Paperny graduated from Stroganov Art School in Moscow
and received his PhD in cultural studies from the Russian
State University for the Humanities. After moving to
the U.S. in 1981, he worked as an art director for Orange
Coast Magazine in Irvine and The Workbook in Los Angeles.
Paperny also served as director of advertising for a
division of US Gypsum. He opened his design studio,
VPA, in 1988. His time is divided between design, illustration,
photography and video production as well as writing
and lecturing on art, design and architecture.