After stumbling across artist Sarah Frost's legion of scrupulously folded paper guns, our interest here at WonderHowTo was instantly piqued. After all, our library has 300+ paper gun tutorials, and we're fascinated with the surrounding subculture.
Apparently Frost is fascinated, too. Her recent exhibition Arsenal features an impressive paper arms reserve, initially inspired by a YouTube video of a boy who used 1,400 sheets of paper to craft an elaborate M-134 Vulcan submachine gun.
Frost, a St. Louis artist working in sculpture and installation, was impressed by the idiosyncratic ingenuity and extensive knowledge of these boys. In fact, their knowledge is so extensive, not only are these young boys capable of crafting facsimiles, but functioning facsimiles at that—we're talking spinning chambers, folding or extendable stocks, pump-action barrels, and more.
Below, a brief Q&A with the artist.
HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THIS COMMUNITY OF LITTLE BOY GUN FREAKS?
I was browsing the internet and completely by accident, I stumbled upon a community of kids making paper guns on YouTube. There are many tutorial videos, and even more videos of kids showcasing home-made paper guns and their workable features.
I can't say who my favorite is—there are many interesting forms, and a few really amazing creations. The age range of the kids is anywhere from about 7 to 15-years-old—a fairly large range. There appeared to be variety in socio-economic background, but everyone did have the means to shoot video and upload to a computer. There was a true variety in resolution, quality and time invested in the videos, as well as the design and craft level in the guns themselves.
DID YOU FIND THE YOUTUBE TUTORIALS SUFFICIENT WHEN CRAFTING YOUR OWN?
For my purposes, I needed further experimentation and research. Many of the items as found were not durable enough. Also, I had to adjust things to achieve a consistent, high level of craftsmanship across all the guns.
DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS.
I ended up making around 50 models and various accessories. I used several weights of printer paper, with lots of folding, cutting and scoring. I also used glue and tape. I made many, many prototypes before I came up with the finished forms and techniques.
NOTE: If you're in the NYC area, "Arsenal" is currently showing at P•P•O•W Gallery through May 14th. Go check out Frost's installation of 50 odd handguns, ammunition belts, bayonets, Halo-inspired assault rifles, and more.
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