wat is art?

interviews and the artist perspective


Studying architecture in university. I’ve been on an eight months internship from January-August 2008; The type of art I’ve been enjoying most was folding miniature origami; though I doubt I’ll be doing much of that while in school, though you can expect more photos and drawings

TR: You have taken an ancient art form and brought something quite unique to it. How do you describe your art?

MT: I would say it is like another world.

Origami itself is a rather spiritual form of art; the most typical being the peace crane, which comes with the legend that if you fold a thousand your wish will come true. “Ori” means fold and “gami” means paper, but can also mean God; hence while “origami” means folding paper, it can also mean a “Folding God”. My art is also very small so while it is a spiritual world, it is also a small one. I take photos of my origami with my hand to present the creator and the creation. We can only understand size, fragility and significance when we compare two things. When we think, for example, how big the world is, we’re like tiny speck of sand, or even atoms, to the eyes of a God holding the earth in his palm. I am an “Ori-Gami” who does origami. I call my creations “Tiny Treasures” (actually it was Karin Taylor who came up with that name; she is a great support who always appreciates my work.)

TR: When did it all begin for you?

MT: Back in elementary school my teacher read to our class the story of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. While Sadako Sasaki was in the hospital, friends and family saved scraps of paper for her to fold paper cranes out of. In one particular moment of the story, Sadako’s mother paid a visit and gave Sadako a piece of paper which her sister saved for her. Sadako takes the paper and says “Mmmm, smells like candy. I hope God likes chocolate”. Everyone laughed including Sadako.

After being read that story I went through an origami obsession; I saved bits of paper and candy wrappers, then did origami out of them. Candy wrappers were often rectangular, so I’d cut the biggest square I could out of them and fold candy wrapper cranes. Afterwards I’d make smaller cranes from the left over bits of the candy wrappers, and then attempt to make even smaller cranes from the leftovers of the leftover.

I have recently come back to my childhood passion of folding tiny cranes and attempted to fold the smallest cranes I possibly could. It began around the start of April 2008; one day I took a random strip of paper and cut a square to fold a crane out of. I was daydreaming so I wasn’t paying attention to how small the paper was.After completing the crane I realized how tiny it was. This was the crane I used for my photograph “Born from the Hand”

Since I was able to accomplish that I decided to try going even smaller. From then on I began doing a series of miniature origami.

TR: How difficult is it to for you to create your artwork, and then photograph it?

MT: That all depends on what I make, how big it is and what paper I use. “Born from the Hand” was pretty easy to fold, but I certainly struggled a lot with the photography! In many attempts the photo came out blurry because it was difficult to keep both hands still (one holding the cranes, the other holding the camera), and sometimes the crane fell off my hand as I snapped the picture; it is difficult being both the hand model and photographer!
Typically the smaller my origami is, the more difficult it is to fold and photograph. That rule applies when folding the same thing at different sizes, however a smaller origami of one thing isn’t always harder to fold than a bigger origami of something different. “Bloomed from Finger” was more difficult to fold than “Born from the Pinky” despite being folded from a paper more than twice as big; it was easy to photograph though.

There are a few other exceptions. For example, I find a normal sized sailboat is easier to fold than a normal sized crane, but a really tiny sailboat (like the one in Sailing Along The Lifeline is harder to fold than a really small crane of similar size. With practice I have gotten better; in both origami and photography.

TR: Does anything surprise you about how others perceive your art?

MT: Despite that the “wow” factor of my art is its tiny size; the most popular one is my biggest crane; but then again it is easier to appreciate art that is more visible :P

TR: what does the word ART mean to you?

I had to think a long time about this one (thankfully this is not a face to face interview where I am expected to respond right away :P). Art is a very subjective term. Nowadays so many things are being called art while they may be very similar to something else which was never called art. But somehow so often we can look at two very similar things and know which one is “art” and which one isn’t. Therefore I think the word ART is personal; the artist’s aura artist has to somehow be felt in order to know that it is art. If the artist’s intention was an honest one; where he/she truly wanted to create a work of art that people will view or speculate on as an artwork; I believe the stronger those intentions are, the more likely they will be called art; whether they are appreciated or hated; but no matter what there is a reaction from an audience.

TR: Is there a special project you have been planning?

MT: I’m still doing my post-secondary studies right now, and while I aim to finish my degree and pursue my career; I would most certainly love having the opportunity to exhibit my art. I already have so many things I want to do but life is too short!

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