I’ve been very lucky to be able to work with my favorite artists. I got to know Jim Mahfood first by working with him on his website (my day job is Web Designer) and I always had the idea to make pop-ups out of his work but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Eventually, around 2012, we started talking about it seriously and after one spread was made, he agreed to creating fill in and cover the art for an entire ten page book. Getting that made was no small feat and my brother Marc helped me both with the design of that book and the extremely labourous task of cutting, assembling and binding those ten page into a 100 copy run of Pop Up Funk.
BPUB – Are you planning to release a book with your own artwork and paper engineering in the future?
RM – Not with my own artwork, as I don’t think badly drawn stick figure type art lends itself well to a pop-up book! Honestly, I feel as if there’s an unlimited amount of incredible artwork that can be made into pop-ups. So as far as the art books I’ll be focusing on making books with visual artists rather than make the art myself.
“I think Kickstarter is a great way to get the word out about unique pop-up book projects. The goal for The Pop-Up Art Book’s Kickstarter was reached in about a week or so.”
BPUB – We have recently seen new popup book projects on KickStarter. Do you think that indie productions are the future of popup books?
RM – Yes, I think Kickstarter is a great way to get the word out about unique pop-up book projects. The goal for The Pop-Up Art Book’s Kickstarter was reached in about a week or so. Which I’d like to attribute to both the existing audiences that each artist involved has, as well as the ongoing promotion that I’ve been doing for Poposition on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. By the time the project was launched, a lot of people already knew about the book and that helped the goal get reached quickly.
BPUB – Your books represent a mix of comic and street art. Have you ever considered making a pop-up book just about graffiti?
RM – Yes, I have thought about this and talked to some people that are known in the graffiti world. I think the difficult thing is getting the right people to do it, those that have a large appeal and are known like some of these other artists. With graffiti it’s tricky because a lot of people don’t want to be known and the few (Fairey, DAIM, Invader) that are likely bigger than life, wouldn’t want to do a pop-up. So I think the selection of artists, and artwork (or photographs, I guess) is the tricky part. A lot of the artist I’m working with do mural work but aren’t necessarily known as ‘graf’ writers. But ever since I was a teenager and first see DAIM’s work on the web I’ve thought… pop-up!?!
BPUB – What do you think of bestpopupbooks.com ?
RM – I think it’s a great site and resource for pop-up book collector and paper engineers. There aren’t many sites dedicated to pop-up book news and interviews like BestPopUpBooks.com is, and even fewer people doing video reviews of books. I’m honored to be asked to do this interview and hope to see many more video reviews on the site throughout the year.
Thank you Rosston! We can’t wait for your next project!
Published by Poposition Press
Paper Engineering by Rosston Meyer and Marc Meyer
Book Design by Kevin Steele
Howling Masher by Aaron Woes Martin
Morrigan Lupus by Skinner
Drowning Party by Kozyndan
Pancakes by Junko Mizuno
The Water Nebula by Tara McPherson
Bubble Gum Gangsters by Jim Mahfood
The design and paper engineering of The Pop-Up Art Book took place in the United States and has been printed and assembled in China.