paper artist benja harney

He has created paper wings for Hermes. And is currently completing a commission for Kylie Minogue. Six years of hard work and dedication are paying off for Sydney paper artist/engineer Benja Harney. He will be one of the official paper artists at the Paper Convention Collective, which opens tomorrow. A sneak peek of one of his creations is here.

Which five words best describe you? Inquisitive, precise, determined, creative, fun.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I didn't know that the profession of paper engineer even existed when I started making pop-up books at design school. It was just something that tweaked my interest. I love making models and intricate things - the mechanics and technical aspects of creating with paper drive my curiosity. This medium has now become my total passion. I have worked extremely hard over the last 6 years to build up my portfolio and followed a creative interests. I guess I'm lucky that I found paper engineering. It was never my intention to do this as a career - it has been a very organic evolution.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Nothing good came easy. If you want something set out to get it - but be prepared to work hard to get there.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I am just putting the finishing touches on a deluxe limited edition pop-up book for Kylie Minogue. It has been a huge job and I am off China next week to oversee production. That has to rate pretty high don't you think?! The only other comparable project had to be the wings I made for Hermès. Both of these jobs have required the same amount of dedication to complete.

What’s been your best decision? To trust my design instincts - they usually kick in late at night in my studio.

Who inspires you? Always my friends. But also Patti Smith recently. What an amazing woman and a total inspiration! She was nominated as one of Time Magazine's 100 most important people this year. There is a video interview with her at the bottom of her page on the Time website and she recites one of her poems there. Watch that and you will know what I'm on about.

What are you passionate about? Learning new things. I'm also passionate about being well dressed and collecting old objects that are transparent, like glass and perspex.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I've met so many interesting people already. Can't wait to meet Kylie though!

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to buy a small island (which is an ongoing joke but we've gotta have dreams!)

What are you reading? Recently finished Just Kids by Patti Smith - hence the obsession - and now on to Metamorphoses by Ovid (which is a bit too cerebral if I'm honest) but always The New Yorker (which turns up in my letterbox every week).

images courtesy of benja harney