My name is Blake Derksen and from a young age I have always loved creating and making my dreams come to life. Throughout my childhood I have expressed this creativity through many different mediums. In elementary school I developed a love for origami, the art of paper folding. In middle school I discovered stop-motion and utilized its magical ability to communicate and entertain, bringing my visions to life. The third phase of my exploration brought me to computer animation. I acquired Blender and quickly learned and taught myself through video tutorials and experimentation. Soon I had created my own short films and was eager for more. During my sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and spent most of 2012 at home or in the hospital. It was a long and difficult 18 months. However, even a major illness did not deter me from spending time on bringing my ideas to life. During that time my interest in origami was rekindled. I spent many of my hours in the hospital with the works of Robert Lang and Joseph Wu and soon my origami skills had grown to new heights. At the end of treatment, as my strength returned, I scripted, story boarded and animated the short film All in a Day's Work. Currently, I am working on developing my skills as a sculptor, refining skills as an origami artist and an animator while studying experimental animation at Calarts. As a Christian, I also try to show the living hope in Jesus Christ. The common link between all of my work in every medium is the theme of hope and creating something positive out of a negative situation.


Artist Statement

As far back as I can remember I have taken pleasure in bringing my dreams to a visual reality. When I was younger that ranged from drawing to creating art out of computer parts. Later it evolved into developing my own creatures and machines, making stop motion videos, and as a member of the Redlands High School Robotics team, I designed robots. I also discovered Blender, a computer animation program, and I began teaching myself through video tutorials on the Internet. These various activities and pursuits have one common ground; they involve taking an idea and giving it life.

In that way, I see animation as the ultimate gold mine. I can take any idea, no matter how fantastic, and devise a way to show it to the world. My vision is to express how human struggles may be resolved in a positive manner. Unlike many pieces of art that are dystopian, I seek to show themes of redemption and salvation.

As an isolated freshman at a massive high school, I produced my first computer animated short called Lonely Planet. In this piece a solitary alien tries to get off his planet and struggles to reach other aliens for companionship. After many fruitless attempts the other aliens notice him and reach and bring him to their planet. I used this story to communicate the transition from loneliness to community and belonging.

A little over a year later, I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma (bone cancer). Over the course of more than a year, I received 18 high doses of chemotherapy and two major surgeries. Throughout my treatment and healing maintained the view of creating beautiful things out of the broken. While in the hospital I studied the works of origami masters Robert Lang and Roman Diaz and was soon folding increasingly complex creations. Most of these I gave away to fellow patients and nurses and found a way to bring a light to the hospital floor. I actually began experimenting with origami at a young age and thanks to a Make-a-wish trip, I have been able to meet some of the world's most amazing origami artists, including Robert Lang. I continue to experiment with paper as mode of expression and am experimenting with animating my folding.

Toward the end of my treatment, I was able to utilize my time at home to create a short film. All in a Day’s Work, is the story of a little wind-up robot that is mistaken for a battery and gets stuck in a wireless mouse. The robot and a battery work together to solve a problem. Again, I am using my work to show a glimmer of hope and light through character and story telling.

Now I am studying experimental animation at Calarts. At school I am continuing to develop and hone my skills as an artist, enabling me to accomplish even more.