When were you introduced to origami?
I have been folding since I was five or six years old. My first book was called Prehistoric Origami by John Montroll, and it made a deep impression on me. I started folding as many models as I could and created my first original design in 1999 when I was 10. It was a simple pig based on John Montroll's work.
I have learned origami mainly from books... there are a lot of great origami books from creators all over the world. I am always amazed by the way they can fold whatever they want using just one uncut square, so when I design my own models, I also try to use one square only. That's a real challenge every time, but when I succeed, it's the most wonderful feeling.
|Tiny horse folded from one piece of Vietnamese money|
Who else has inspired you?
When I began designing my own models I usually referred to books and instructions by Robert J. Lang, Kamiya Satoshi, and Komatsu Hideo. Their works are so inspiring and they have developed many techniques that I can use in designing origami.
In 2005 I joined Vietnam Origami Group (VOG) - the community of origami enthusiasts in Vietnam. We learn from one another and become better and better. Through VOG, I met a Vietnamese/USA artist, Giang Dinh. He is a great origami artist with minimalistic style. I learn from him not the designing techniques, but the philosophy of doing origami. He has helped me and VOG so much.
There are many amazing origami artists such as Yoshizawa Akira, Eric Joisel, David Brill, Joseph Wu, Hojyo Takashi, Seiji Nishikawa, Fumiaki Kawahata, Tomoko Fuse, Kunihiko Kasahara... and even more that I admire. I'm so sorry that I can't list all of them here.
Do you have a favorite model that you have made?
My favorite models are the ones that I like to fold. So far, the model that gives me the most enjoyable moment when folding it is the gorilla. It's not so complex, but not simple either. The folding process is fun and I can fold it endless times. Besides the gorilla, I like scorpion, so I have folded scorpions in many styles - simple to super-complex, abstract to detailed, realistic models.
Are you a full-time artist?
I admit that origami is more than a hobby to me, but it will take a long time to consider it my career. Being a full-time origami artist is very difficult. Many people still think that origami is not art and only for children. So now I'm rather focus on creating beautiful origami artwork than making money from origami.
|Boy on Water Buffalo|
Have any of your designs been published?
Yes, I have contributed to many books and magazines and worked as a co-author on some books. You can find some of my instructions (diagrams) in the JOAS (Japan Origami Academic Society) books and magazines, OUSA (Origami USA) collection 2008, and other books. In 2008, my eagle was published in Licence to Fold - a collection of many models from authors around the world. With this book, I had a chance to put my work next to many artists who I admire. In 2011, Vietnam Origami Group collaborated with Nicolas Terry to publish 50 hrs of Origami + which featured five of my designs.
I hope one day I will publish a book with such great quality as the artists above and inspire others to design origami.
|Great White Shark|
See more of Cường's work on his Flickrstream, Black Scorpion.