Robert J. Lang Lecture at Brown University

Last week I attended a lecture at Brown University by Robert J. Lang, a renowned origami artist whose work I’ve followed for several years now. The innovations he’s accomplished in origami are breathtaking, but I’ve also been particularly drawn to his work because of the dramatic career shift he made to get to where he is now.  Lang had a long career as a physicist for many years before taking the leap into origami.  I can’t imagine that it would have been easy to be in a scientific field for that long, and then to tell everyone one day that you were going to drop your career to make origami.

I was thrilled when I heard Lang would be speaking at Brown, and I knew immediately exactly what question I wanted to ask him at the lecture during the Q&A: how did he get the guts to transition from being a physicist to being a full-time origami artist? Lang said that he had been working on a book that eventually became “Origami Design Secrets.” He worked on the book on nights and weekends, but realized quickly that if he didn’t drop everything and focus exclusively on this book, that the book would never happen. He also said that he recognized that there would always be plenty of other physicists in the world, many who were much more accomplished than he was, but he felt that he was literally the only person who could write this book. That and having some savings in the bank helped.

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3 thoughts on “Robert J. Lang Lecture at Brown University

  1. Wow, I just had this conversation with my husband! I have always been torn between two directions in my art. One direction is art that is “cool” and I have seen a lot of it out there. It is fun making this kind of imagery. The other direction is imagery that comes from my heart; it comes very easy to me… I can just paint so many because I have so many ideas in my mind. However, it’s not “cool,” and probably not as big of an audience. However, its imagery is a combination of so many things from my heart, making me the only person who can do it.

    I just had my son and realizie that my time to paint is getting really limited. After two years of working on the cool stuff, I want to change direction.

  2. I have great admiration for Robert Lang and his journey. Its amazing to see someone identify and commit to something that person can uniquely do. I look forward to learning about your path in January!

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