By holding a black paper silhouette between his camera lens and the landscape, Rich McCor aka Paperboyo creatively reimagines famous landmarks and locations from all over the world in unexpected ways. By seeing the world from an entirely different perspective than the rest of the people, Paperboyo manages to impress with his unmistakable artwork by sharing his point of view with the world. Here is our #ModicInterview with Rich McCor:
Being a paper artist is an unusual profession, what is your favorite aspect about what you do?
There are a lot of aspects about what I do that I love, but it is the fact that I have control over my own career that I’m most grateful for. I get to be creative, experimental and I get collaborate with huge brands while seeing the world in the process. Those are career goals I never thought I would reach but by following my fascination into the slightly unconventional world of papercraft, it led me to my dream profession.
Do you think that your background in media and television influenced your path of becoming a paper artist in any way?
I have no doubt that my background has consciously and sub-consciously shaped me. Obviously, I can’t put my finger on the latter, but I do know that working in career where I had to deal a lot with feedback and amends definitely helped give me the tools I needed when I started working with brands and working to their briefs. The other thing about working in media is that it introduced me to a lot of characters and personality types, I met a lot of people that I consciously said to myself “make sure you don’t end up being like him”. However, I also met a lot of people who were brilliantly creative, ambitious, hardworking and yet were also charming people. Those people inspired me to be passionate, to let myself be excited by my curiosity and ultimately to then have the guts to quit my job and pursue my passion.
How about creating more music videos? This is what led you to your present career, would you like to expand your creative territory into that direction?
I’ve been doing my style of photography for almost five years now and I think it’s quite common for a lot of artists to at some point explore their roots and to re-explore old ideas. Recently I’ve done just that, especially in lockdown while travel projects are on pause, and I’ve been coming up with ideas for music videos and short films. I’d love to use these projects as an opportunity to work within a team because, although I love the independence of what I do, I’m also very keen to collaborate with other creatives and let myself move out of my style comfort zone.
Do you ever get creative block and if so, how do you break through it? Where do you find your inspiration?
It definitely happens and I think the answer is persistence and letting yourself be playful until you find a strand of an idea you can pull on and see what happens. I’m not one to walk away from an idea, I’ll keep working until I can develop into something that gives me a gut feeling of knowing it’ll work but I also know that if you put too much pressure on yourself, it takes the fun out of the process and I think the fun aspect is crucial in what I do. So, if that ever happens, then I take a break and come back to my desk after some rest and try again.
During this global pandemic, what was the hardest aspect of adapting your creative work while staying inside?
Last year when the pandemic started, I think I was close to burnout from having done a lot of travelling in early 2020 so I was ready to be forced to stay put for a while. I used it as an opportunity to look around my apartment for inspiration, and I started a series called Movies From Home which allowed me to play with my style but on a much smaller scale. It was a fun opportunity to explore my craft again but it also confirmed I still loved what I do. I had started to wonder, after being so busy with clients, whether I was just chasing the money but being at home without any paid projects and still investing as much energy and time as I would otherwise taught me I still have plenty of passion for what I do.
Are you still planning an exhibition to St. Petersburg for 2022, what are the main landmarks that you would like to photograph there? Do you create the cutout after choosing the location?
I’m hoping the exhibition will happen later this year (2021) but obviously that’s down to where we’re at with the pandemic, but I’m optimistic we can make it happen. Despite having done a fair amount of travel around Europe, I have never ventured into Russia so I’m really excited to head to St. Petersburg (I’ll probably try and visit Moscow too). All my ideas are researched in advance, so I’ll be starting to look at landmarks and architecture out there soon so I can start designing ideas and have the paper cut-outs ready to take over there.
Apart from the book “Around the world in cut-outs” you published back in 2017, you mentioned that you would like to publish an interactive book for children, how is that project going?
Here in the UK, there is a very popular children’s book called ‘The Jolly Postman’, and I grew up continuously flipping through the pages and opening the pop-outs and the envelopes in the book. It is such a charming and brilliantly designed book and I would love to create something loosely inspired by that, but with an environmental theme and an emphasis on looking after our planet. I’m still exploring ideas, but I do know that I want that to be the message at the heart of the book.
Lately, you posted animations of your paper cuts. Is the process of making them similar to the process of creating cutout photography?
I always wanted to make sure I evolved my style- it’s every artist’s responsibility to advance their craft-and so for me I decided to bring the static concepts to life with animation. It’s a similar creative process in terms of developing the idea and shooting the concepts, but there’s a lot more time spent sat at the computer editing the ideas. I think the success of my style lays partly in its simplicity and the fact it’s a bit ‘analogue’ so I try not to aim for anything too slick with my animation style.
What’s the main quality that helped you grow the most in your career? Is there any advice you would give to your younger self?
Persistence. That’s been the key to everything and I’m sure anyone who’s experienced any success in their field will say the same. The first thing is to find the thing that you love to do, the next step is to keep doing it.