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Pop-Up Art

Pop-Up Art is what I call my three-dimensional paintings that are interactive in that they have elements that seem to move as you move in front of them. Eyes that follow you as you walk by, for example; which is what I have done so far.

Here are the images in the order as I remember them, starting with the first ones at the bottom of the page and the newest ones at the top. Some do not have pictures because I sold the piece before I got a picture. If you have one of these, please email me a picture. I would also love to get names and/or addresses to learn where the pieces are currently residing. Please email me if you have one and send me some details.

I have started to number the pieces consecutively and have estimated the number for some of the early ones that did not get numbered. Those numbers may change in the future as I learn their rightful place.

At the bottom of the page is a more detailed explaination of the origin of Pop-Up Art and how I came to make them.

Who Dat? Cat (#17)

Who Dat? Another cat but like all of them, different from the rest. This one continues the evolution of the painting technique. Each piece seems to be getting more and more sophisticated.

This piece is currently at Tu Tu Tango at Universal City Walk at Universal Studios in Studio City, California.

Aproximate Dimensions: 27 x 24 inches (69 x 61 cm)

GoldieFish (#16)

Goldie Fish is the first single fish painting and only the second fish painting in the Pop-Up Art series. I really like the way the fish scales, and fins came out.

There was a bit of a challenge getting the eye to work while not painting a seperate head on the acrylic panel. A seperate head would disrupt the smooth fish body as you moved in front of the painting. After thinking on it for a day, I figured out how to do it. This is the first painting that uses this new technique.

The third painting (#03), is a fish bowl but uses a variation of the same technique that I have used for the cats, etc. I wish I had a picture of it, but it sold on Venice beach soon after I brought it out. Some German tourists bought it so as far as I know it's in Germany. It was the first Pop-Up Art painting I ever sold.

While I painted "Goldie Fish" in this vertical position it was pointed out to me that it works as a horizontal piece too. So I attached hangers on both the short and long sides. I signed it in the corner so it would work however the person wished to display it. If you wish to see how it would look horizontally, turn your computer monitor sideways... :)

Dimensions: aprox. 34 x 11 inches (87 x 28 cm)

Who Dat? (#15)

This is a medium sized cat. It was mostly painted at home and finished up at a resturant called Tu Tu Tango, in Orange County, California. They have artists go there and paint and then the artist is free to display the work for sale there. It's a great deal as you get publicity and exposure while the work hangs there everyday. When a piece sells they send you a check, but it takes a few months since it has to go through thier main offices which is in Florida, I think.

Dimensions: Aproximately 24 x 12 inches (61 x 31 cm)

Giant Robot (#14)

This is my third or fourth robot painting. Giant Robot is very unique however for several reasons. Giant Robot is the first and so far (as of 5/2005) only Pop-Up Art piece that has a sigificant background and foreground. #03 is a fish bowl but if I remember correctly it does not have a lot of detail in the bowl except for blue for water. Giant Robot has a whole cityscape which adds depth as well as a story element, rather than just some color.

This is also the most rendered robot I have made so far and the extra work really helps with the drama of the whole piece. I used some florecent Chartreuse to suggest the city lights reflecting on the robot's metal body and hands for example. Click on the image for a larger view.

Giant Robot was painted at the Orange County Tu Tu Tango over the course of a few visits. I had Giant Robot in my truck as I was taking it to various galleries and a pipe and cigar smoking, poker playing pal of mine saw it. His place is decorated very retro '50's and '60's, which is kind of the feeling I go for when I paint the robots. The next weekend he bought it and now Giant Robot lives there. He tells me that he thinks of Giant Robot as a guardian and likes that the city is not in flames or anything. I'm happy he's happy and that this special painting has found a special home.

I did not measure this piece, but I think it's about 28 x 12 inches (71 x 31 cm)

Scare Crow (#13)

Scare Crow is one of a small Special Edition Series I did last year for Holloween. The most obvious indicator of this is that the wood board is black, not the usual red.

This was one of the first times I started getting more sophisticated with my painting technique. The pumpkin head and coat are more rendered and I like the way the straw hand came out. The cut out mouth really looks like cut pumpkin and adds a nice 3D touch. Except for the Howdy Series most of the paintings up to this point were pretty simple, and priced accordingly.

The others in this Holloween Series, were Pirate Kitty (#12), and Spider (#11). They also have a black board foundation.

Scare Crow is now at the resturant Tu Tu Tango at Universal City Walk, Studio City, California.

Click on the picture to check out the details.

Howdy with Cane (#10)

This charicter I've named Howdy due to the tipping-of-the-hat greeting he offers the viewer. I've made quite a few Howdy paintings, but "Howdy with Cane (#10)" is not only the biggest Howdy painting I've made, he's the biggest Pop-Up Art painting I've made so far (5/2005). It is also the first time I had room for his second hand. I gave him a cane with a mini-Howdy skull handle.

Most of the Howdys, even the early ones, were a step above the other paintings in terms of rendering and overall design. They have also been the most challenging in trying to get an interesting pose and composition, while still getting the head and hat in the right position so that the eyes will follow properly.

I guess I've made about four or five Howdys so far and see no end in sight. Like the Who Dat? cats, each is a little different and always fun.

This piece is about 3.5 feet tall and almost 2 feet wide. Howdy with Cane is currently at the resturant Tu Tu Tango at Universal City Walk, Studio City, California.

Who Dat? Cats (#08)

Who Dat? (#04)

Pop-Up Art had a long and slow evolution. I learned about the simple concept that allows it to work when I was working for an artist named Chaz DeSimone, back in the 1990s. I was doing window graphics for him and he was explaining to me some of the visual tricks Disneyland used at the Haunted Mansion. I loved the simple idea, but was not sure how to implement it in artworks. I thought about it off and on for a few years before things all came together to allow it to happen.

After being on Venice Beach for a few years, I decided that I needed to sell some original pieces, not just the Zodiac Goddesses posters. However those originals took so long and were so big that I could not sell something like that on the beach. I needed a simpler, and easier concept to make it a viable match for the economics of Venice. I experimented with a few different ideas, but kept coming back to something simple, fast and eye catching. It also had to be durable to withstand being loaded and unloaded from my truck everyday as well as being able to withstand the wind, sand and general abuse that is part of an outdoor environment. I have always made my own displays for the beach and as my designs improved and evolved I was lead to a store that sells acrylic. This was the first major step towards a real possibility for making these new paintings with the Pop-Up concept I'd had for years.

The basic foundation of Pop-Up Art came about from these early ideas. I decided to make original paintings not on canvas, but on wood. That would eliminate the possibility of them being torn or broken in the truck or if they were blown over during high winds. Also, since Pop-Up Art was going to have a heavy acrylic panel attached, it needed a sturdy base (like a wood board) to support it.

For eye catching, I decided that I had the benefit of a mini gallery and was showing off many pieces at one time. By making the base color always the same in every piece I could create a large, specific, visual target that would attract more attention than having many pieces with random color patterns that would blend in with everything else.

This idea also fed into my concept of making the pieces simple and clear. I decided that besides the same red background I would only use three or four colors to make the pieces as a way of controlling myself from over working the painting and then having to sell them for too much for Venice Beach.

With a few exceptions I have managed to keep the color pallets down to four or five colors at the most. Usually four colors is all I need. GoldieFish (#16), for example, only uses Orange, light Yellow, Chartreuse, and a little Brown.

I got the idea of using nuts and bolts to attach the panels together because I like their simple functional feel and look. I decided that rather than try to attach the panels in a secret, hidden way, I should just let the bolt heads show and be a part of the overall feel of the piece. Sometimes I do camouflage them a little like when they are on a robot piece I might suggest that it's a part of the robot, for instance.

The name came from my mixture of the names "Pop-Up Book" and "Pop Art". While these are simple "popular" graphics, though not famous icons, I consider them more pop then fine art paintings. The fact that you have to interact with them, by moving back and forth for the sense of motion, and their three-dimensional look reminded me of the three-dimensional pop-up books that you have to open or pull or push or somehow interact with to get the effect.

Thus, Pop-Up Art was born.