Kansas-based artist Joel Cooper specializes in the folding technique known as origami tessellation, in which the geometric folds repeat in patterns of creases throughout a single piece of paper to create three-dimensional abstract designs of the artists’ choice. This branch of origami started in the 1960s and has recently been growing in popularity — it is an excellent example of taking a classic art and revolutionizing it!

Joel’s work has been on display throughout the world since 2006, and he sells his origami pieces on Etsy. Current works are on sale starting at $200, and considering the precision and dedication that goes into creating these masterpieces, I do not question the pricing for a second. Take a look at some of his works below!

Art Nouveau Tessellation

Joel describes this piece as a combination of Nouveau flowers and aquatic lifeforms.

Source; Closeup

Wreaths Tessellation

Source; Closeup


Joel uses a lot of metallic paints to create the texture and sheen of the faces he creates.


Gnome King

Source; Closeup

Fantasia Tessellation

The swirl and spin effects certainly remind me of the dances in Fantasia!

Source; Closeup


Joel colored an off-white elephant paper with many alcohol-soluble dyes to create a firework effect of twists and folds.

Source; Closeup; Back


Joel surfaced this piece with variegated copper/gold foil to give it a “touch of hell-fire.”


You can find Joel’s commentary on his blog. Additionally, look out for new works on Flickr! And if you want to buy any of his pieces, look for him on Etsy.

Maybe you’re inspired to take up origami! We can’t reach the state of mastery that Joel has, but you can start with some of these simple how-to videos!

How to Make an Origami Jumping Frog


What do you think of Joel Cooper’s work? What is your favorite origami tessellation? Let us know in the comments below!


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