I have been using origami imagery in my work for years now, but the truth is, I really dislike folding Origami. I find it difficult and frustrating, the directions overwhelming. I would rather stick to what’s comfortable and practiced-drawing the folds. When I began this mural design, though, it became clear I would need to change my approach, to get uncomfortable. Begrudgingly, I began by struggling through the instructions, mashing the paper into ugly deformed birds. Once my doves were finally recognizable, I deconstructed them to draw each step. Assuming I had cracked the code, I asked my children to fold a Peace Dove using my directions. Their immediate frustration (even to the brink of tears) let me know I wasn’t even close.
Throughout this entire process, the analogy was not lost on me. I’m writing this statement on day 27 of 2023, and the US has already experienced 41 mass shootings. The police footage of Tyre Nichol’s brutal death is set to be released this evening. The hate and anger and pain are visceral, and it makes me wonder if our collective approach just isn’t working. Is offering thoughts and prayers just drawing the folds? Will changing things require us to get uncomfortable, to have tough conversations, to try imperfectly again and again? If struggling through creasing a silly piece of paper is any indication, there will definitely be frustration and will require intentional perseverance. Maybe it will look like trash before it looks like a Peace Dove, and maybe that’s okay as long as we are trying.
This wall under the Beech St. Bridge is our southern most ArtPath site.
Marissa Tawney Thaler of Lansing holds a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design, where she studied Art Education and Illustration. After college, she worked as an elementary art teacher, using school breaks to cultivate her personal work.
In the fall of 2018, Marissa left teaching to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. Since then, she has developed the origami-inspired series, “Drawing Folded Paper,” illustrated two children’s books, Get that GRIT! and The Itchy Secret, and created several murals around the Lansing area.
Marissa’s work, often narrative in nature, uses primarily drawing media to achieve a “bittersweet aesthetic.” She aims to find the lighthearted side of struggles and moments of connection in everyday happenings.