Paper Rad

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Screenshot from Paper Rad's Facemaker video (2005).

Paper Rad was an art collective from approx. 2000 until 2008, based on the East Coast in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Providence, Rhode Island.[1][2] Known for creating comics, zines, video art, net art, MIDI files, paintings, installations, and music with a distinct "lo-fi" aesthetic often associated with underground culture or 1990s "retro tech", juxtaposed images and featuring bright colors.


The three primary members were Jacob Ciocci,[3] Jessica Ciocci,[3] and Ben Jones,[4] but additionally included many others such as Paul Bright, David Wightman, Sonja Radovancevic, Extreme Animals, and others.[1][5][6]

Prior to Paper Rad, Ben Jones and Christopher Forgues (C.F.) were students at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and created a zine project called "Paper Radio".[7][8] Jacob and his sister Jessica became active in Paper Rad after moving to Boston and hanging out with Joe Grillo, Ben Jones, and Christopher Forgues.[8] All of them were interested in zine making, experimental art and music, and computers, which opened up the possibility of multimedia work.[8] The first Paper Rad animation video was made in Boston on VHS tape.[8] The early collaborators for Paper Rad included Andrew Warren, Joe Grillo, Laura Grant, and Billy Grant (and later the Grant siblings with Joe Grillo formed the art collective, Dearraindrop).[8]

Paper Rad exhibited works at several major galleries including PaceWildenstein, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Deitch Projects.[citation needed] Paper Rad's work (featuring Ben Jones) is included in the permanent museum collection at Princeton University Art Museum.[9]

The collective published a book in late-2005, Paper Rad, BJ and da Dogs[10] and a DVD in 2006 on Load Records (Trash Talking). Paper Rad's video works are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix.[11]


Paper Rad calls its style "Dogman 99", a play on the Danish filmmaking movement Dogme 95.[12] According to one of its project websites, the rules of Dogman 99 are: "No Wacom tablet, no scanning, pure RGB colors only, only fake tweening, and as many alpha tricks as possible".[12]

Paper Rad's visual projects often employ bright fluorescent palettes juxtaposed with primary colors to create a distinctive "lo fi" look. It adopts a variety of techniques and elements to achieve this look, including pop art, collage, punk art, as well as imagery from popular culture. The multimedia projects incorporate MIDI audio, poor recordings of original sound effects and voices, pixelization, and other crude audio and visual components. Paper Rad recycled or appropriated obscure sounds and images from a variety of sources, including old cartoons, commercials, and late-night television.

In the early 2000s Paper Rad's website featured early GIF art as well as a maze of linked images in the "Dogman 99" style.[12]

Collaborations & other works[edit]

Super Mario Bros. Movie[edit]

Paper Rad collaborated with multi-media artist Cory Arcangel to make Super Mario Bros. Movie, a 15-minute video piece about the life and times of Nintendo's Mario.[13] The piece consisted of a hacked Nintendo Entertainment System video-game cartridge where the backgrounds and scenarios were altered and rearranged into a narrative story about the game world becoming corrupted and Mario's existential crises about being a video game character.[13][14] The movie debuted at Deitch Projects in New York in 2005.[14]

Wyld File[edit]

Wyld File consisted of the duo Ben Jones and Jacob Ciocci, in collaboration with Eric Mast (better known as E*ROCK).[15] Wyld File is a commercial entity that makes lo-fi music videos for artists like Islands, The Gossip ("Standing in the Way of Control"), and Beck ("Gameboy Homeboy").[16]


  1. ^ a b Chiaverina, John (September 16, 2015). "Paul's Pile Of Papers: Paul Bright On His Paper Rad Collection And Forthcoming Book". ARTnews. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Nadel, Dan (2011). "Artistic Modern Funnies: Ben Jones' Problem Solverz". The Comics Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2019. He studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and in Boston linked up with C.F. and collaborated as "Paper Radio"; then he formed the collective Paper Rad with Jessica and Jacob Ciocci in 2000,
  3. ^ a b "Gold Finger". Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  4. ^ Miranda, Carolina A. (August 21, 2015). "Datebook: The art of a comics legend, avant-garde film and the future of L.A. architecture". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "Watch Influential Noise Outfit Extreme Animals' Insane New Video For "God Jam (Blow Your Pants Off)"". Paper Magazine. July 28, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Moore College presents Women in Animation Film Festival". Metro US. March 14, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Nadel, Dan (April 28, 2016). "Punk and Hippie". Art in America. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e "An Oasis, a Utopia, and a Nightmare". Rhizome. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "Collection: Diamond (2004)". Princeton University Art Museum. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "Quimby's Store". Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  11. ^ "Electronic Arts Intermix: Paper Rad". Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "A Brief History of Animated GIF Art, Part One". Artnet News. August 2, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Cory Arcangel's Surrealist Super Mario". Hyperallergic. May 10, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Smith, Roberta (February 4, 2005). "Art in Review; Cory Arcangel; Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  15. ^ "E*Rock". Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Womack, David; Heller, Steven (2011). Becoming a Digital Designer: A Guide to Careers in Web, Video, Broadcast, Game and Animation Design. John Wiley & Sons. p. 37. ISBN 978-1118034217.