I like to fidget. It helps me think. If I'm moody or agitated, I make origami and it's calming. Addictively so. And of all the addictive things you can get your mitts on - say booze, narcotics or genitalia - paper leans on the more wholesome side of the spectrum. Feel free to massively debate this.
There's something about it though, origami. The paper pacifier. The process of folding thin slices of dead tree into intricate shapes and designs. You detach yourself from the world for a few minutes, fully engaged in dexterous meditation. Not everyone's idea of fun I'll grant (see: booze, drugs and genitalia), but I get a mindful kick out of it all the same.
Late 2012 I toured central Europe with a rail pass; each new location a trove of crane-making materials. Tickets, tariffs, menus and maps. Receipts in particular made great cranes - a thinner medium with a quicker yield - turning each kebab, gelato and pintxo into another origami opportunity and further fuelling my obsession.
Early on I found that a five-euro note folded in half makes a perfect square. The finished crane is doubly thick and sturdier than a standard receipt. Done right, you can get the silver stripe to span the wings. Dandy!
I'd make money-cranes out of spare cash, and present them when paying for lunch. Cashiers were cautious, wary of accepting them for legal tender. Some plain refused, forcing my hand to unfold the bird literally back to square one to prove it was a bona fide banknote, fully intact, albeit somewhat more creased than before.
To others I'd parade these money-cranes and ask, "How much would you pay for this?" A punter in a Lagos pub offered to buy a five euro crane for... well, five euro, but worth the while when he kindly bought my next beer. If only I got a drink for every paper crane I made.
The idea for this website happened in Barcelona, in a McDonalds restaurant of all places. I shamelessly queued for something cheap and greasy to stave off a cerveza-induced hangover, handing a money-crane to the cashier to finish the order. It was here I decided to make this a thing, but not before inhaling my order of processed plastic meatslop,
Between burps of coke and greasy napkins, I absent-mindedly turned my receipt into a crane, and mostly-there-mindedly turned the brown paper bag inside out; a crumpled canvas on which to sketch up domain ideas and logos for this website. I turned over all the creative stones in my head, all two of them, but drew only blanks. Searching the room for inspiration my eyes locked on the logos for Coca Cola and the Golden Arches.
Pros: Instantly recognisable, aesthetically pleasing.
Cons: Symbolise soul-sucking corporate capitalism...
I need an antithesis to this. Something a little more wholesome. But what?!
Of course, it was staring at me all along.