Paper Rad Aren’t Pizza Symbols. They Are Peace Symbols

  June 29th, 2008

Paper Rad are an art collective of wanderers who make cartoons, comics, paintings, videos, clothes, pizza, work on peanut farms, own two glitter factories, carve star charts in cactii, run a professional scab-picker’s service, respect the earth, breed oxen, respect oxen, love life and wrestle invaders in grand mal, glitchy glory.

They live in a reddish-magenta house and gather around green mac n cheese.

Strap your tentacles in and find them here.

Now, these folks also created a team of six adventurers called the Problem Solvers: Pandemonia, a witch who is angry & a black cone, Dewey a hairy free spirit, Riviera a floating gelatinous cube, T Bubbles who is cool, D-O-G who is canine & powerful, Buck a stern Duck.

The image below is of Dewey with a Pizza Cape, alarmed. It comes from the Problem Solver’s video #1211: “Give Pizza A Chance” (also below):

Dewey Pizza Problem Solvers


I’ve watched this video many times. Maybe too many. I get a warm honey-knot somewhere in my chest in response to the garish color-bursts, the video game bleep-tunes, the jerky robo animations, the 80′s nostalgia (day-glo outfits, trolls, the very name “T Bubbles”), the dream-like narrative skips & stretches, and the finale: candy-raver peace-symbol triumph/blossom/burgeon all over the city.

More favorite parts are: Dewey’s Scalding Pizza Cape, Riviera’s impassioned & rambling love of the “number one day” he’s ever seen, the slow rise and fall of the hat-wearing bucktoothed monster at the end.

Peace Symbols Problem Solvers

The video’s style: blunt & cartoony-brutish, fluoro-mallet, magenta-concussions. Reminds me of the scene in I Heart Huckabee where men are beating their own faces with red rubber balls.

As for the rest of Paper Rad’s productions — I eye-lap the fit-inducing strobe of their site, and the layered, massed impact of their printed works — dense with fluorescent ephemera, half-narratives & scrawls & repurposed cartoon characters. It all taps into the same hunger for sensory overload in me that I spend most of my waking time vehemently decrying as an inescapable blight upon the modern world.

Secretly of course I want to go on a neon bender staring at 116 youtube videos at once, 13 of which are playing obscure berlin disco, the rest of which are toxicolored beautiful beepy Paper Rad.

There is a comfort in noise, in the staticky womby bath of it. Paper Rad (not so much the Problem Solvers videos, but their site, cartoons & books, especially “BJ and Da Dogs”) offer the visual and color & nostalgic analogue of that noise & static: massed strobing mess, sheer assaulting saturation:


All the chunky pixels, all the pummeling graphics, all the Alf & Popples & Garfield cameos, and all the scraping-loud day-glo cascades — all this array massed and deployed on a monitor the size of the sky could never fully blot out the painful reality of being alive.

But it sure as hell helps (me, at any rate).

Go to Paper Rad & bleed a little play-doh.
C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by C Way at 11:59 PM]


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