Ariel Pink was raised in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles, attending Beverly Hills High School and later the California Institute of the Arts. In high school, Pink was a fan of such Gothic rock acts as Christian Death, Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure (whom he cites as his favorite band). He started writing songs "around age 10" and has recorded over 500 songs on hundreds of cassette tapes since 1996.
Pink produces and plays almost all of his own music, and is noted for creating drum sounds using primarily his mouth, and sometimes his armpits. His home recording technique gives his music a very lo-fi sound, to the point where new listeners may mistake the era of his music. Pink's influences range from R. Stevie Moore--friend, mentor, and "father of home recording"—to Michael Jackson.
In November 2009, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti was signed to 4AD records. He released a new mp3 single "Round and Round" in March 2010, marking a studio quality departure from his former lo-fi recordings. 4AD released it as a 7" single, backed with "Mistaken Wedding". A new album, Before Today, followed on June 8, 2010. Before Today was recognized by Pitchfork in their "Best New Music" category. The album includes some new versions of songs released on previous records, notably "L'Estat (acc. to the widow's maid)", "Round and Round" (formerly titled "Frontman/Hold On (I'm Calling)") and "Beverly Kills".
In December 2010, Pitchfork named "Round and Round" the number 1 song on their list of The Top 100 Tracks of 2010. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti were chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011.