Ben Jones was my roommate. I’m proud to say that ’cause I’m a huge fan of his work. Back when we were at MassArt together he would show his Alfe videos inter-spliced with bits of lo-fi, computer generated psychedelia. There was always something mind-blowing, disturbing, and hilarious about his stuff.
We collaborated on the Toneburst parties a bit but not as much as I would have liked. He was usually busy performing with his various bands, making psychedelic videos, and drawing comics. I remember him working with Fort Thunder peeps like Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt, on large-scale-comics-collabs that were just insane, and he had his own comic-collab; Paper Rad.
I was happy to see an article about Paper Rad in The Fader magazine a while back, and more recently the cover they did for XLR8R magazine. I’ve now started noticing their work popping up in places other than magazines, like t-shirts with their work in an underground fashion store here in Chicago.
The other day I was at the opening party for a show at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art called Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967. Interestingly, there was a wall panel in the show that mentioned Fort Thunder and the influence of the artists and bands who emerged from that scene, then in the museum store I found Paper Rad’s, Trash Talking DVD and just had to buy it. Man, it is worth all $17. Shit is just crazy! It’s full of the classic mind-melting montages and hilarity that I loved back in the day, but updated and more advanced while still managing to come off super-digi-lo-fi.
If you’re into a combined sense of unease and pleasure with your art I highly recommend checking out their work.