By Katarina Hybenova
Photo by Katarina Hybenova. The rest of the images by courtesy of Reed+Rader.
The video game heroes. The animated gif fairy tale couple. Very likely the coolest people of the fashion world right now. Visionaries and playful internet kids who won a Willy Wonka ticket to do whatever they like! And hell, they are awesome at it. Reed+Rader.
Reed+Rader is Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader. With a background in photography, Reed and Rader derive their inspiration from technology, internet, video games and augumented reality. This artist couple have created their own unique visual language by combining photography and animation. It’s not a surprise that Reed+Rader’s “living photographs” or animated gifs have been met with an overwhelming response from the fashion and art world. Their clients include V Magazine, V Man, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, Muse, Pop, Vs., Tokion Factory, Vice, Motilo, Cut + Run, SSENSE, Cynthia Rowley, Ashleigh Verrier and Becks Green Box Project, among others…
These awesome folks live in Bed-Stuy with their four cats and can frequently be found on their amazing rooftop farm growing vegetables. You’ll have a great chance to meet them in person this Saturday at the opening of Vegan Pizza Party, a project of our artsy sister Internet-based BushwickGallery.com. Matthew will be the one wearing a pizza outfit!
We asked Reed+Rader a couple of questions….
Your work is an amazing playful fusion between photography and animation. Was there a specific event or occasion that lead you to that path? Also is there a name for the kind of work you make?
In late 2007, early 2008 we decided to stop doing still images and explore this territory of moving images that we refer to as photo animations or, just simply, gifs. Instead of just dumping old ideas online, it made sense to us being computer-and-internet-obsessed to make the work take advantage of that emerging venue. We saw that many magazines weren’t taking advantage of the web and we wanted to help push them over the cliff and carve out a new market.
You guys have made a lot of fashion editorials. How do you like being part of fashion world?
We use fashion as a way to dress characters in stories we create. We really love the more outgoing styles of clothing that take more risks as it really helps to tell more about these characters. We work very hand in hand with stylists on projects to make sure the story is being told as we imagine.
What about art? Does it give you more freedom?
Definitely. When we do something outside of an editorial or commercial job, there’s a lot less rules and not as many hands in the cookie jar, so we take more risks and try new things. We feel like with the gallery work we can just do it because we want to, no other reasons.
You work always in a couple. can you describe what is the division of your work? Who does what?
We always say this and it’s cliché but it’s like the same person with 4 hands and 2 brains. We’ve been working together and as a couple for close to 10 years and there’s probably only a handful of days we haven’t seen each other so we know each other pretty well. Working in a team as a couple allows you to talk ideas anytime, it’s not uncommon that we are in bed at 5AM talking about ideas because someone woke up with a thought and needs to share it. With that said, it’s also impossible to separate Pamela + Matthew from Reed + Rader so work never shuts off. If we have to divide tasks, Matthew is stronger at programming and technicals and Pamela is stronger at general art direction and production. But it really is a team effort and nothing is ever done before we both agree on it.
Can you tell us any contemporary artists whose work you follow?
We love Friends With You. They’ve been a favorite for years and most recently we both worked on the Beck’s Green Box Project. The Green Box was an exciting project to be involved with and we got to travel to Berlin to not only see our project live, but we saw Friends With You as well. We also are astounded by Memo Akten’s mad scientist tech-wizardry and adore Rachel Maclean.
Do you think that animated gifs are the future of online magazines?
Animated gifs are old, but very new at the same time. They are such an easy way to share moving content so it makes sense to make images move. Online you can make clothing move, have sound, have interactivity. These are all things we hope that online magazines take advantage of as it’s the platform they are publishing on. Whatever the future holds, we’ll always look back on GIFs as one of the internet’s first true visual art forms.
Oh, and we are totally jealous about your amazing roof top garden. Can you tell us about it?
We have a 500 square foot garden on the roof, some people refer to it as a farm. We spend many hours there and lots of hard work, but it’s the best time of the day to go up there and just escape from the city stress and unwind. It really does feel like another place when you’re up there, on your knees, planting corn seeds. We grow broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, corn, sugar snap peas, strawberries, onions, kale, spinach, green beans, carrots, watermelon, pumpkins, potatoes. We grow a lot! It’s lots of fun, we love it.