Over the coming days we’ll be profiling a number of artists who are participating in the inaugural Sydney edition of Field Trip, an unconventional creative conference that pegs itself as the bastard child of an outdoor music festival and a live cooking demonstration. 

After taking on and breaking the rules for these kind of events in Melbourne earlier this year, Field Trip is poised to shake things up in Sydney by positing a line-up of artists working across a range of disciplines who, instead of slideshows and lecture notes, will present a live demonstration of their craft. Instead of remaining firmly planted in stadium seating posting hashtagged missives that fall on deaf Twitter ears, audiences will actually be able to engage with each artist from the start to the finish of their process through the wonders of audiovisual technology and regular old close proximity. 

You’ll literally be able to get up close and personal with the freshly birthed works of some of this city’s best and brightest, including illustrator Nigel Buchanan, embroiderers Maricor/Maricar, typographer Gemma O’Brien, 3D artists/retouchers Forge & Morrow, animator Dom Bartolo of Flutter and info-graphic guru Anthony Calvert. Ticketing and event details follow below.

First up, we cut fast and loose with ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-paper’ paper craft artist Benja Harney, a man who makes paperwork look like a desirable pastime and wears paper-cuts like an enviable badge of honour.  

Could you tell us your name, where you’re from and where you’re based? 

Benja Harney. Sydney born and bred. My studio Paperform is based in Surry Hills. 

Describe your style of art in the way you’d explain it to an art noob. 

I’m a self taught paper engineer. I construct all manner of things out of paper. Pop-up books are my passion but I also create sculpture, illustration, packaging, fashion, sets – basically anything and everything out of paper I can do. 

With Field Trip you have to convert your medium into an engaging live performance. How are you going to do it? And what are the challenges involved in the process? 

That is indeed a challenge! Hopefully people will find my presentation engaging. I will most certainly be getting the audience involved in some way. I wanna build something massive with everyone’s help. 

What is the most important piece of knowledge you’ve acquired that has helped you as a professional working artist? 

Get everything in detail and in writing before you start. Value your time and creativity. Never miss deadlines (no matter what). Stay hungry and inquisitive.


Do you have any advice to share with up and coming artists who want to make it their full time profession? 

I’m always banging on about passion but I do think that is THE essential ingredient to success – you have to love what you do and stand by your work. Also, be willing to put in the hard yards – nothing good came easy. I had a 4 day a week job for 6 years and would do my paper stuff at nights and on the weekends until I was ready to go full time. It can seem quite daunting at times but don’t give up. 

In 25 words or less describe your working space. 

A paper cave of wonders! At minute, it’s complete chaos – paper engineering is a messy game. I’m surrounded by my sculptures and studio mates.

Field Trip takes place on Friday December 7th at the York Theatre in the Seymour Centre, Chippendale. Ticket prices start at $75.00 for a full day, which also includes entry into the after-party at Marmalade at The Rose. It also includes an enviable goody bag to add to your creative bounty. For more info head to the Field Trip website.
Images supplied