Artists We Love: Ross Symons


We caught up with paper extraordinaire Ross Symons to find out what inspires him and what plans he has for the future. Read more about his exciting work in the latest issue of VISI.

What is the process of creating a piece? Do you have a ritual when it comes to creating your art?

I start with the basic shape (this is called the “base”) of the figure and getting the correct number of flaps for the figure. Each flap can be turned into a limb or head or wing of the figure I’m folding. For example, if I was designing a horse, I would work out the fold sequence for a base with a head, tail and four legs. Once I have that shape I can then shape each flap into the different parts. That can take anything from five days to a month to get right. Once I’ve done that I then get the basic horse shape and continue to refine it until I’m happy with the proportions. This can take months to perfect.

I don’t really have a ritual but I keep paper with me all the time. This is in case I’m sitting around somewhere and inspiration rocks up saying, “Hey dude, maybe you should try this…?”.

Have you worked on any exciting collaborations?

I have worked on so many cool collaborations recently. I did an artist collaboration project on Instagram and I also worked with Red Bull on their Paper Wings campaign earlier in the year. Nic Haralambous of invited me to create a series of origami lapel pins for his fashion brand. I did a shop front installation with ANDPEOPLE for the adidas AREA3 concept store launch in Braamfontein in Johannesburg.

The last collaboration I did was with Old Khaki. I did a stop-frame animation for their winter social media campaign.

Do you have a favourite thing to fold?

The latest design I’m working on is always my favourite thing to fold. I become obsessed with it and can’t wait to fold it and get it closer and closer to the finished state. New ideas always arrive as I’m folding a new piece and I love that.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve been invited to do an exhibition in Johannesburg in 2016. I’m also doing more work with a team I’ve previously collaborated with in the near future, and I will be sharing my story and what I’ve learnt during my shift from a web developer to following a passion project in as many places as possible: talks, events, conferences.

But otherwise, I’ll be posting my folded figures on Instagram as often as I can!

Follow Ross on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest designs.