Who would have said that he used to design album covers for musicians including Michael Jackson?
He indeed states "I have never been so deliberate or conscious of a particular career path. I just go where life takes me and try to enjoy the adventures" (From "The Upset", Young Contemporary Art)
..and I love to think that his great art has spontaneously come out.
As I stumbled on his art I got immediately captured by this bizarre feeling and couldn't understand how can images be so pure and so rough at the same time (for instance when thinking about "The Meat Show" -characterized by steaks placed weirdly throughout his art).
The Ecstacy of Cecelia, The Meat Show
Incarnation, The Gay 90's Show
So as a first approach, I spontaneously tried to distinguish the pure from the rough, but then I realized it was an impossible attempt: his art is so strong and intense especially because of this inner force that Ryden has been able to establish in the image.
Then, when one accepts it, this sense of contrasting feeling appears harmonious in a way. Bizarre, who would have thought it?
His unique style of using fables, childhood immagination, iconic figures as inspiration and the way he turns them into ambiguity with an aesthetically appealling and creepy image, is brilliant!
The Meat Train
The Butcher Bunny
In my opinion he wants to show and reminds us about the complementarity of contradictory elements, such as of happiness and sorrow for instance. The two feelings go arm in arm together: one can't be happy without any kind of influence of sorrow, as well as the opposite.
What reinforces even more such a contrast is the perfection of his characters, which stimulates one's lust for aestetics and the obvious sadness in the character's eyes.
I see it a lot in the pieces of "The Snow Yak Show":
Girl in a fur skirt
What else happens to be present in his art is also the creepy and gloomy scenarios.
At a first glance one enjoys the perfection of the images, but then gets captured (like in a spider's trap) and starts realizing the hollow and macabre waves in the image.
The art process is then complete, the artist succeded in spreading any kind of emotion to the public. It doesn't matter if the creepy or the aesthetics triumphed, it just matters that a connection between the two has been settled.
Little boy blue
My favorite Ryden's piece of art is the one from "The Tree Show", The Apology.
Here I like the magic trunk component reflected in the eyes of the young girl dressed in yellow, proposing herself as a vanishing hope for becoming one and overcoming the troubles between them.
I like the magic connection between the two characters, but at the same time I can't stand the melancholic feeling of the impossiblity for them of becoming one. So close but still so distant. Is an apology still possible?