Mark Ryden

Does anybody like surrealism? I love it! I think it is an incredible cultural movement. Surrealism paintings are very different from reality: every picture is a single world that keeps a story, which cannot be revealed to everyone. If you want to be able to see this story, you should clear up your mind and look closer.

One of my favorite surrealism artists is Mark Ryden. He is also named as “the god-father of pop surrealism”. He was born on January 20th, 1963 in Medford, Oregon, USA. He has dedicated all his life to art. In 1987 he finished Art College of Design in Pasadena. During 90’s Mark Ryden was working as a commercial artist. Among his work was Michael Jackson’s album “Dangerous” and Red Hot Chilly Peppers’ “One Hot Minute”. He also made book covers for 2 novels of Stephen King (Desperation, The Regulators).

His first exhibition was in 1998, Pasadena, California and called “The Meat Show”. Mark Ryden highlights the contradiction between meat we consume and the animals where this meat comes from. As Ryden says, “meat is the physical substance that makes all of us alive and through which we exist in this reality. All of us are wearing our bodies, which are like a garment of meat”.

He looks for his inspiration in everything whatever seems mysterious: skeletons, dolls, religious items, etc. Ryden often depicts Abraham Lincoln in his work. As it is written on his official site, “Ryden’s vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul. A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. In Ryden’s world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.”

His paintings are easy to spot: almost on every single work he draws an eye and a bee. Can you find these two symbols on his work?

Here is a link to his site if anyone would like to see more of his paintings