What started off as a hobby is now a serious engagement for Desmond Fernandez. His impressive paper craft is now seeing rising demand

As Desmond Fernandez, 26, arranges the paper craft figures made by him on a table, the resultant roster of characters is quite an impressive sight. Goku from the popular anime series Dragonball Z strikes a battle ready pose, facing the portly Italian plumber Mario from video game consoles of the same generation. Box-headed figures of Spider-Man and Iron Man watch on while The Hulk, Kung Fu Panda, Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls and a replica of Transformers character Optimus Prime’s head populate the rest of the arena.

Desmond, who is an employee at an advertising firm in the city, says he stumbled upon paper craft in 2007 when he was in his second year of engineering at Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology. “It started out as just an experiment, when I discovered paper craft on Google. It was simple figures initially, with boxy shapes, and then I started moving on to more complicated ones,” he says, gesturing towards the head of the popular Transformers character, “That is probably my most complex work till date.”

Desmond’s choice of materials is surprisingly simple given the detail and finish of his completed works. He uses laser printed paper with a thickness of between 120 to 300 GSM, depending on the piece he is working on. Initially, the designs for his works came from the Net, where similar artists upload their designs and let others use them. He prints out the relevant parts of the design after working out how the finished product will look, and then cuts, folds and pastes them together to make the figure. He also makes different pieces adhere together to create movable parts, such as Iron Man’s mask.

Though he has been doing this for a while, it has always been a hobby, which he has promoted through his Facebook page, Kila Arts. “It was only recently, at a sale held at Chaicofi café in the city that I put up my works for purchase. I had never really considered how to price what I make, so I was a bit lost when people came up and started asking how much they cost. In the end I ended up selling around 26 works!” he says with a grin.

For collectors

Desmond has begun working on his own designs as well, and is now eager to visit more events where he can sell his work. “I’ve been working on how to price my works and now that I’ve seen the response I’m looking forward to visit more events, especially in Bangalore. But I also want to be careful who I sell to, as I would rather have my works given collector value than be destroyed by improper care.” He explains that his smaller works will sell for around Rs.150 with the price of the others depending on scale. Since his first sale, he has been taking orders from people to bring to life their favourite characters.

The love for comic book characters took him to Comic Con in Delhi in 2012, where he went dressed as Goku, with the trademark spiky hair created from paper. “The hair is a difficult thing to emulate, so I decided to make it out of paper, and the response was great,” he says. His future works continue to draw from popular characters in anime, movies and video games, but include the automotive kind as well. Desmond is now making a larger version of the Transformer as well as Lightning Mcqueen from Cars and a model of the Porsche 911 Carrera.

He makes his choice of materials clear as he explains why he would not want to abandon paper for other mediums. “When you look at other materials like plastic, they cannot be manipulated as easily and the whole design process is different, it isn’t art in the same sense anymore. Besides, folding, cutting and creating these figures are a calming experience. When I have my headphones on and am at work, it is bliss.”

For more information about Desmond and his work, visit http://www.facebook.com/kilaarts.

Speaking in rhymes

Besides his paper craft, Desmond is into rap music, another hobby that started after college, through text rap battles on the social networking site Orkut. Under the name ‘Kila Flow’, Desmond gained some popularity and began his Facebook page under the name, which he carried over to his art when he decided to make it a brand. He started with performances at local venues and a brief stint as part of a now defunct band named Southern Front. Desmond eventually went on to perform as one of the supporting artistes with Stephen Devassy in a segment of television reality show Indian Voice.