Hey Mark, I am thrilled to pieces that you're doing this with me! I have a feeling that your depiction of Abraham Lincoln in some of your paintings is really you. Do you look like him?
I don't think so. I hope not. He is pretty scary looking don't you think?
No, not really, just saw a little resemblance. You know Mark, as I was reading your bio, particularly what you wrote about yourself, I felt an intense feeling of gratitude. Grateful that you expressed yourself with as much emotion and creativity that you paint with. One of the things you said was that you have to switch "from linear, logical thinking to creative, free feeling" when you sit down to paint. Isn't it just as difficult to think linearly and logically?
My own inclination is to think too logically. It takes an effort to let go of all that self questioning and linear thinking to reveal creativity and free spirit.
What about the significance behind your paintings? Do you have a story in mind before you paint it, or do you paint it first and then create a story from it afterwards? Or, are "meanings" and "stories" just something that viewers of your work feel the need to discover and label?
I like for viewers of my paintings to feel presence of meaning and story but I like for them to come up with their own interpretations. I think if I explain too much of a painting away the painting loses a sense of mystery and curiosity. Some of my imagery comes from something specific, some of it is more subconscious. Some meaning I consciously imbue into my art, some meaning comes from outside my self.
Do your kids give you feedback about your artwork Mark? Do you ask for their opinions, and have you ever changed anything based on what they've said?
Yes I do ask my kids what they think of my art and their opinions do influence me. They have such uninhibited opinions. Their imagination is amazing.
I'm curious as to how your home is decorated. Are your paintings hanging throughout the house? What other type of artwork is scattered around the Ryden home? (besides the kid's stuff ;)
I don't have any of my own images hanging in my house. My house is filled with a vast assortment of miscellaneous junk. I love collecting old toys. I have many old prints, photographs, models etc. My "stuff" is what inspires me to do my art.
How about vices - got any?
hummm. I suppose I indulge in a bit of all the seven deadly sins. Gluttony, Pride, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Lust, Envy. I suppose maybe my favorites are Gluttony and Greed.
I hate to see this interview end... but I know you're a busy guy. Have to ask you the final question Mark, what do you do for fun?
I like to go to the swap meet and find new junk. I also love to go to museums.
Thanks again Mark, you're amazing!