NEW BRITAIN - Through origami, Connecticut-based artist Ben Parker is able to make something two-dimensional into one that is three-dimensional. Through origami, he got into lazar cutting, 3D printing and CAD designing - three areas he had no prior experience in.
Just as he shapes and folds the paper into new life, the paper does the same right back, like getting a job at Electric Boat as a CAD designer (one he fully credits his origami art to landing him).
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Parker transferred to Central Connecticut State University to finish a French degree. Since he was 6-years-old, he said, he has always been folding paper, but in college it really began to consume his life.
During a four-month study abroad trip to France, Parker used his time to develop and focus more on his craft and specific style-mathematical origami.
“No matter how much I folded the paper crane or other animals or things, I’d always gravitate to geometric forms,” Parker said.
An origami tessellations groups on the photo sharing website, Flickr, is what he credits to fueling his passion for the art form.
“I saw some of the stuff they were doing and it was just really cool, so I thought ‘alright, I’m gonna figure out some of this,’ and I did,” Parker said.
The majority of his work is folded from a grid he measures himself that are as “mathematically precise as I can get them to follow a particular progression.”
He’ll start with a sheet of blank paper, cut it into a hexagonal shape and will fold the grid lines into it. Depending on how dense the grid is going to be it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. From there he’ll make a series of pleats by twisting the paper.
“If I have an idea in mind it can be four or five hours [to complete a project], but I’ll be working on a dozen projects at once,” Parker said. “I’ll take a piece, put it aside, and work on the other one.”
He said the longest he has ever spent on one project took over 40 hours on a 90-sheet foot of paper, but not all in one sitting.
To avoid getting burnt out or bored, Parker tends to take a lot of breaks and relax in-between.
“Every now and then I do take a day and say I’m not going to touch a single sheet of paper with the intent of folding it at all,” he said.
Parker will have an exhibition centralized on pleats on display at the Stockman Gallery in New Britain beginning on Aug. 7, and a reception Wednesday, Aug. 23.
“There’s an interesting challenge that I found with my work as opposed to others. Most artists have issues or challenges with trying to do something that is unique…and try to put themselves apart from the crowd,” Parker said. “My issues are explaining what it is.”
Parker is drawn to the complexity and mathematics of his paper folding, but still caters to people who want to see something visual in art and can still be easily explained.
“Ben Parker: Pleats” opening reception will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Stockman Gallery located on 19 Chestnut St. The exhibition will be on display Aug. 7 until Sept. 16. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information contact Stephen Hard at 860-832-8299.
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org