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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Matthew Reinhart - home again, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Matthew Reinhart was born on September 21, 1971 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Today, Saturday, January 22, 2011 Matthew was "back home." He was at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in conjunction with an art exhibit there. Many workshops were conducted for children, including a pop-up workshop conducted by Reinhart just before his "formal" presentation to those who had come to the museum.
During his presentation he talked about his youth - being born in Cedar Rapids, living in Iowa City, Iowa where his father attended dental school at the University of Iowa. Much of his growing up years were spent following his military father from base to base but the family (which included a younger sister, Erin) returned often to Cedar Rapids because that is where family was.
As a child he had but one pop-up book -- a dinosaur book that his sister quickly took apart before he had owned it more that 48 hours. But he loved the art in many picture books, particularly the art of Richard Scarry, Mercer Mayer (whose work was a lot like Maurice Sendak), and Peter Spier (especially, Gobble Grunt Growl).
When it was time to go to college, Matthew choose a school in South Carolina - a location where the Reinhart family had lived during Matthew's growing up years.
His parents wanted him to have a practical career so they encouraged him to select a field that would be compatible with a successful life. Matthew was good at biology (but always took some art courses on the side) so he choose medicine and was accepted into graduate school. However, he decided to take a year off and go to New York City. He did and while doing some volunteer work, he met Robert Sabuda. Robert encouraged him to follow his dream so Matthew entered Pratt with the idea of majoring in industrial design, namely toy design. For a time he worked with Blues Clues, but that fell by the wayside when Matthew discovered the world of pop-up books.  Matthew expanded his work with Sabuda.  He has been working with Sabuda since 1998, and now collaborates with other artists and his own titles as well.
He works in a studio filled with music or he listens to the audio from television shows. Two (and soon to be three) assistants work with him to create papers, draw the outlines for the pop-up pieces Matthew creates. Matthew creates the pop-ups in white, first. Then the finished prototype is carefully taken apart, assistants trace the "die" lines, and the pieces cut from custom created papers. Often a finished BLAD (Basic Layout and Design) piece is created to share with bookbuyers, librarians, etc. The BLAD is basically one pop-up created inside the covers of the proposed book, giving potential buyers and idea of the final pop-up. The BLAD is used in much the same way as an ARC (advanced reader's copy) or F&Gs (folded and gathered sheets for a picture book) are used. Reinhart and Robert Sabuda share a studio in New York City where they continue to create their own pop-ups and to collaborate on various projects. For more information about Reinhart visit his website at
Many fans (young and old) stood in line at the museum, to get their books autographed by Matthew Reinhart, and many more will visit the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art to view the exhibit that includes his work.
WIZARDS OF POP - SABUDA & REINHART -- January 22, 2011 - May 1, 2011
Wizards of Pop! Sabuda & Reinhart includes more than 80 images from 16 picture and pop-up books. The book art reveals a variety of media and techniques — with picture book illustrations in batik, marbleized paper mosaic, and delicate cut-paper, and pop-up books rendered in pencil, marker, watercolor, acrylic, and linoleum block print.

One unrelated fact about Matthew Reinhart -- he was born on September 21 and that just happens to be the designated feast day for St. Matthew -- -- wonder if that is why he was named Matthew or just-happen-stance.

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