If we were to capture all the stories our guests bring in when they stay at W San Francisco, we would have an endless book of journeys. We love to be inspired by the endless creativity out there, so we sat down with the creative mind behind the Instagram account @paperboyo, Rich McCor.
We caught up with Rich over breakfast at TRACE. Not only did we get his story, we also got to watch him do his thing, live!
Rich started his Instagram account @paperboyo in 2015 with the intent of changing the monotonous and unchangeable scenery of some of the most iconic staples of the world. Think the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Burj al Arab in Dubai, or the Statue of Liberty in New York City. He wanted to make these classic staples different and make people smile, but never with a clear strategy or intention of turning it into a job. With the growing interest in photography and his previous knowledge in papercraft, he blended these two arts and did just that, change the scenic frames of the staples of the world with a twist of wit.
This is what he told us. Oh, and don’t forget to read it out loud in a British accent…
From your beginnings in 2009, when did it really hit you that your art form was taking off?
In October 2015, I was in Paris and I had just taken the photo of the lego man on the Arc de Triomphe and the press started to pick up on that. The Daily Mail in the UK reached out and asked a few questions, I sent them a few photos but didn’t think too much of it. At that point, I had 5,000 followers and had been focusing on building up my following. I remember going to a bar with some friends and whilst I was there I checked my Instagram and it jumped from 5,000 to 10,000 just from the article. By the end of that same week, I had 30,000 followers on Instagram.
How did this eventually turn into a job and how do you earn a living?
Right now, the traveling portion of the job isn’t covered, but it is the most fun part of it and where I create most of my content. Sponsored posts or promos for films is where I get my income at the moment, but I’m still kind of figuring it out and finding a path. I am also coming out with coffee table book with my photography. I am hoping to take February and March off and meet with the designers to get that going.
Is there an influencer that inspires you?
There is a guy called @abstractsunday who is an illustrator for the New Yorker, and he was one of the first people I followed. He does these really bizarre illustrations, and he just has a really good sense of humor. Looking at his stuff, I definitely got inspiration. There are also a couple of really great photographers in London that I follow, and I like bloggers that share good travel tips and advice. When it comes to bloggers, I like the ones that share their experiences rather than brag about them. I felt inspired by bloggers who had the ability to make their followers feel like they were coming on the journey with them.
Aside from W San Francisco, which W is the coolest?
I’ve only been to W Dubai right before I came to San Francisco, the design of that one was wicked. And I know the one in London which I walk past, but I live in London so I haven’t stayed there.
What do your family and friends say about your Instagram lifestyle?
I think they are so used to it now but gosh it was such a long conversation explaining to my grandma what I do. I remember telling my parents that I was quitting my job to go full-time Instagramming, there was this silence on the other side of the phone but then I told them how much I got paid for one of the jobs.
And this is where we mentioned that the oatmeal that was served at our TRACE breakfast table had honey from our own rooftop bees, and as any passionate photographer, Rich’s eyes lit up and asked us for the opportunity to check it out. Little did he know that we had something up our sleeves as well… we brought our own, San Franciscan symbol, a unicorn cut-out for him to play with!
This is what it looked like from our perspective.
Look out for @paperboyo's W San Francisco finished art on our page. We will share the amazing work once it hits our DM.
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