It seems Whitehorse has an artistic genius in the making. Thirteen-year-old Ben Beese has turned paper into realistic replica gun models. For the whole month of November Northern Front Studio at Waterfront Station in Whitehorse will pay tribute to the teenager’s collection.

Beese’s reason for creating guns is simple.

“I wanted to own a gun,” he says with a grin.

For the past two years, Beese has been making perfectly-to-scale firearms out of regular printing paper. His collection includes a revolver pistol, rifles, semi automatic machine guns, a shotgun, and fantasy guns inspired by the video game Halo.

Beese’s interest in paper art began a few years ago when he discovered origami.

“I think origami is super cool,” Beese says.

He has made several origami objects, including a collection of cubes that transform into a rose. “I am also hoping to make a spiky ball which uses 96 pieces of paper.”

From origami, he began to expand his paper creations. At one point the inventive teen created a life size warrior made entirely out of paper. Then he came across a video about making guns out of paper on YouTube and was hooked.

Using a book called Gun Recognition Guide by Ian Hogg as a guideline, the young artist began to create his masterpieces.

On average, Beese spends one or two hours making a paper gun. He typically finds the guns easy to make, however, he’s been frustrated with the AK-47.

“(The model) has been very challenging, and I have had to re-build it a few times,” he says. “It’s still a work in progress, but I am determined to get it right, in time for the exhibit.”

Like most artistic projects, practice makes perfect.

In addition to creating base models, Beese has engineered them to fire paper bullets. With the addition of sliding mechanisms, also made with paper, the bullets shoot straight through the air.

Beese has further enhanced his guns by adding accessories to some of the models. He has designed scopes and stands to make his machine guns look more realistic.

When Beese’s exhibition opens on Nov. 1, visitors to Northern Front Studio will have the opportunity to fire paper bullets from the guns for $1 per shot. He will donate the money to the Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse.

“I enjoy hanging out there and when I first started making guns, they were very encouraging, so I would like to give something back to them,” he says.

Beese is also accepting commissions for custom-made guns, starting at $20.

Principal of the gallery, Mary Ellen Read, is excited to be introducing Beese’s work.

“Ben’s paper guns are amazing scale models,” she says. “For us, it is really inspiring to see someone who is interested in constructing out of paper something mechanical.”

The exhibit promises to be a visual treat. The opening reception for Ben Beese’s art show takes place on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Northern Front Studio, which is located at 2237 – 2nd Ave, Suite 110.

For more information about the event, go to www.NorthernFront.ca