Hello Denver, My Name is Rosston Meyer

Welcome to our series, Hello Denver, My Name is… where we profile individuals in Denver that you don’t know — but should. Get ready to meet with comedians, dancers, painters, musicians, designers and just generally people who help make this city awesome. 

When was the last time you enjoyed a pop-up book and opened?

If you can’t recall when, it’s time you opened a book from Poposition Press — an independent, one-man publishing house in Westminster which makes pop-up books with original art from artists of all styles. Owner and mastermind behind the adult-oriented pop-up publication designs is Rosston Meyer, a Florida native who moved to Denver in 2015 with his wife. Meyer began Poposition Press just a few years before moving to Colorado, after a collaboration with an artist he already admired, in 2013.

Now, six years into his choice to create pop-up books fulltime (a sentence we never thought we’d be writing), Meyer has collaborated with handfuls of musicians, published five full-length books, began making 3D prints and even exhibited in the current Locals Only art series at Mirus Gallery.  This year, Meyer will be part of the release of a marijuana-themed pop-up publication named Dimensional Cannabis, with illustrations by artist Mike Giant.

Meyer is a curator, a designer, a problem-solver, a paper engineer, a collector, a comic book fan and so much more — and all those interests and skills coalesce in his customized pop-up books. Each publication is made by hand after Meyer and the artist have exchanged countless hours of redrafts and edits — with each bit cut out, positioned and secured by Meyer himself.

Walking into Meyer’s house-studio-office, there isn’t any doubt that he has been led by his passion for seeking out art that speaks to him on this path. His love and admiration for visual art in all its derivations fuels Poposition Press. And the wonder and animation he brings to artists work is nothing short of magnificent.

Denver, meet with art fan and the paper engineer behind Poposition Press, Rosston.

The transformation from 2D to 3D, with a print by Jim Mahfood

303 Magazine: Do you recall the first time you encountered a pop-up book? What was it like?

Rosston Meyer: I do, it was Mickey’s Pop Up Book of Shapes which was not destroyed and is in my collection. It’s a thin book with mechanisms that are pop-up that are basic where Mickey and his team are in encounter crazy stuff and the circus like cubes, triangles and circles.

303: When did you start creating art that is pop-up?

RM: I began experimenting with pop-ups when I was in my 20s. I had been taking some art classes at Florida Atlantic University and my final project that semester was this massive colorful pop-up scene with flowers and trees and a small black box with a stick figure in a tie working. Before actually doing anything about 26, I dabbled in it and always wanted to figure it out a bit for quite a long time.

303: Was there a formative moment in deciding to do something niche, for you?

RM: Yes, so I had the idea to produce books that I like for years. I had met Jim Mahfood and pitched the idea to create one to him somewhere around 2010/11. Finally in 2013 we began working on what became my first pop up book — Pop Up Funk that was a publication featuring some of Jim&rsquo. So if it wasn’t for Jim saying yes then, none of this could have ever happened.

Only 100 copies of that publication were created and are gone, so we’re working on a re-release of Pop Up Funk right now which will feature a few pages that were new and some old pages.

303: What were the initial challenges with art? 

RM: The initial challenges were figuring out the basics so far as paper engineering goes. Reverse engineering art can be easy in the initial mockup stage, but sometimes hard to figure out how to actually make it work. That’s a challenge in regards to paper engineering.

303: What are a few of the challenges?

RM: After designing and producing a couple intricate pop-ups at this point I believe that the challenges for me to find a middle ground between something that doesn’t have a good deal of assembly steps and something which has that wow factor. Naturally, pieces that are very complicated are always impressive, but simply engineered spreads with terrific artwork are equally as effective. Keep it simple. That’s really important to keep in mind with what I&rsquo.

Click to view slideshow.

303: I read in another interview with you which you go through hundreds of email exchanges. Which are the parts of the cooperation that is intense, and what are the challenges?

RM: Since mostly I use preexisting artwork, there’s a lot of time spent on both my own and the artist’s end trying to figure out how to pick apart each element of the first art and add dimension to it. So that part is kind of a challenge before some of the work is finished that & rsquo; s figured out. There are elements for the artists and a lot of work by nature of how paper engineering is for me — which is always a challenge.

The most rewarding part is that after revisions, communications, all the work, and just time spent on a single page it’s a motivating [feeling ] to see it finished. It’s motivating for me with the spreads that in the beginning seem impossible to do you’ve got it all figured out.

303: Do you see yourself as artist, collector, designer, an engineer — or any combination of all that and more?

RM: Definitely a combination of these things but if I had to pick one it’d be designer. Despite the fact that pop-ups and paper engineering is an art form on its own, I feel like I’m designing a product that is exceptional with their art and taking work. I also consider myself a collector, as I’ve been collecting and observing a few of the artists I’ve worked with for years before doing anything.

Meyer holding a pop-up stand-alone print by Kristen Liu-Wong

303: Do you favor certain styles of art? Why or why not?

RM: I guess I have my favorite artists and have been lucky to have the ability to work with everybody I&rsquo. There definitely are artists that I don’t like for one reason or another, so they probably won’t get contacted about doing a pop up book. After working with varying types of art, I feel like I can make a pop up out of any artists’ work. I’ll figure it out. Some may not have sufficient detail to become a pop up like those in the books I&rsquo can ’ t make for a successful pop-up t mean it.

303: Any artists you hope to collaborate with in the future? 

RM: There’s a great deal of things in the pipeline, and I’m really excited to be working on a publication with Shag. His art has gotten more complex and is excellent. Other musicians that I‘d like to do something with are The London Police, Hueman, McBess, Herakut, Jermaine Rogers, Pejac, Nychos, Ashley Wood, Jen Stark, Alex Grey, Mars-1, Doze Green, Bonethrower, Jacob Bannon, Sam Flores, Anthony Lister, Jeremy Fish, Glenn Barr, Tara McPherson, James Jean and for sure Tristan Eaton.

303: Tell me about the book you’re excited about releasing this year. 

RM: The next book I’ve got coming out is something that’s been in the works and is quite Colorado — the world’s cannabis pop-up publication. Titled Dimensional Cannabis, the book contains six spreads relating to different aspects of cannabis culture — history, anatomy, paraphernalia, health, farming and culture. Mike Giant is currently illustrating it with six paper engineers each doing one page, so each spread has its own style, so far as the paper engineering goes. Dimensional Cannabis published toward the end of 2019 and will be available to pre-order shortly.

Click to view slideshow.

303: This last question comes from our previous interviewee, Jasmine Lewis: If you could be any mythical creature what would it be and why? 

RM: I would be a Sea Goat because a mermaid isn’t my style. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be part goat? Goats rule.

To find out more, visit the Poposition Press website, here

All photography by Karson Hallaway.

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