on a purely sensual level, it's hard not to be won over by mark ryden. he knows his way around the oil paints, and he's got style; he saturates his scenes in a soft hazy jurassic atmosphere suggestive of the nascent dreamlands of little golden books. strange juxtapositions of quaint and curious objects compell one's attention. but that's basically all there is to it: just a superficial hotch-pot of bunnies and bees and meat. when you read his (dare i say) rather pompous explanations of his pictures, in which he tries to apply deep metaphysical meaning to the bunnies and bees and meat, it's almost embarrassing. he'd be better off just saying "here it is, it's deliberately weird, enjoy its deliberate weirdness," rather than carefully explaining how his bunnies are cute and fuzzy allegories for transcendant qabalistic mysteries.
the other thing is the fact that this is yet another art book deliberately released in a limited edition, so that anybody interested in his work has to go pay seven times its value on internet auctions to land a copy. i find that really irritating. i mean, there was a "deluxe" edition - why couldn't that have been the ridiculously limited and overpriced version, and then have the scaled-down version released in an edition large enough to meet the obvious demand? why no reprints? does mark not want my money? ok, i'm done now.