Ryan is a full time artist/illustrator living in Newcastle Upon Time, with his wife, two cats and a badly behaved dog. Fuelled by punk rock and black coffee, Ryan explores the fragility of subcultures in a fast-paced modern world and the gradual erosion of rebellion in a climate of constant surveillance.
What differentiates your style from other artists?
It’s hard to say technically what sets me apart from others. But I think the biggest asset to set yourself apart from others is your brain. Others work may look like yours and you may even find yourself replicating styles as you explore your own techniques, but you can use your brain to have your own ideas to apply these techniques. I know I have some mad ideas that most likely nobody else would have thought.
How did you reach the following that you have now?
I’ve spent a long time building a genuine and authentic following of my work. With social media it’s so easy to get carried away with how many followers you have. What is far more important to me, is having a following who interact with you. Who buy work from you. To do that takes time and you need to give as much time to your followers as possible. It can be incredibly hard though when you have constant work to do.
What role does an artist play in this kind of society do you think?
I think a lot of artists, especially the more established ones try to challenge opinions or stir up some thought from the viewer. Personally, I don’t have any kind of strong political message that is a constant theme in my work, but I do try and show my inspiration and drive in my work. I am concerned about the lack of integrity in movements today and the fragility of subcultures. The fast-paced modern society doesn’t let a good thing last too long before everyone’s jumping on it!
Have you ever reached a time when you wanted to give up art?
Not really give it up, but working every day on it, coming to the studio 8.30 - 9 am and then going home and a lot of night working till 9pm because there is a ton of work to get through gets hard. It’s my own fault most of the time, but in those circumstances sometimes I just want a break from it. There’s a constant sense of wanting to take work on just incase it dries up one day. I don’t think it will, but there’s a bit at the back of your head always thinks that, and that’s what keeps you jumping!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would like to be doing more self initiated works and balance better the client workload. More large scale works and some gallery shows. Collaborate with more brands. That is my target.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I’m not sure I’ve officially been given this but striving to be where I am now made me learn a few things. If someone hammered this into me years ago I would have appreciated it.
1. Hard work pays off. Work hard and as much as you can while you’re able to get work and to develop your style.
2. Develop your own style and be consistent with it, it’s all you have.
3. Work wiser not harder. Once you’ve got a style that people want and are recognising, don’t burn out. To progress you have to work smarter. Sometimes less is more!