Mark Ryden

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If you ever enjoyed the Little Golden Books or read Mad Magazine or even watch cartoons as a child you will enjoy Mark Ryden work of art. Why I enjoy his work of art comes from creating mystery with old toys, stuffed animal and religious patrons. Mark Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon on January 20, 1963, but was raised in Southern California with his parents and two brothers and two sisters. His father Keith Ryden made a living from customizing cars and restoring them. As a child Mark would draw in school and his teachers would question why he would draw an animal with their guts hanging out. To mark it was a work of art and his family supported him, but to his teacher it was frighten and he enjoyed it very much. Mark believed that the more he stuffed his head with things like pictures of bugs, books of space, science, medical illustrations and many more things that he can mixed them all up and make his own art. To him certain things just fit right. In 1987 Mark Graduated from Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. During his early periods Mark Ryden made a living as a commercial artist until Robert Williams former member of Juxtapoz magazine ask him to work with him. Juxtapoz magazine only showcases lowbrow artist and it is the second bestselling art magazine in the U.S. Lowbrow is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Pop surrealism has been influenced from classic cartoons, comic books, soft porn and sci­fi.  Around 1988 to 1998 Mark design the book cover for Stephen King’s novel “Desperation” and “The Regulators. Mark also designed the Red Hot Chili Pepper “One hot minute”, Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator” and Michael Jackson “Dangerous” album cover. His painting also of young girls with big eyes and super large heads with very pretty innocent faces, but not knowing if they really innocent. I find some of his picture a bit creepy like the fetal that Abraham Lincoln is pulling out from a tree trunk and holding it while the young innocent girl is looking at it. I wonder if there is a meaning to this disturbing painting. The painting of some young kids having fun in a circus it looks like Mark was having fun in this painting by adding some toys, but I notice again their is a  fetus on the floor the young boy is staring at which I know some people would find it a bit disturbing. If you have a sense of humor you would enjoy Mark Ryden Pop surrealism art.
Maria Vega
What do you think of Mark Ryden work of art?


What makes his paintings so interested?


Do you find his paintings disturbing?



10 thoughts on “Mark Ryden

  1. For me I do find his paintings disturbing. It reminds me of images you would possibly see around Halloween. Like you were saying in your post a lot of the images he drew as a kid were animals with guts hanging out. I find that frightening as well especially if a child were to draw it. What I think makes his paintings seem so interesting is he puts a lot of detail and color into his paintings. There is a lot for the eye to look at and for your brain to try to convey the message he is trying to send to his audience.

  2. Yeah what Jessica said, I can imagine seeing these kinds of art work during Halloween. His art does seem a little creepy but to me Its more fantasy like. Something out of a dream or a movie. It contains elements of our realities but distorts into a fantasy way that would seem impossible here. Like you wonder, I too wonder what the meaning is behind his art. I feel like hes trying to show us his views on some aspect of life. To me, it seems like death and life is a big aspect in his works. I think that’s what makes his works so interesting is because it is something beyond imagination, us viewers have to leave reality for a bit into trying to comprehend what he is conveying.

  3. These pieces are very interesting, but I find a majority of them disturbing. I’m sure the fetuses in the images have meaning, possibly miscarriage or an abortion. I think the little girls with the large eyes are meant to be depicted as innocent, but their large black pupils make them appear devious. I would like to know what the meaning is behind the baby on the bed with Lincoln’s severed head. I get the impression Mark Ryden is not a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln.

  4. I like his art, but it almost seems like there is an element of shock value to it. What I mean is he is obviously a very skillful painter as you can see in that painting of the little girl looking down at Abraham Lincoln pulling a fetus out of a tree. There’s something I never thought I would ever type in my entire life. Anyways, he’s very skilled as a painter, using a nice balance of color, the trees are nicely detailed, the red dress and red hair and red lips create the emphasis being on the little girl. But I think what I like about him is everyone with enough practice, and time can become a skilled painter. It might take a lifetime, but I’d like to think everyone could paint. He stands out because of his shock value. I’m not going to venture a guess as to what the hell message he’s even trying to convey in that one. Disturbing? I would surprisingly say no. But definitely seems like he’s doing it to stand out from the rest of the artists. If you think about an art gallery, you have paintings of scenery, and kids, and landscapes, and mothers with their children, and so on. And then there’s a painting of a severed head on a bed with an infant crawling towards it. Which one are you going to remember? The serene creek running through the middle of a quiet meadow, or the painting of Abraham Lincoln pulling out a fetus from a vagina tree? I think that’s why he paints the way he paints. Or he’s bat shit crazy. Either way, it works.

  5. Mark Ryden’s paintings definitely have an eerie vibe, the one with the tree giving birth in particular. I think what makes his paintings so unique is his creative ideas, and the way he intentionally draws things out of proportion. I do not however find his paintings disturbing, they are very unique and he clearly has an interesting mind.

  6. I think Mark Ryden’s work of art is pretty unique. It is definitely different and on the more abstract side but i find it extremely detailed and very interesting. What i find really unique is his way of drawing and expressing peoples’ faces and expressions; all of them show a lot of personality and emotion. I think the creative mind behind all these works is also extremely interesting, each work tells a different story and is very special and different.

  7. This is certainly a unique style of art. It ranges from wacky, to odd, and then to disturbing. To me, all of his art seems to be cartoon-ish. It doesn’t seem it’s supposed to be perceived as a message. I think what he makes is what he filters from what he sees around him. I don’t think any of it is supposed to be taken seriously, either. I think it’s odd that considering how weird his art is, famous music artists want him to make album covers for them. And he works with someone on the second bestselling art magazine in the U.S. I guess that shows more and more people are accepting of art that may come across as disturbing.

  8. I Like his work. All the different types you’ve shown us. I think my favorite would be the Micheal Jackson album cover. There is so much to see and so many colors. It can’t be taken in in one look you really need to work your way around it to see it all. The big head girls are interesting. They seem calming and welcoming but are presented in strange situations. I like that contrast. I don’t find the work disturbing. The blood and guts type stuff is done more anatomically, or representative of an idea, than just for gore or shock value. As a child you said he filled his head with many things. This may be why he is so versatile now.

  9. Out of all the art work i have seen in my life this has to be the strangest pieces of art i have ever seen. The ones he has created for album and magazine covers are fine and seem to be making sense but the other ones are very strange. Especially the one which looks like Lincoln’s head on the bed as a young girl states at it. I have no idea what kind of a message i could get out of that one or the one where it seems like its Jesus playing on a little pink piano while three identical girls lay on top of the piano and watch. I find his painting very interesting because i can spend days trying to find a meaning or a message in them and find them disturbing at the same time.

  10. I like his work. I find his art to be really random but interesting. I like the use of colors, things out of proportion, and the detail. I don’t find this kind of art disturbing at all, now days I feel this is totally acceptable.

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