Cardboard dinosaurs, Miley Cyrus riding a cat through rainbows – welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Reed + Rader. We caught up with the New York based duo to talk about the inspiration behind their trippy works and whether Pokemon would benefit from including some cats.
Please tell us about yourselves? Where are you from and how did you meet?
Matthew is from Ohio. Pamela is from Pennsylvania. We met each other when we were 19 years old attending art school in Pittsburgh. We immediately hit it off and became best friends.
How did you start working together?
In the very beginning, we were majoring in different subjects. Matthew was doing interior design and Pamela was doing web design. We both weren’t feeling inspired or creative, so we switched to Photography major. It was an outlet for us to create worlds and scenarios that could be seen. From the very beginning we were assisting each other in school, giving ideas, etc. In 2005, 3 years after we met, we formally became Reed + Rader.
What are the biggest challenges of working together as a couple?
There’s no separation between love and work. Whatever happens at the studio comes home. Whatever happens at home comes to the studio. If Matthew forgets to clean the litter box in the morning, Pamela will keep that grudge at work. If Pamela wakes Matthew up in the middle of the night with an idea, Matthew will blame her for him not getting enough sleep. We come home from work and over dinner we still talk about work. It’s hard to separate the two when they are so intertwined.
You started out doing fashion photography almost a decade ago, what made you interested in digital technology?
Using digital techniques makes sense for us personally because we are technology obsessed. Using new forms of technology and CGI allows us to tell stories and create imagery that we couldn’t in the real world.
Your work seems to be super varied with a seamless mix of technology & craft, how would you describe what you do and how did you come up with this unique blend?
We always say our work isn’t about the medium, it’s about the style. We use lots of different mediums to tell stories. Maybe it’s a video project, maybe it’s an installation, maybe it’s a animated video, maybe it’s a virtual reality project. Whatever it is, it stays true to the fun worlds we create.
Some of your projects are quite out there, where do you get your inspiration?
The internet is a beautiful place full of millions of minds sharing ideas. Sometimes it’s idea overload! Besides that, we’re inspired by space, video games, books, stuffed animals, cats.
You said in an interview a couple of years back that for you, print and film is dead, do yo still think that or do you think it still has a place?
Film doesn’t feel like home to us, so in that sense, it is dead to us. If you ask a magazine to see their subscription numbers vs page view numbers you will see how the role of technology has changed print. Personally, we don’t like reinventing the wheel, we are more excited about doing something new.
How did the collab with Miley for the VMAs come about and what was it like working with her?
MTV liked our work and asked us to pitch a few ideas. Miley is great, she’s a really nice girl, professional and fun to work with. It was a dream collaboration! Pretty much anything we dreamed of, MTV and Miley were down with.
Now you have fulfilled your dream of doing a video of Miley riding a cat, what’s next?
More cats of course! We have a few cat related projects in the works…
Please tell us about your cats, they seem to be a big inspiration in your work?
We have a cat house. We have 5 cats: Xanadu Pluto, FiFi Bofinkles, Brother Bear, Goblin, Toes. They range in age from 16 to 1. Our 20 year old Essy died a few years ago, but is forever in our hearts. Our cats are our kids, we love them dearly; we couldn’t imagine life without them! They energise us, tire us out and inspire us. Basically we work hard because feeding 5 cats is tough work!
What do you think about the Pokemon craze that has taken over the world? Are you hunting Pokemons?
We’ve been playing Pokemon since the beginning so we’re into it! Pamela might have skipped a day of work to go out and catch Pokemon.
What about a game that replaces Pokemons with cats?
Sure! Let’s incorporate some type of touch where you get to feel the cats when catching them. That’s next level.
Your work seems to be a lot about creating fantasy worlds, if you could create your perfect virtual reality to live in, what would it look like?
We’re obsessed with Space Worlds, so maybe it would be a living on Mars world. With cats of course.