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In Focus: Colette Fu Transcript

An artist's book, opened to reveal a pop-up of many colorful flowers in a vase. The pages are dark with black writing.

Artists at Work Video Series: Colette Fu


( gentle music )

[Colette] I’m Colette Fu, and I make pop-up books with my photographs.

I start with a two-dimensional image because I came from a photography background.

The image also has to have a good story.

I like the idea that you’re looking at nothing, just a flat object, and then all of a sudden you open it,

and this unexpected three-dimensional form just pops up at you

( ethereal music )

to spread awe,

to take people away from reality.

It’s magical.

( pensive music )

Several people have actually said, “You should stop calling it pop-up books. It’s more like sculpture.”

I call it pop-up books because that’s how I learned to make them and that’s what inspired me.

Growing up, I wasn’t proud of my Chinese heritage. I guess I just wanted to blend in and be like the other kids.

My first trip to China was actually right after college graduation.

During that trip, I learned that my mother was from a ethnic minority group called the Nuosu Yi.

So I was able to travel all around Yunnan learning about the diversity of so-called Chinese people.

I think of, you know, the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

You have thoughts about something, and then all of a sudden it’s completely different.

With my work, I want to eliminate boundaries between people, between art and craft. These are all constructs that help us understand how we find ourselves in the world.

But at the same time, I don’t wanna be bound by them.

I just go where I feel like going.

And also, I wanna go somewhere where other people have not gone.

( playful music )