We had the good fortune of connecting with Bruce Foster and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bruce, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Gosh, there have been so many moments that have been crossroads. Whether it be a downturn in business, a disagreement with a client, or moments of self doubt. But every time that has happened, I look back at what I have already accomplished. I put myself back to before those accomplishments that I thought would never be achieved and realize that there are so many more successes still to come! If I laugh at myself for those earlier doubts, it seems reasonable that in the future I will look back on this moment of doubt and yes, laugh once more. I pick myself up and start again, confident that only moving FORWARD is the correct path. Reversing paths or second guessing oneself is only a recipe for frustration and failure. Of course, stay cognizant of my current deficiencies, because those are the next challenges and paths to success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My artform is called paper engineering. Basically we create the magical pop-up books that hopefully surprise and bring wonder and joy to those who discover them. I am always looking for the next challenge to build upon that tradition. I am most proud of my work that has that magical quality…when the forms dance their way into position, creating wonder and delight. Today I am not only the creator of over 65 pop-up books and hundreds of cards, I am also the editor and art director of Movable Stationery, the online magazine of The Movable Book Society, the largest international community of pop-up book fans. This allows me to bring recognition and support to all of us in this field, to give back to my community. It has been a joy to unveil new books and works, revel in the careers of veterans of this artform but to also introduce the world to new talent as well. But this most definitely is not an easy profession to be successful in. There are few supporting clients who guarantee work for long. The market ebbs and flows, publishers support and/or discourage in equal turns, even world politics and economics have profound influences, both good and bad. There are no obvious or guaranteed direct paths forward. I find that we have to forge our own paths, searching for the next idea, the next magical mechanism, the next contract. And we also have to constantly challenge ourselves to do better… if not this time, certainly the next, all the while struggling to make ends meet. My own path meandered quite widely before it eventually jelled (not solidified mind you, but at least the ground has become supportive!). I survived by working in restaurants and nightclubs, freelance design, and professional graphic design positions for many years before I felt I could make this, paper engineering, my exclusive profession. Even now tho, there are moments, downturns in the momentum of the marketplace, that don’t clearly illuminate the next step forward. So it can be quite disconcerting at times. But somehow it keeps going! A new project turns up, an exciting challenge presents itself. A new idea offers an area to explore.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This question stopped me in my tracks. I thought, Houston has been a great source of pride for me in its diversity of wonderful restaurants and live music. But in this year of Covid, I haven’t been to many of them. I wondered, how many have survived? Which of my favorites are coming back? Will the new places I read about still be open when we are past this? Its like having all your favorite toys put up on a high shelf that you can neither see nor reach. I’m hoping that live music avenues like the Rustic, Cottonwood and McGonigals will be open when I’m ready to join the crowds again. Wishing that our food halls and beer halls will still be serving. Relishing a return to Tris, Eddie V’s, Torchy’s Tacos, Cyclone Anaya, or venturing out to spots that I had my eye on before all this like State of Grace, Eunice, Roost. Man, Houston always teased a new restaurant almost every week. Such great food here!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wonderful. First I would like to thank my wife, Lori, who has stood beside me in all the ups and downs and supported my journey, continuing always. And also my mother, Flo, who supported me in my childhood through today, pushing me to take the path less traveled, even as she has had her own challenges. There are two organizations that have been encouraging to my career growth as well. The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators is a wonderful organization of like minded authors and illustrators who support and educate each other to succeed in creating meaningful books. I have been a member of the Houston chapter for well over a decade. The tribe, as we call it, is full of loving and supportive friends. We all lift each other and encourage each other. Closer to home professionally, but just as supportive is The Movable Book Society, the international group of pop-up book enthusiasts. Through this organization I have met other artists who do what I do. We learn from each other, we encourage each other, and we have created a network of friends and associates the world over.
Linkedin: Bruce Foster
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