Paper Rad – Pioneers in Animated Zine

Paper Rad was a collective of artists acting on the East coast of America during 2000 to 2008. They were mostly famous for creating video art, ”zines”, MIDI-files and paintings with a distinct aesthetic connecting ”underground” culture and the light ”retro-tech”-pictures of the ‘90s.

Paper Rad consisted of several members but three primary that are mostly connected to Paper Rad are Ben Jones and the siblings Jessica and Jacob Ciocci. Besides these, there are Paul Bright and Sonja Radovancevic who are also worth mentioning. Before Paper Rad, Ben Jones and Christopher Forgues were peers at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where they created project for “zine” called Paper Radio. The Ciocci-siblings were often socializing with Forgues and in that way they got in touch with the artist collective. Everybody was interested in zine productions, experimental art and multimedia work. Another pair of siblings joined the collective, Laura and Billy Grant and Joe Grillo. After the Paper Rad era they formed a new collective, called “Dearraindrop”, the first Paper Rad video that was presented was an animations film made on VHS.

Zine – Art Form

Zine came from the word magazine and is often used as a name for different kinds of amateur produced media. This can be expressed in video films, brochures and other “non-conventional” media formats. Fanzines are articles produced by a certain group of people dedicated to a certain type of phenomenon, for example Star Trek or Star Wars. With the breakthrough of the Internet and its large flow of information on social media, so called “zinersters” have found new forums and created new networks. In these networks they arranged different kinds of meetings and conventions every year where they distributed and showed zines.

Ben Jones´s Career

After having become a highly famous and noticed person through Paper Radio, Ben continued his career in the serial and movie world. One of his most famous series is “The Problem Solverz” that is shown on Cartoon Network. He is also a voice actor and makes voices for Alfie and Roba in the same series. In 2013, Jones became the creative director for “Fox´s night programming block ADHD”, ADHD in this case stands for Animation Domination High-Def. The program lasted 90 minutes and consisted of several different animated series for grown-ups that were supposed to be entertaining as well as current society with a touch of humour.  He later created the series “Stone Quackers” that was shown regularly at ADHD. Jones way of expressing himself is a kind of psychedelic painting, mostly light and with not much of a pattern.

Co-op with Nintendo

The short movie where Paper Rad was a part in producing which is seen by the most numbers of people is their cooperation with the gaming company Nintendo. Together with Cory Archangel, a multimedia artist, they got the mission to create a short film about the most famous character of Nintendo, Super Mario. The short film got the name “Super Mario Movie” and was a 15 minutes long movie on how a Nintendo Entertainment System is hacked and the actual story in the game is changed in to a corrupt world where the hero, Super Mario, is having existential crises about his life as a character in a video game. The movie premiered in 2005 at Deich Project in New York. Besides the cooperation with Nintendo, Paper Rad has produced many animated and non-animated music videos.