Marion Peck was born in the Philippines, while her family was on a trip around the world. She grew up in Seattle, Washington. Receiving her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1985, she then studied in two different MFA programs, Syracuse University in New York and Temple University in Rome. In 2009, Marion married her long-time partner, the artist Mark Ryden and they have recently relocated from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon.
In the world of Pop Surrealism, Marion Peck and Mark Ryden are in the forefront of the lowbrow art movement which started in the 1970s. True soulmates who inspire each other in the creation of their own very recognizable dreamworld.
Their paintings contain a mixture of delightful, sometimes naughty figures, anthropomorphic characters, and cultural icons, which capture the zeitgeist of this artistic genre. They have intrigued and inspired a growing list of very prominent admirers, collectors, and fans. As well as other painters who have followed in the wake of this movement. Marion Peck has been very prolific in recent years and we are grateful to have the opportunity to feature her in this issue of Miroir.
Q: Tell us a little about your method and how you came to favor this medium.
A: I’ve always painted in oil, because it is simply the best. I don’t like acrylic paint; it feels like plastic to me. I can’t get anywhere with it, though of course other people do beautiful things with it. For me, oil paint is the king of mediums.
Q: Do you consider yourself a story teller, myth maker or legend maker?
A: I consider myself a painter, a maker of images. Stories will emerge in the mind of the viewer when they look at my paintings, but it will be a different story for everyone. I don’t think of a story and then set out to paint it. That would be illustration, which is less interesting to me. Instead, for me, the image comes first, the stories come after. It’s more of a dream-like mindset, less literal. All the loose ends don’t necessarily get tied up. Dreams and myths are very similar. As Joseph Campbell said, dreams are our personal myths, and myths are our collective dream.
Q: When you create art is there a particular message you intent to impart?
A: I want my message to be a visual one, not literary. I want my message, which comes in the form of an image, to be particular, poetic, an ineffable essence. In reality, meaning contains so much that is non-verbal, but our normal way of thinking wants to turn everything into words that we can neatly catalog. So I very much want to impart a “message”, but it’s a visual, not a verbal one.
Q: Are you interested in ancient history, archetypes, fairytales, or other forms of mythology, if so, what myths in particular and why?
A: I’m very much interested in all of these things. Right now I am actually in the midst of an amazing trip to Greece, where I have been visiting ancient ruins, and getting so inspired it’s crazy. I am intensely interested in classical mythology, because I am also a student of astrology, and classical mythology is the language astrology speaks in. I find astrology to be endlessly fascinating, a deeply insightful, fantastic tool for understanding myself and others.