Mark Ryden at his studio, photo by Ann Cutting.
|Birth name||Mark Ryden|
January 20, 1963 |
|Training||Art Center College of Design|
Clear Heart Grey Flowers
Mark Ryden (born January 20, 1963) is an American painter. Ryden is one of the most well known artists of the Pop Surrealist movement, an underground, pop-culture-infused art scene with its origins in 1970s Southern California. He was dubbed "the god-father of pop surrealism" by Interview Magazine. Ryden's aesthetic is developed from subtle amalgams of many sources: from Ingres, David and other French classicists to Little Golden Books. Ryden also draws his inspiration from anything that will evoke mystery; old toys, anatomical models, stuffed animals, skeletons and religious ephemera found in flea markets. According to The New York Times, "Ryden’s pictures hint at the psychic stuff that pullulates beneath the sentimental, nostalgic and naïve surface of modern kitsch."
Early life 
Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon on January 20, 1963, but raised in Southern California. Ryden is the son of Barbara and Keith Ryden. His father made a living painting, restoring and customizing cars, He has two sisters and two brothers, one a fellow artist named Keyth Ryden, who works under the name KRK. Ryden graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, in 1987.
Early career (1988-1998) 
From 1988 to 1998 Ryden made his living as a commercial artist. During this period Ryden created numerous album covers including, Michael Jackson's Dangerous, Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute, and Aerosmith's Love in an Elevator. Also during this time, Ryden created book covers including Stephen King's novel Desperation and The Regulators. Ryden made a living as a commercial artist until his work was taken up by Robert Williams, a former member of the Zap Comix collective, who in 1994 put it on the cover of Juxtapoz, a magazine devoted to "lowbrow art".
Exhibitions (1998-present) 
Ryden’s solo debut show entitled "The Meat Show" was in Pasadena, California in 1998. Meat is a reoccurring theme in Ryden’s work. Ryden observes the disconnect in our contemporary culture between meat we use for food and the living, breathing creature it comes from. “I suppose it is this contradiction that brings me to return to meat in my art.” According to Ryden, 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.
A midcareer retrospective, "Wondertoonel," which refers to a cabinet of curiosities or Wunderkammer ("wonder-room"), was co-organized in 2004 by the Frye Museum in Seattle and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. It was the best attended exhibition since the Frye Art Museum opened in 1952, and also broke attendance records in Pasadena. Debra Byrne, curator at the Frye at the time of Ryden’s exhibition, placed Ryden’s work in the camp of the carnivalesque—a strain of visual culture rooted in such works as Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. According to the Russian author and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975), there are three forms of carnivalesque art—the ritualized spectacle, the comic composition and various genres of billingsgate (foul language)—all three of which are interwoven in Ryden's work.
In 2007, “The Tree Show” opened at the Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles. In this show Ryden explores the modern human experience of nature. Ryden explains “Some people look at these massive trees and feel a sort of spiritual awe looking at them, and then other people just want to cut them up and sell them, they only see a commodity”. Ryden has created limited editions of his art to raise money for the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy.
In 2009, Ryden's exhibition "The Snow Yak Show" was shown at the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo. In this exhibition Ryden’s compositions were more serene and suggestive of solitude, peacefulness and introspection.
In 2010, "The Gay 90’s: Old Tyme Art Show" debuted at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, New York. The central theme the show referenced the idealism and sentimentalism of the 1890s while addressing the role of kitsch and nostalgia in our current culture. Here Ryden explores the line between attraction and repulsion to kitsch. According to Ryden, the “Gay 90s” is a thematic genre that pushes sentimentality and kitsch to its utmost limits.
Ryden's "The Tree of Life" painting was included in the exhibition "The Artist's Museum, Los Angeles Artists 1980-2010" at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). The exhibition showcased artists who have helped shape the artistic dialogue in Los Angeles since the founding of MOCA over 30 years ago. Ryden hung on the same wall as Robert Williams. The infinite levels of high, low and hypothetical on which Williams is operating and the rigorous realism in the service of fantasy that is Ryden's trademark underscore where art is fearlessly going outside of the academy. These two artists mine fertile territory in the visual and conceptual sphere that also finds its outlets in popular culture .
Personal life 
He has two children, Rosie and Jasper. On October 24, 2009 Ryden married longtime partner, artist Marion Peck, in the woods of the Pacific Northwest Rainforest. He currently lives and works in Eagle Rock, California, in a studio that he shares with his wife.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (April 2013)|
- Daily Beast
- Interview Magazine
- New York Times
- New York Times - May 2010
- Mark Ryden Biography
- Los Angeles Times -Jan 4, 2002
- KRK Ryden Biography
- Wondertoonel Exhibition Book
- The Japan Times - February 2009
- New York Times Magazine April 2010
- LA Weekly - March 2007
- "hifructose.com Mark Ryden's "The Snow Yak" show in Tokyo" February 12, 2009
- The Snow Yak Show (Mark Ryden) in Tokyo Opening Night February 11, 2009
- Interview Magazine
- Laughing Squid
- Huffington Post
- File:Wolf cover 3.JPG
-  Ryden Peck wedding
- http://twitpic.com/o53qg Ryden Wedding photo
- Mark Ryden's official website
- Mark Ryden's books and prints
- Michael Kohn Gallery
- Tomio Yama Gallery
- Ryden portfolio at the Earl McGrath Gallery, New York
- Mark Ryden - Surreal Art Collective