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Discover Hong Kong with Paperboyo

UK artist and photographer Rich McCor a.k.a paperboyo. Photo by Marcus Maschwitz

UK artist and photographer Rich McCor a.k.a paperboyo. Photo by Marcus Maschwitz

UK based photographer and artist, Rich McCor (@paperboyo) last visited Hong Kong in 2016 where he used some of the city’s iconic locations as backdrops for his paper cut-out artwork. During the pandemic, his ability to travel the world to create new art pieces has been limited, so he collaborated with Hong Kong based photographer, Timmy Lo (@timmy727), to create a new set of images highlighting that art has no boundaries. We sat down with Rich to discuss his art, his time in Hong Kong and his most recent collaboration.

         "A Symphony of Lights" animation by @paperboyo and @timmy727

1.       Tell us how you have forged your career in this unique form of artistry.

It was a combination of two hobbies colliding. The paper side of it came from an interest in stop-motion animations I’d been making, and the photography side came from a desire to explore London with my camera. I realised that I was taking very similar images of London to most of the ones I was seeing on Instagram and so I decided to experiment. My style went through a few different iterations, but I eventually landed on the concept of using paper cut-outs and forced perspective illusions to transform London scenery into objects.

 

2.       How have your travel and experiences around the world formed and inspired your art?

I honestly didn’t think it would turn into anything more than a short series of photos of London. However, I was fortunate that shortly after I put those images out I received invites to travel further afield. I realised it was my surroundings that conjured up the ideas just as much as my imagination. It gave me a lust for seeing new places and for learning more about the places I visited, which ultimately fed my ideas.

A playful take on the iconic Film Awards statue on Avenue of Stars, overlooking Victoria Harbour. Image credit @paperboyo & @timmy727

A playful take on the iconic Film Awards statue on Avenue of Stars, overlooking Victoria Harbour. Image credit @paperboyo & @timmy727

3.       How does a city like Hong Kong lend itself to your style of art?

Hong Kong is a very special place, the mix of tradition and modern which sit together in harmony isn’t something I’ve seen in many other places. When I visited in 2016, I wanted to find ideas that blend the old and the new. There were endless possibilities for me.

I went when I was just on the cusp of going professional with my paperboyo brand, and after six years of experience and seeing things differently to how I did back then, I’d love to return and see what ideas the city conjures up for me.

I remember wanting to find some hidden gems and lesser-known buildings to work with, so the Science Park was a location I had earmarked before visiting Hong Kong.

I really enjoyed exploring Yau Ma Tei. It is a well-known spot for Instagrammers and I was struck by the contrast of how the area looks by day and night - when all the neon lights are switched on, it’s a really visually exciting area.

Another area that inspired ideas was Repulse Bay on Hong Kong Island. My friend told me about the dragon holes in the buildings there, which immediately gave me an idea and I loved the story behind it. It was from then on that I strived to find ideas and concepts that were linked to the destination. It’s not always possible, but a city like Hong Kong is packed with stories and culture so it’s something I look forward to doing when I’m next over there.

4.       What was your favourite place to visit in Hong Kong and why?

I had a fun day at Ocean Park with some cabin crew I bumped into the day before. It was a bit of a spontaneous adventure as Ocean Park wasn’t on my list of things to do but I’m so glad I went. The park is full of great rides and the jellyfish ‘underwater garden’ is well worth a visit. 

paperboyo transforms the Peak Tower in 2016. Image credit @paperboyo

paperboyo transforms the Peak Tower in 2016. Image credit @paperboyo

5.       What would you recommend budding artists like yourself do in Hong Kong?

Honestly, I would suggest putting away your map and phone and just walking and letting yourself get lost. There are so many little streets to wander down, so many parks to explore, so many quirky things to catch your eye. I do find sometimes if I travel with too much of a plan I sometimes miss some of the many other things a city can offer. My top recommendations are:

  • Victoria Peak
  • Lion’s Pavilion
  • Repulse Bay
  • Sai Kung Street
  • Nan Lian Garden

 

6.       On your next visit to Hong Kong, is there anywhere you would like to go?

I think the city has evolved even in the five years since I last went.  I would love to see what the West Kowloon Art Park looks like and soak up a sunset there one evening. I think that whole area is now so different, and I’d love to enjoy the walk from there to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to enjoy the harbour views.

 

7.       This is the first time you have collaborated with a photographer. What inspired you the most about Timmy’s photography that made you want to work with him?

I follow a few HK based photographers whose work I love, but Timmy stood out because of his use of colour and how he manages to capture the variety of scenes in HK. Timmy has an eye for finding beautiful parts of the city and capturing them in his own visually striking way. I strive to do that in my own photography, and I could tell that Timmy really thinks about how he frames his shots, which was an important aspect of being able to collaborate with him.

8.       What were some of the highlights and challenges that arose from creating artwork countries apart?

It was exciting receiving updates at home from Timmy while he was out shooting the content in HK. I received photos and was able to suggest very slight changes to the framing while he was on location. I could see that he’d chosen absolutely perfect conditions to shoot in.

I loved the fact that Timmy totally understood my ideas and how my final edits would work, so it was easy to collaborate with him despite being in different continents.

This was the first time I’ve ever collaborated with another photographer, never mind the fact it was also the first time collaborating with someone who wasn’t even in the same country, so I did expect there to be challenges, but Timmy’s understanding of my style was brilliant and made the process very easy. The challenges were purely to do with the intricacy of the edits, especially the symphony of lights one, but Timmy’s work and images made the project an absolute pleasure. 

Want to see how paperboyo and timmy727 did it? Check out our behind the scenes video below.

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