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Small Towns: Sheboygan artist turns origami into lamps

Posted: 11:11 PM, Jan 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-09 21:25:53Z

SHEBOYGAN, WI — Tonight in Small Towns were shedding some light on a one of a kind entrepreneur who folds his works of origami into lamps, to illuminate his art. NBC26’s Eric Crest brings us to Sheboygan to meet the man, behind the creations.

It’s not obvious to his neighbors in Sheboygan, but inside an apartment that doubles as a workshop, Justin Thao is making the unexpected.

“When I see origami that just sits on a shelf and collects dust I think I can do more than that,” says Thao the designer of Incredifold.

For more than a decade Justin has been creasing, folding and yes, even dreaming his creations into reality.

“When I try to figure a fold I think it in my head then I try it out and I reverse it. But sometimes I sleep on it and I imagine folding paper.”

It’s much more than just folding paper though, Justin is really an artist who knows a bit about geometry too. Over the past year, he’s been using his skills to turn his former hobby into a profession.

“To me, origami is more than a hobby, it’s actually an overwhelming passion that I need to do something with…. this hunger to find a solution that’s what really drives me.”

With every crimp and bend Thao manages to turn a single piece of colorful paper into something completely unforeseen. He then lets his 3D art cast light.

“I just twisted here and there and I started drawing this burger outline that I designed in order to fold into the burger and then I realized there’s something there.”

His conceptions go well beyond lit up hamburgers though. Justin also takes peoples personal photos and gives them his one of a kind treatment. He’s also created pandas, mushrooms and even the rare albino deer.

“Folding something from scratch, because I wanted something original, it took a while. A couple of months to figure that out.”

This is the designer and founder of It's a startup business that casts light on one of a kind pieces of origami.

“The way I incorporate origami and lighting and the unique folds. That gives it a different twist.”

And like many startup businesses, for the time being, you’ll only find his art online. But the creative mind behind the creases says he foresees some major twists and turns in his knack of craftsmanship, down the road.