The best thing about college is Halloween lasts more than one night.

It’s almost October, which means it’s almost Halloween, which means its almost the best holiday of all!

I absolutely love Halloween, because it means three things:

1) Costumes

2) Scary Movies

3) Candy

I really like things with a spooky vibe, and around Halloween, everyone seems to share that sentiment. In lieu of a countdown to my favorite night of the year, I’ll be posting someone whose work helps set the mood.

For my first, I present to you- Mark Ryden.

Ryden is known as the godfather of pop surrealism, and he was my introduction to the genre. I’ll be eternally thankful to him, as pop surrealism has been a mainstay favorite of mine since I first saw his work back in middle school. Sometimes referred to as “lowbrow”, Ryden’s work, in the words of his artist bio, “ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype”. His pieces are marked with precision, an element of creep, and a sweet, snarky innocence.

I have to assume you love his work as much as I do, and want a Double Feature. Well, you’re in luck- his instagram is just as kooky cute as his paintings. Check it out- instagram.com/markryden

Best in Class: Liu Ye

Liu Ye is one of my all-time favorite artists. Based in Beijing, his pieces are instantly recognizable. His work is at once both realistic and dreamlike. Initially, I was taken back by the characters in his paintings- Liu Ye has found the medium between realism and surrealism; his characters exude childlike naiveté but also a complacency thats hard to describe.

Catch Miffy in a number of his paintings, as well as work inspired by Mondrian; his inspiration is evident in many works, taking the forefront. His work draws inspiration from the kitschiness of propaganda art of post-revolution China, but rarely has a political message behind the piece.

Watch this interview with Nicole Schoeni of the Schoeni Gallery to learn more about him.