Pop (up) Art!

Reveal the magic and wonder inside
Pop (up) Art!
Dai Food, from the series “We are Tiger Dragon People,” 2008–2013, w24 x h24 x d11 in (open)

Movable books were originally created to illustrate ideas about astronomy, fortune telling, navigation, anatomy of the body and other scientific principles. Most commercial pop-up book publications today are geared towards children, but pop-up book structures can be used to make engaging works of art for any age- from greeting cards to animations to kinetic sculptures. Complex and engaging pop-up structures are created from a combination of basic mechanisms enhanced by play and imagination.


Fu combines her photography skills with precise paper engineering. Fu often combines up to 20 photos in her scenes. Through her use of mixed media and sculptural engineering, Fu achieves a unique collection of works. (NMWA)


Game Plan
When Fu began her career, she perused bookstores for inspiration. Fu says, “Originally, I wanted to make something like the game of Life but with photos. ”Next to a shelf of games at one store, she noticed a stack of Robert Sabuda’s detailed pop-up books. The discovery inspired Fu to engineer her own sculptural books.

  • Can you think of a time when you had a plan to create something and were unexpectedly inspired to go in another direction? Do you think the inspiration made sense and made your ideas better? Why or Why not?


  • Watch as one of Fu’s GIANT Pop-up books is opened!
  • Check out the Movable Book Society’s alphabet collection by paper engineers.


Colette Fu

Born in 1965, Fu received her MFA in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003.

Colette Fu was recently interviewed for the Asia Society blog for her artwork focusing on Chinese minority cultures. In 2008, Colette received a Fulbright Fellowship to travel to China’s Yunnan Province and photograph the 25 ethnic minorities of her mother’s hometown. That journey culminated in her latest pop-up book, We Are Tiger Dragon People, which reflects the community’s rich local histories, traditions, and tastes in colorful and vibrant collages.(Leeway Foundation interview)

Colette Fu creates complex compositions that incorporate photography and pop-up paper engineering. She has designed award-winning stop motion animation commercials and freelanced for clients including Vogue, Canon, and LVMH. Her pop-up books are included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many private and rare archive collections. Colette’s solo show about the minority ethnic groups of China was presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in the winter of 2016/2017. A passionate educator, Colette teaches pop-up workshops to people of all ages and marginalized populations at art centers, universities and institutions internationally. (WSW)