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Sentosa Island, Singapore

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Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

For children and tourists, sightseeing is a delight; for artistes, its passé. But why? Has the art world become so highfalutin that we can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of visiting someplace historic and beautiful? London photographer Rich McCor and his enchanting paper cut-outs answer with a resounding, “No way!”

It was more than six months ago that McCor’s paper cut-outs— aligned by hand to transform Europe’s landmarks in whimsical, surprising ways—went viral. Somehow, this photographer and his visual trickery had made the familiar new again, and people wanted more.

At the time, the artist was more than a little taken aback by overnight stardom. A few weeks later, he confessed in an interview with us, “It now feels like I have two-jobs. I just hope it leads to more traveling, and then it will have been worth it.”

Well, his wish came true big time: “I’ve turned a hobby into a job traveling the world and working with brands,” he explains. We caught up with the artist to see how his Instagram stardom led to something more.

Has this project added more joy, more humor, more wonder to your life? What do you love most about making these pictures?
“I love showing my photos to other tourists when they see me taking the photos and ask what I’m doing- their faces tend to go from a look of confusion, to smiling and then laughing.”

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Central Park, New York

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Guggenheim Museum, New York

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UN Building, New York

Did you leave your day job to do this full time, or does it still feel like you have two jobs?
“I haven’t quit my day job just yet, but it’s been really full-on balancing the travel and the job (and a social life). Fortunately, I work for a creative agency, which is flexible and encourages me while I go off and pursue creative endeavors. This has still meant I’ve had to turn down amazing opportunities in Portugal, Australia, Morocco and Spain.”

What are some of the opportunities you’ve said “yes” to? What commissions have you enjoyed working on
“Lonely Planet was really great and picked up on my instagram quite early on and sponsored me to go on some short European trips. I still have an ongoing relationship with them, which is fantastic, as they’re really open to ideas and collaborations. I’ve worked with a few tourist boards, the most recent being Las Vegas. One of the best things about working with a tourist board is that they know the very best spots for dinner, entertainment. They show you the best their city has to offer. My four days in Vegas were probably the closest I’ll ever have to feeling like a rockstar.”

How has this ongoing project affected your daily life?
“It’s been a hectic six months of travelling and developing new ideas to keep my Instagram following entertained, but it’s been a great way to push my ideas and to see the world at the same time.”

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Bliss Dance Sculpture, Las Vegas

How do clients get in touch with you? How did you capitalize on the viral press in order to make this happen?
“Collaborators usually find me through my Instagram, and I’ve had a number of people contact me saying they saw the Disney series I did and that’s how they discovered my style. The Disney photos really helped my work go viral, I’d underestimated how much people love Disney. Soon after I posted them, I had offers to appear on Chinese breakfast shows; I was featured in some big publications, and #paperboyo trended on twitter. The best thing about that experience though was seeing my photos on the Pixar and Disney social media feeds- that was a huge compliment.”

Follow McCor’s ongoing adventures on Instagram at @paperboyo.

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Science Park, Hong Kong

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Parachute Ride, Coney Island

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New York City

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Statue of Liberty, New York

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Val d’Isère, France

All images © Rich McCor

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