Today, I would like to introduce you to one of my all time favorite artists...Mark Ryden.
I fell in love with this Mark Ryden's work in 2002, when I bought my first issue of Juxtapoz Magazine. I was "actively listening" for art assignments. "Active listening" was the term my Art Education Advisor used to describe finding inspiration from our surroundings. I had just graduated from college and was about to embark on Student Teaching, so I was trying to find art and artists that high school students would be attracted to. I made a poster of some of my favorite paintings of his and have it hanging in my classroom. It always creates discussion amongst the students sitting near it. Soon it turns into a Q&A session between me and my students about the art work and what they think it means. His works sparks a positive curiosity in my students.
I love how his work is surrealistic, but painted in a hyper-realistic way. But it is his symbolism that truly won me over. His paintings hold so much meaning in them. I always use his work as an example of symbolism for my students. The only series I didn't enjoy was his Blood and Tears collection. It is a very dark grouping of paintings, but it reflected how he was feeling at the time.
My favorite series is The Tree Show. This is probably where my love for trees truly began, but I loved the humor in his paintings. I had almost decided not to go to the opening of The Tree Show, which would have been a huge mistake because I got to meet Mark Ryden, talk to him, and take a photo with him.
|Me with Mark Ryden at The Tree Show, 2007|
These are a few of my favorite paintings from the show:
|Girl Eaten by Tree|
|Allegory of the Four Elements|