Artist Spotlight #6
Hi Ryan! Congratulations on taking home your first arward from Tatcon in Blackpool. Tell us a little bit about your award and the piece you submitted to win…
Hey! Thank you very much appreciate it. Also thanks for asking me to do this! The award i got was 3rd place in ‘Best Apprentice’ category at Tatcon Blackpool Tattoo Convention. I won this with a Pokemon piece i did on a customer called Jamie who travelled from Scotland to meet me there. I thought he was from blackpool when we were having a chat online so to hear he travelled that far to get work done by me was crazy. Was a really fun day. It was also Jamie’s first convention that he’s ever been to so for us to win awesome for us both!!
To have started tattooing and to win an award for your work in little over a year is outstanding. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in the industry…
Thanks! I started my apprenticeship in 2014. After school i didn’t really know that tattooing was what i wanted to do, i just knew that i wanted to push my drawings and my silly love for cartoons into a career. After designing pieces for friends i saw one of them done by a local artist and it gave me such a buzz knowing how happy he was and that it was my design. So from there i knew thats what i wanted to do.. After 4 years of pushing myself with drawing etc i got my apprenticeship with Gavin & Sonia Clarke at Obsession. I knew full well they didn’t want an apprentice when i first went in but i harassed them more than you can imagine! I think they gave it to me to shut me up really.. But since then i couldn’t be more grateful and i haven’t looked back.. Id never of expected to do what i’ve done and achieve what i have this year. I’ve done shows all around England, in Ireland and been invited to one in India the end of this year, and in talks with a couple in New York & Miami for next year too! Won my first award and also got nominated in the Top 5 Best Newcomer UK at Liverpool Tattoo Awards. Im good friends with three companies which I’m always in talks with. I swear by them and they’re all i use when i tattoo. They are constantly liking my work and sharing it for me which is such an honour. World Famous Tattoo Ink, EZ needle cartridges & Starr Tattoo Supplies! Best by far! All of this has happened in such a short time and i couldn’t thank Gavin & Sonia Clarke enough.. They’ve been incredible to me. Like second parents! We have another artist called Karl Bennison who I’ve known for many years; he was the first person to give me advice into getting into this industry. Now we have him at the studio too. First looking up to him and what he does, now working next to him is awesome feeling!
What artists have influenced you and your style of working?
To be honest, every artist i see always gives me inspiration and different ideas in the style i do. At Obsession we have Gavin who’s our portrait/realism artist who’s won a lot of awards, Sonia who specialises in dotwork who’s won awards also, and Karl who is incredible at fine detail in small tattoos and also in watercolour, these guys always push me forward with ideas. Even though its not the same style as what i do; seeing how they do what they do always gives me ideas in where i want each of my designs to go! Andy Walker, Dane Grannon, Jordan Baker & an illustration artist Chris Uminga have been a major influence. I got tattooed by Andy at a show last year (which won best of day) which i took as a personal seminar and asked so many questions i must have annoyed him more than i can imagine! But after i got that piece done my work just stepped up so much and even though its really just a leg for him to tattoo.. I always look down at it for inspiration so i have to thank him a lot too!
What style(s) do you specialise in?
I specialise in New School tattooing, i love doing Neo Traditional work also. I try to push these two styles as much as i can. And to have the customers i do who trust me with the ideas i throw at them (99% of the time it makes sense to me when I’m explaining it, it may not to them!) they always give me the go ahead which is such a nice feeling.
What’s your favourite part about the tattoo industry?
My favourite part about the industry is how far its developing each day, i follow the worlds best artists on my instagram, every style. Seeing the creativity of some artists in the industry is incredible and pushes me want to be up there with them. The industry is so friendly too, artists always happy to chill out and talk to you no matter how long you’ve been doing it for. Always happy to help you out! Wether its artists, ink companies, Suppliers; everyone wants us all as an industry to be the best we can be. Im super happy to be a part of it.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
To be honest; i haven’t been in the industry long enough to want to comment. The only thing i can say is the ridiculous TV shows can go for a start! Tattoo Fixers, Tattoo disasters, some of the tattoos you see on Body Shockers and all that can be thrown in the bin if I’m honest. I don’t want to say much more on that otherwise i won’t stop! But yeah; Im enjoying everything about it so even at a show if another artist thinks ‘Last year was better’ i don’t care. I make the most of it all and just have fun with it! I don’t take myself too seriously, this year I’ve had a giant Tom Hardy as Bronson banner coming to conventions with me! I feel if people seeing us as artists having fun and putting our own personal spin on things it makes it a lot more enjoyable.
We believe getting a tattoo takes thought, research and a licensed, professional tattoo artist and studio. What would be your advice to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
The first thing i’d say is don’t go to someone who’s quoting £10,20,100 cheaper than the first. Take some time in thinking what you want done, and the style you want it. Once you’ve done that then spend time researching artists who does the style you want. It sounds silly but i feel a lot of people forget that a tattoo is there for life.. Its as simple as that. If you find an artist who fits the style you want and smashes it every time just save up and pay the little bit extra.. Otherwise in the end if your not happy with what the cheaper artist does you’ll end up having to pay more overall for the cover up too then what you would of done in the first place with the better artist that you said was ‘too expensive’!
What are your plans for the future?
Well at first when i first knew that i wanted to get into the industry i had goals of wanting my own studio. But now thats all changed, i am super happy where i am and i can’t see myself going anywhere else. Our studio is known all around the UK. We do so many conventions together and i never thought my name would be as known as much it is now in such a short amount of time. I would like to travel with this job visiting new places also; that falls hand in hand with conventions so right now, so my main plan is just doing what i do and enjoy it with the people i work with.