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Origami Designer's Secrets: Víctor Coeurjoly

Edited by Andrew Hudson

I met Víctor at the April 2013 AEP convention in Zaragoza, Spain. He was cutting a roll of thin foil into sheets in preparation for his master workshop. As he was one of the guests of honor at this convention, I was highly intrigued by him. I was struck by his exhibit table, as you can see from the images in this article. With very distinctive lines, unique postures and figures, Víctor presents a very mature and explicit portfolio of creations – and he is only 20 years old. On the train home, I realized I had left with so many unanswered questions, which led me to conduct an email interview with him.

All images courtesy of Víctor Coeurjoly

I proudly introduce Víctor Coeurjoly!

Who is Víctor Coeurjoly?? Please tell me in five sentences what I must know about you.

In his world, Víctor Coeurjoly is a child who doesn't know himself and the world in which he lives. All he knows are facts that he has deduced by himself. He tries to bring into the real world what he knows about his own world. In the real world, he uses his mathematical and logical mind to survive, love, study, work and live. But in his own world logic, mathematic, love and life have nothing to do with the real world.

What is origami to you? Why are you interested in origami? What was the first model you folded? What types of origami do you like to fold and to create?

I have no idea what is origami for me, because I don't know its limits yet. I don't know if it will be my work, my love, my life, or only the way to connect my two worlds. Origami is a mathematical way to make art, but not only mathematics; in many of my models, maths are insulted and injured. I like to fold mathematical models, but to create incalculable and unexpected models which math can't define.

What inspires you? Do you fold other people's models? If so, do you have a favorite designer? What three origami books will you take with you if you are stranded on an island? If you don’t fold others' models, why not?

Quite a while ago, I occasionally folded medium and complex models by Robert Lang, Satoshi Kamiya, Brian Chan, Hideo Komatsu, Román Diaz, or Nicolas Terry, but during the last couple of years I fold only my own models. I've been creating for more than four years now, but I don't think of my models as my own. My inspiration comes from my imagination, so I have no merit in it, the ideas comes without me searching for them. Moreover, my imagination works thanks to the context I live in: good company and good music.

Your creations have a very definite line and visual style. If I see a model of yours I will immediately recognize you as the creator: very long lines, delicate, and expressional figures. Tell us more about it. How do you choose your subjects? Moreover, you are so young, and your models are so mature and unique. Can you tell us about that, too?

My models are hyper-realistic, but you can't see the reality they are imitating. In my mind, all these animals and beings are real and alive. In my world, anyone can choose how to be, surviving is not a problem, so the only thing we have to do there is to be happy. For many beings, to be happy is to be loved or to know. For me, it's to love and learn. All that I have learned during my life will be useful for the rest of my life, this is very important, so if my models show a high grade of maturity it’s not because I am a mature person, but because I use the little maturity I have, instead of folding the same model again and again.

Creation is a mysterious process. Can you shed some light on your process? How much of it is planned in advance? Do you calculate your steps? Is it trial and error?

I said that the creative process springs from my imagination, over which I have no authority. I only have to own the tools for shaping materials according to these ideas. When the idea comes, it is time to think about how to fold them, using all the necessary tools. Most of my models are made in the first attempt, but if I have to struggle some technique in order to solve an origami problem, I usually uses maths or natural tools. I think Math is a very strong tool for solving origami problems, but Biology is an extraordinary tool too. Looking at natural movements and shapes can be even more inspiring and helpful than Math.

What papers do you usually use? Why? How do you decide which paper to choose? Do you try to match the paper to the model?

I usually use thin paper, because I don't want to be close to the center, which happens with heavy papers. I see beauty in asymmetry; long shapes and thin lines result in movement. Recently, I used very heavy paper, with more than ten layers, so as not to be tempted to fold complex models. I prepare a heavy paper, very humid, like a dish cloth, to feel the prohibition to make thin forms, and get my origami more simple and spontaneous. With my thin models, the model says to me what paper it wants, but in other cases, it is the paper that tells me what model it wants to be.

I believe origami is a medium to communicate with other people. As an unique art field, you can stir emotions in the hearts of your art observers. What do you try to communicate through your origami with your audience?

To the non-origami audience, I want to show that origami could be an art. From several Origamists I hear that origami is an art, and then they continue to create horned dragons, and flying beetles to earn the public's ovation. I'm able to create similar models; I know because I used to in the past, but it is not a mature way to say "art", to copy from films or books. I want to tell them: "try to copy from your imagination, so we will see new things in this boring world".

I am sure there is one model of yours that you would like to point out for us. Which one is it, and please tell us why you choose it?

This is my first model. Not the first that I have created, but the first I can call my own. I created it when I discovered my imagination, in a difficult moment of my life. I was in this world (my world) when I saw it, I wanted to know more about it, so I began to fold it. When I finished, I wondered what he felt like. I asked him and he answered that I'm supposed to know exactly what were his feelings, because I was feeling them myself. He told me that he was me, so I was very impressed. Since that day, in which I actually created a self portrait, I wanted to fold everything I could see in this imaginary world, and try to think about what was the sense my imagination made when coming up with those creatures. I understand the sense in my models after having folded them. Looking at them, each has a metaphor inside, which shows what I felt in the time I folded it.

Is there one last question I should have asked? Ask yourself, but don’t answer. Just let us know what the question is…

Why don't your women resemble the self-portrait you made, slim and black?
Name Víctor Coeurjoly
Age 20
Place of residence Madrid (Spain)
Family 22 year-old brother
Education aeronautic designer superior technician
Profession aeronautic designer
Place of work ATOS ORIGIN AEROSPACE
Origami exhibitions and publications many diagrams and interviews in many spanish origami revues and convention books. Exhibitions in Spain (Zaragoza, Alicante, Valencia, Madrid ) and France (Brive, Carcassone)

Diagram

There is only one model that is ready, but it is going to be published in a book, so we can’t use it. Still, as I insisted this interview will not be completed otherwise, a solution came up – Victor gave a CP of his sitting woman, and 4 images showing how to get to the base, and a few steps. If you never tried your hands with a Crease Pattern, but always wanted to try it, it may be the perfect challenge for you!

Click here to download the diagram.