The King of ‘Pop Surrealism’ is Secretly a Hoarder

Mark Ryden’s artistic career skyrocketed in the ’90s when he led a new genre of painting, crowned as “Pop Surrealism.” Drawing inspiration from anything that will evoke mystery (old toys, anatomical models, stuffed animals, skeletons and religious ephemera found in flea markets), the painter is a collector (and hoarder) at heart.

“I’ve often said that it is the diversity of my inspirations that most defines my art,” he told Plastik Magazine. “I look at many things for inspiration. I collect and hoard lots of things and lots of junk. My studio and house is overflowing with stuff. I collect old children’s books, interesting product packages, toys, photographs, medical models, and religious statues.”

“I also have an extensive collection of books on art,” he said. “I love the old masters more than contemporary art, so most of my books are on an artist like Ingers, David, Bronzino, and Carpacio with just a few contemporaries like Neo Rauch and Loretta Lux.”

Based in Portland, Oregon, his paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a career-spanning retrospective “Cámara de las maravillas” at The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga, as well as an earlier retrospective “Wondertoonel” at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Check out some of his work, shared on his Instagram page.