|Mark Ryden was born on January 20, 1963 in Medford, Oregon, but grew up in Southern California. He received a B.F.A. in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Mark's paintings instantly trigger a warped deja vu. His work recalls a parallel universe of 1950s Golden Books and the whimsy of Lewis Carroll. His cheery bunnies, rendered in the glowing hues of children's books, are likely to be carving slabs of meat rather than frolicking in the forest. Ryden's work mingles superb technique with outre images to create a world of strange and disturbing beauty.
When I was a child. I was free...
"I still remember the joy I got out of drawing, painting and building a world of my own when I was a child. I was free. I try to recapture that felling I had making art as a child and to believe in magic, to play, to dream. Children see things and feel things that adults don't."
"At once intriguing and unsettling, baffling and enchanting, [Ryden's] works ... are subtle amalgams of many sources and influences as wide-ranging as Psychedelic and Vienna School artists Neon Park and Ernst Fuchs, to classical French formalists Ingres and David."
- Rick Gilbert-Panik
Mark was part of a very creative family. His father, Keith, made his living painting, restoring, and customizing cars. Mark's mother, Barbara, while she dedicated her life to raising her 5 children, was always busy with a creative project and encouraged her children in the pursuit of art. Mark's older brother KRK, an underground artist notorious in the counter culture, gave Mark an early introduction to art.
Mark's paintings are treasured by collectors from Australia to Sweden. A few of his clients include Stephen King, Leonardo DiCaprio, Patrick Leonard, Ringo Starr, Danny Elfman, Kirk Hammett, Paul Leary, Chris Carter, Don Was, Kidada Jones, Bridget Fonda, Henry Selik and the famous anti-mogul Long Gone John.
Find the particular things that bring out your spirit. "There are two very different parts to the brain. There is the logical side and the creative side. To make art you have to stop thinking in a linear way. You have to bring to life the part of your brain that finds mystical wonder in life and nature. There is a part of your soul that can spend hours admiring the subtle colors and shapes in an old raccoon skull. You have to find the particular things that bring out your spirit."
Currently, Mark paints high atop a magic castle in Pasadena, California. You can find him late at night in his studio among his many trinkets, statues, skeletons, saints, and old toys that he collects for inspiration.