Mark Ryden took the genre of Pop Art and turned it on its head. Ushering a new genre of paintings in the ’90s, known as Pop Surrealism, his paintings are the work of nightmares – a caricature of realism that seems naive at first glance but is anything but.
“I don’t specifically remember the very first piece of art I created, but I remember many of the earliest things I would make as a child,” recalled Ryden in an interview with Interview Magazine. “I liked painting, very early on, even more than drawing. I used poster paint on posterboard. I would copy images that I liked from magazines and books and combine them to make a ‘collage’ kind of painting. In some ways, this is similar to how I work today.”
Talking about his creative process he explained how inspiration is key. “Inspiration is the most valuable commodity for an artist; it is for me anyway,” he stressed. “I can’t move forward in any way if I don’t feel a strong spark of excitement or creativity. Sometimes it is very difficult to get things flowing. It’s important to be in a peaceful state of mind, and then I invite the spirits to come into the studio. I don’t stare into a blank canvas or paper. I look through my various collections of books, toys, statues, photographs, and other things, and something will trigger an idea. My studio is packed full of things that inspire me.”
Get updated on his recent work through his Instagram page. Here are some highlights: