2013/01 Joseph Wu - ADHD, depression, origami, creativity, and happiness

January 4, 2013 was the first month of unified themes at CreativeMornings with over 5,000 attendees on six continents gathering to hear speakers address the topic of “Happiness”. CreativeMornings/Vancouver was proud to host origami master Joseph Wu, through the support of our presenting partner POWERSHiFTER and ongoing support of GDC/BC, W2, and tech partner Matrix Video.

Like many people, Joseph Wu encountered origami as a child, folding paper since the age of three. Unlike most people, he continued practising his craft, and began creating original designs at the age of eleven. Joseph continues to be an active participant in the international origami community. He has been invited to attend conferences, teach classes, give lectures, and exhibit works in many parts of the world. In May, he was invited as the special guest at both the German and French origami conventions. He also co-administers the email discussion group on origami, facilitating communication between enthusiasts from over 35 countries.

Joseph’s work has been shown internationally at both conventions and at gallery shows. Photos of his work have graced the pages of many publications, including Rolling Stone, O Magazine, and the New York Times. His clients have included Stolichnaya Vodka, Intel and Air Canada, and he has produced on-set art for such TV shows and movies as Fringe and Underworld 4. In 2009, Joseph designed, built and installed a 180-foot long origami light sculpture that is the centrepiece of Oru, the restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in downtown Vancouver. He also contributed origami lights to the Vancouver pavilion at the 2010 Olympic Games. At the end of November, 2011, Jelly Swarm, a collaborative project between Joseph and Tangible Interaction, featuring almost 100 computer lighted jellyfish was installed for view at the Vancouver Aquarium.

During his talk Joseph spoke candidly about being diagnosed with ADHD and the challenges that brought, including bouts of depression. He talked about what it's like to struggle with focus, described his relationship with paper, and how creativity has helped him cope. And he showed off some of his truly beautiful origami art.

A few notable comments by Joseph:
On ADHD and depression: “I thought the diagnosis meant things were going to get better."
On origami: "I am drawn to origami because there isn't another art form that gets as close to creating something out of nothing."
On perfectionism: "Folding paper, aligning paper, does it really bring happiness? Yeah, I think it does."
On marriage: "I drive my wife crazy."

Our February 1, 2013 event theme will be “Money” and we’re proud to welcome local fashion designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Treana Peake, presented by Capilano University. Tickets will be available at 11am on January 28 at

The Vancouver chapter of CreativeMornings is run by Mark Busse (@MarkBusse) and his dedicated team of volunteers. Thanks to Matthew Shettler(@Shettler), Ryan Mah (@Unisonpress), Mahyar Saeedi (@MahyarSaeedi), and Jake Hermiston for video production.
CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee! (


NOTE: If you would like to make a donation to support the production of CreativeMornings/Vancouver, which is entirely produced by unpaid volunteers, please visit this link:

Post Comment
Thank you! Your comment is awaiting moderation.