a few words about “simplicity”

Simplicity is nature’s first step, and the last of art.
Philip James Bailey

Sometimes less is more. Our quest for more, then, keeps us from it.
Jan Denise

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
Charles Mingus

Simplicity captures and expresses the essence of the subject.
Hap Hagood

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

In composing art works, some like to simplify, some like to add realistic details.

A portrait painter can paint like a photograph, so realistic – or only with a few strokes but the viewer can still recognize who that is.

Same with origami.

Most of the folders, especially the young generation, like complex models and see them as big challenges.

Different styles make art interesting.

Simple and elegant are not at all easy to achieve, even though at first glance those works look easy to do.

With the same few folds, one pinch with a different pressure can make a big difference.

It is hard enough to paint a portrait so one can recognize the person.

Only with a few strokes and the viewer can still recognize that person? That is “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” (Hans Hofmann)

Those few lines must capture directly the soul of the subject.


Designing the same subject,

One designer likes to simplify (if I remove that detail, do I still recognize X ? if the answer is yes, then that detail can be removed. What is the essence of X ?…)
The other likes to have as many details as the real thing as possible.

I follow the “simple” road, that why I like this quote: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)

It does not mean I do not like all the complex origami pieces, because there are complex but still elegant works.

It is complex but the details support the main character, not compete with it.

Of course, the folding skill is also very important. Same model folded by 2 folders can be very different in quality.




One should ask when designing
When should I stop?

The final piece is full of life if it has soul
Without the soul, it will look stiff and dead
Simple or Complex then do not matter

Think more


Feel more?

When one pays too much attention to the techniques, he or she tends to forget about the goal is to breathe life into the final piece. In a way, one needs to “forget” the technique in order to feel the soul of the subject in the paper.

When designing, one needs to see the big picture and try to capture the essence of the subject, then he or she can think about adding supporting details.

You see,
It is not simple at all talking about simplicity.
So I stop here
with a Haiku


“Along this road
Goes no one,
This autumn eve.”

(Matsuo Basho, 1644 –1694)

to me
can be a Haiku
a few words
can say a lot

dreamer evolution

Of course
I know
Not everybody loves Haiku
Not everybody goes along the same road

What is left
When these words
are blown away
in the wind?

dtg 11/ 2011