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The name

In 1977 Keyth (the spelling from Keith to Keyth was changed in 1969, for reasons relating to numerology and to distinguish it from his father's first name) Ryden made a decision to focus on commercial art relating to the music industry.

Keyth Ryden Visual (KRV) was born and a few gigs were done under this logo while residing in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1980, KRV was changed to Keyth Ryden Kreations. Returning to California, KRK started a small studio in the small Southern Cal beach city of Encinitas. In the storefront was a large "KRK" in stenciled letters.

One of the local bands that KRK did art for was Manifest Destiny. The debut album of this political hardcore band was done at this studio. The band hung at the studio and became friends with the artist. The lead singer, Daryl Hall, refered to Keyth as KRK in a sort of ribbing way, and the name adhered. This name started to show up on work dating around 1982.

In 1983, KRK moved to Hollywood and did a stint as a radio dj. The show was called The Radio KRK Show, and featured prominently the music of Devo. During this time, the studio station's receptionist brought KRK a copy of Flipside, the famous hardcore music magazine. It had proclaimed that a photographer named Kirk had changed his name to KRK. It also featured some lettering art that resembled some of the script that was on the back of the Manifest Destiny album.

Since then, the name KRK has cropped up on rare occasion. At least one SF club dj has the letters in their handle. Will KRK someday become as common as "Joe"?
Intro to KRK Ryden-

KRK Ryden's art is a record of mongrel pop culture. His aesthetic is informed by comic books, punk rock, and cartoons, while his world view is strictly DEVO. KRK's work embraces everyday absurdity and a cartoony view of reality. His paintings are colorful and visually appealing reflections on discarded icons, and his graphics are well-realized snapshots of cartoon life. For over thirty years KRK has been creating illustrations and paintings for underground bands, publishers, and institutions.

The following excerpt is from Juxtapose magazine #29 Nov/Dec 2000 :

They may share a last name, but make no mistake: Keyth Ryden is not The Artist Formerly Known as Mark. As his alias suggests, he's an enigma unto himself, creating paintings that draw from past, present, and future all at once.

I'm standing in the lower level of a suburban house. There is art everywhere; even the front of the refrigerator and the toilet seats are fully painted in styles ranging from realistic to 1940's Brylcreme. Found ephemera of the 20th century are arranged in glass cases and tables with sunken compartments. Tiki statues dominate a world gleaned in equal parts from Betty Page, car ads, and educational films of the early 1960's. In a bedroom lies an old man, blinded in the LA riots. He used to make custom cars, really wild things like mock hotrods built on the body of a Gremlin or LTDs turned into pickups or flatbeds. It's his son's house. Steven Ryden is the archivist. He keeps everything straight for his artistic brothers Keyth and Mark. -(there is) a painting of the artist's second cousin Ashley when she was about seven years old, painted by KRK. She is wearing torn black leotards and is slinging a whip, her little-girl belly and legs held erect and strong as an ad for Dr. Denton's, her gesture caught perfectly in the arm's childlike windup. The painting is called Whip it Bad.

There seems to be people whose art is so good that you can learn to draw just by looking at it. Then you become an artist by looking at everything with your eyes open just as wide. There is an illustration that KRK did for Devo, a rather anthropomorphic potato with many eyes floating like an icon on a sea of black. Light is radiating from it, and its hand and two fingers are raised in beneficent, uncomplicated blessing. In calligraphic script is emblazoned the slogan "Eyes All Around". Though they take much of their imagery and style from comic books, KRK's works have none of the flatness of Lichtenstein. Beyond the far horizons looming like backdrops out of a Hollywood backlot, the picture plane itself is a riot of color. More little schmoos [surreal globs] float in these paintings, little alien observers, not part of the main narratives but utterly aware of them. They are stand-ins for us in KRK's floating world of multiple dreams and realities. They seek form, entertainment, meaning, titillation truth? No, but some hint of reality will do for us now. Sit back. Look at your dream again. Someone, something will be there to check on you later.

- Alexandria Volk for JUXTAPOSE Magazine
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