Matt Maranian is a bestselling writer and designer who lives in Southern Vermont.
He was born and raised in Fresno, California; a Central Valley suburb celebrated for raisin farming, home foreclosures, drunk driving accidents, the nation’s worst air, and its infamous 1984 ranking as America’s least desirable city. He moved to Los Angeles in his late teens and spent his formative years in pursuit of an acting career, which, for the most part, eluded him. Through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, he was seen in a number of soft drink commercials, arcane short films, and a couple of eminently forgettable network tv shows.
A predilection for the outré and an insatiable appetite for the darker and lesser-known corners of Southern California led to his small press publication credits, including Harper’s, Wired, British Esquire, and Boing Boing, which focused primarily on themes of fringe culture, as did his monthly column in the Los Angeles magazine Glue, and his pieces for the Los Angeles Reader. His first book, L.A. Bizarro: An Insider’s Guide to the Obscure, the Absurd, and the Perverse in Los Angeles (St. Martin’s Press) was a #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller. The all-new second edition of L.A. Bizarro was released in 2009; the books made the Los Angeles Times bestseller list for a combined total of 32 weeks.
A lifelong interest in design and his prior work assisting art directors, building props and sets for second-rate music videos and tawdry theme park productions helped tone his how-to muscle, which led the way to his critically acclaimed Los Angeles Times bestseller PAD: The Guide to Ultra-Living (Chronicle Books); a pioneering design book celebrating outsider and visionary style, urban DIY design, and the emerging culture of upcycling. The success of PAD led to its follow-up, PAD Parties, which elaborated on the theme. He became a popular return guest on shows for the Discovery Channel, HGTV, and the DIY Network, and served has a guest on several NPR programs. His design features appeared in ReadyMade magazine, Budget Living, Make, The Washington Post, and the cutting-edge quarterly Craft, for which he was a regular contributor. He wrote about DIY design for his satirical column, Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, which appeared on the tech and culture blog, Boing Boing. He is a contributor for Wink Books, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Vermont Performance Lab. Recent projects have included contributions to Taschen's special editions of Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Gay Talese's Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, HarperCollins' JFK: A Vision for America, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's exhibition American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times, Rosetta Books' The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the New York Historical Society museum's exhibition, Rebel Spirits: Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
After relocating from Los Angeles to Vermont in 1999, he and his wife opened Boomerang, an award-winning new, used & vintage clothing store in Brattleboro. They make their home among thirty acres of pristine Vermont woodlands in a California redwood mid-century modern "vacation cabin," designed by architect Heyward Cutting for Women’s Day magazine in 1965.