What would you gift to the readers who are about to open one of your books? Extreme pleasure. Euphoria!

What do pop-up books represent for you?

I have been making pop-ups and pop-up books now for about 36 years. In the beginning I conceived my pop-ups as interactive books for children and specifically books that would be attractive to the reluctant reader. I now see my pop-up books more as a form of interactive kinetic sculpture for people of all ages.

How did you come to realize this would be your vocation?

I have been an artist all of my life. When I was young, I would spend many hours drawing cars. I loved to color in coloring books and I was often found in my father’s workshop building with wood, cardboard and tools. I enjoyed working with my hands. As I got older, I learned in school that an artist could become an illustrator, so I studied illustration in college. I eventually moved to Los Angeles from my home in Utah. One of my first jobs in LA was working for Interviausl Communications, the company that is responsible for what some call the Second Golden Age of pop-up books. I remember seeing a book by Jan Pienkowski, Robot, and when I saw that book, I realized that making this kind of book is what I must do. These books are everything I love, making art and building. I got very lucky and one of my first pop-up books, How Many Bugs in a Box?, was very successful, that was when I knew that this would be my vocation.

600 punti neri

600 black spots

How do you see yourself in relation to your craft: are you an artist, a master (I would almost say magician!) in paper sculpture, or an engineer?

I see myself as an artist first, then a sculptor, engineer and author.

How do you pick the colour schemes, the techniques you will use, the materials?

Some people are voracious readers. I am a voracious consumer of art and images. I love art, all kinds of art, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, automotive design, industrial design, fashion design, music, dance, literature, all of the arts. I also love nature, birds, fish, flowers. I think that when I consume all of this, it filters through my creativity and fuels my artistic style.

There seems to be a widespread belief in the world of bookstores that all books must be useful and serve a specific purpose. Pop-ups, with their absolute beauty, seem to go against this trend. I therefore ask you: what are pop-up books “useful for” in your opinion?

I was a reluctant reader as a child. I had vision problems and reading was difficult so as I mentioned earlier, I believe that pop-up books can be attractive to the reluctant reader, with the interactivity drawing them into books in a way that other books may not. I now also see pop-up books as a form of art and as a form of entertainment to stimulate the mind and stimulate creativity. I hope my art tickles your mind.

If you had a super-power, what would you gift to the readers who are about to open one of your books?

Extreme pleasure. Euphoria!

Suono BiancoWhite noise

Adults sometimes avoid buying pop-up books for children as they believe kids will most likely ruin them quite quickly. Do you have an opinion or advice that you would like to share with these cautious adults?

Paper can tear, and pop-up books do and will get damaged. I attended a conference of librarians in Paris where various librarians were asked to write and make presentations about this subject. One librarian pointed out that even though pop-ups do get damaged, the value of the interactivity before the book is damaged can be of enough value to certain children to make pop-ups worthwhile. Very young children who are still developing their fine motors skills often break or tear a movable piece but over time, the child will often learn how the pieces move without tearing them. I experienced this with my daughter. She was fascinated with the books in my collection and I let her use them. She did damage a few but before long she learned how to use the books without damage. I think pop-ups can help children develop their fine motors skills. That’s what I tell reluctant parents. And pop-ups are fun, kids like them and finding something other than a screen that children like can sometimes be a challenge.

Suono BiancoWhen you build your paper sculptures, do you reminisce about your childhood and does your art bring out the child inside of you? Are there any memories or emotions from your childhood that emerge when you look at your books?

Yes, I often think of my childhood when I make my art. I sometimes ask myself if little David Carter would like the piece of work and if my answer is yes, I’m happy.

Do you have a favourite amongst your books? And if you do, why that particular one?

I have a few favorites. How Many Bugs in a Box? Is a favorite because it was the beginning of a very successful series that established my career. One Red Dot is a favorite because it defines my art. The Elements of Pop-Up is a favorite because in it we share what we know about the art of paper-engineering.

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