Linda Stephen, Applied Origami Art
Linda Stephen is a self-taught paper artist who grew up in Michigan, studied at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, and was once honored as one of the Top 10 graduates in the state by Michigan Woman magazine.
Her origami landscapes are part of more than 100 collections across the U.S. and Japan including the Mayor’s Collection for the City of Omihachiman, Japan to the JW Marriott Hotel’s “Sister City” Collection in Grand Rapids, Mich. Recent projects include TV commercials for Tobacco Free Nebraska (origami dollar bills), a public artwork for the National Parks Service and Homestead National Monument of America (which involved 200+ people from 20 states), and a solo exhibit at the Nebraska Arts Council’s Fred Simon Gallery.
Linda Stephen has more than 25 years of experience in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Fluent in Japanese and passionate about Japanese paper, Linda lived in castle towns in rural Japan for seven years studying Japanese art and language and working as a teacher and translator. After 9/11, while living in New York, Linda started making custom origami and kirigami art. In 2004, she began making larger commissioned landscape art for private collectors, corporations, hotels, and public buildings.
Linda’s origami bas relief landscapes are her unique extension of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Her art incorporates luscious Japanese yuzen patterned papers, other handmade washi papers, and unique, origami paper sculptures that she invents.
In awarding her “Best of Show” at the Nebraska State Office Building, the judge said, “Linda Stephen is expanding her chosen medium of ‘painting with origami and paper’ through combining colored patterns, details, texture…The detail and textures—in the grass, in the trees, in the flowers, in the people—draw you in and keep you looking.”
Linda’s origami landscapes celebrate both the festive and the quiet moments in our lives. Her works have been featured in more than 100 juried solo or group exhibits including The Museum of Nebraska Art, The Museum of the Hudson Highlands, the U.S. Botanic Gardens, the American Crafts Festival, the Norfolk Arts Center, the Jasper Arts Center, the Minden Opera House, Union College’s McClelland Art Gallery, and the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion Exhibition.
Linda lectures and presents workshops on origami, Japanese papers, culture and language to museums, schools and civic groups across the U.S. For youth (kindergarten through high school), she incorporates skills important to STEM careers such as precision, innovation and invention. In talks to fellow artists or small business owners, she share hints on marketing, publicity and professional business practices. She has been a member of Origami USA for more than 10 years and was selected to the Japan Artists Information Directory in 2012, a program supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to enhance mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan.
Linda has traveled extensively across North America, Asia and Europe. She has worked as a communications director and writer for 15 years for nonprofits, multinational corporations, publishers and United Nations’ agencies. A lifelong student of culture and languages, she holds an M.A. in international journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. in French, summa cum laude, with minors in mathematics, music and business administration from Northern Michigan University. She now lives in Lincoln, Neb. with her husband and two children.