• Luminita Roman

1,000 days and counting

Picture: Shinta Kikuchi/Unsplash

In 2014, the paper artist, Cristian Marianciuc, 30, originally from Siret, a small town in the north-east of Romania, developed a habit of folding origami cranes from pages of his personal diary.

The opportunity to study Diplomacy and Linguistics at Macquarie, one of the leading universities in Sydney, Australia, changed his life.

Between 2009 and 2012, during his studies, Marianciuc became interested on Japanese culture.

When he had finished his studies, he moved back home to Siret. The origami crane guy - as he is known, quickly realised that he was having a very hard time readjusting to life there and he ended up struggling with depression.

“In 2015, I decided to do a 100-days artistic challenge, which consisted of folding and decorating one origami crane every single day”, says Marianciuc, the eighth child in a family of 13 members.

In the early stages of his project, he used unconventional materials such flowers, metal, needles and thread, seeds, or insect wings.

“I have organically and gradually focused on using mainly paper. I sometimes still use real flowers in my designs, but only as experiments”, says Marianciuc.

He opened an Instagram account for his cranes, and slowly, went ahead and sought to deal with his depression in an artistic way.

“I have managed to amass a rather large group of people who appreciate what I do, and I would say that Instagram in particular has given me the opportunity to transition from creating art as a hobby to being a full-time artist.”

And he realised that he’s not alone.

The 100 consecutive days became 365 days, which in turn became 1000 consecutive days – a nod to the Japanese tradition of ‘senbazuru’, which promises to reward with a wish to those who fold 1000 origami cranes.

Marianciuc took inspiration from Sadako Sasaki’s story. The Japanese girl was only two years old when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima in 1945. She and her family managed to escape. However, when she was twelve, Sadako was diagnosed with leukaemia. Hoping to recover, the girl began to make origami cranes, but she died shortly after folding 644 cranes.

"The crane - a symbol of good fortune and longevity - has a particularly personal meaning to me, and I find that it has also become part of my artistic DNA"

For Marianciuc, every piece of his artwork is a translation of his daily feelings, experiences, and memories, and the crane of the day became his ritual.

“I have thought about diversifying the themes I use, but the crane - a symbol of good fortune and longevity - has a particularly personal meaning to me, and I find that it has also become part of my artistic DNA. I don’t have any plans on radically changing the foundation of my creative process, but I have in mind to explore other origami models in the future.”

It is difficult to come up with a precise timeline for the invention of origami. However, it is generally accepted that it was the Japanese who first folded the paper and used it as a medium for art.

“I am happy to preserve and pass on the traditions of my ancestors”, says Midori Date, 34, a paper artist from Japan.

“Most people forget about origami as they grow, but I’ve always loved origami. I’m proud of the Japanese tradition”, says Date.

Airborne Mark, aka The Pilot, is a Polish artist based in London. Known as the vandal who’s painting his origami riots on London’s walls, he is easily recognisable through his vibrant style.

Origami riots is an oxymoron. There are no riots in his artwork. “Origami riots is a trademark attitude, an energy I bring on the streets”, explains Mark.

“I was raised in a stationery shop. I have an innate affinity with paper. I’m painting mural based on my origami model”, says Mark, who brings origami to another stage. He creates origami, photographs them, paints them as a mural, and at the end, he burns the model. “I love being creative. Paper folding and painting origami designs are forms of meditation and self-medication.” Origami is very much a mathematical art form, believes Marianciuc. “People who designs their own models usually have a very good grasp of mathematical principle.” Marianciuc is inspired by the anatomy of birds, but also by flowers, and the botanical world in general. He draws inspiration from folklore, “my native Romanian roots”, as well as Japanese traditional arts. “Mythology is a recurring theme in my work as well”, says Marianciuc, who currently has over 1,200 cranes folded. Having exhibitions in France and Romania, his next step will be a visit to Japan. “I would like to travel to Japan, immersing myself in the culture. But above all, to keep creating.” “If my legacy would be at all remembered, it would be amazing if that were reflected in my attempt to look at the art of origami through a transformative lens. I like to call it ‘origami+’, the origami crane guy reflects. You can find more about Cristian Marianciuc and his work on his social media channels: https://www.instagram.com/icarus.mid.air/ https://www.facebook.com/IcarusMidAir/

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© 2020 by Mental Magazine