Ask a Designer: What is Pop-up paper art Peter Dahmen?

Ask a Designer: What is Pop-up paper art Peter Dahmen?


Pop-up art by Peter Dahmen. It’s been almost thirty years since the graphic
designer fashioned his first models. Now, they’re his livelihood. Millions of internet users have already admired
these pop-up objects. In early 2017 one video of Dahmen’s creations
went viral in just a few days and was shared hundreds of thousands of times. “It just blew me away. I never expected this – suddenly, my email
in-box was overflowing with enquiries from all over the world. I got a call from India; I got enquiries from
Dubai and, of course, from Europe and America. It was sensational.” In 2013, Dahmen began to specialize in pop-ups
exclusively. He’s created over one hundred items, so far. He makes cards, creates works on commission
– such as this minature building – and packaging for customers around the globe. Some objects he developed out of sheer curiosity. Every pop-up is one of a kind. “Quite often, it’s like a brain-teaser. I rarely even know how I’m going to go about
it – I find out by trial and error. Sometimes, I’ll make three or four tries without
finding the solution. Then, if the fifth one works,, I’m totally
overjoyed.” Peter Dahmen doesn’t make any drawings when
he creates a new model. He starts right off cutting paper. It can take him anywhere from two weeks to
two months to finish one object. He develops smaller-scale models first for
larger projects. As with the African wildlife he designed for
a major trade-fair project using his folding technique. The final version was nearly ten meters long
and five meters tall – one of the biggest pop-ups ever created anywhere. “The hardest part is always working out the
curves and arches, since I have to fold everything down flat. A normal paper crease is always, always, always
a straight line. So, if you want to make a sphere or a snail
shell, you have to find a way to break or expand on this rule. Often, that’s quite a challenge.” Peter Dahmen provides the templates for some
of his simpler designs on the internet for free. On his YouTube channel, he explains – in English
– how to cut them out and put them together step by step. “Repeat the steps until all 10 pieces from
1 to 10 are assembled.” “The first videos I shot weren’t tutorials. But the most frequent comments on YouTube
were like, ‘I’d like to do that, too. I want to learn how.'” Dahmen has even created pieces for a magician. “Tazlo…What is 236 multiplied by 501?” Marco Tempest wanted to use the technique
in his magic show. Highly specialized projects like this inspire
Peter Dahmen to keep on creating new ideas. “Even though I’ve been working with this technique
for many years, I still see it as a minor miracle when a pop-up object takes shape right
before my eyes. I just can’t get enough of it.” Peter Dahmen’s internet success is spawning
more and more inquiries. It’ll be fascinating to see what suprising
new solutions will ‘pop up’ for Peter Dahmen’s clients and fans the world over.

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