I am Ryan Smith. I have been into tattoos for as long as I can remember. I first wanted to try around year 2000, but the scene was a lot different then, the studios I knew of were biker flash shops with very unapproachable tattooists working in them. So I didn’t manage to get into it, instead, I became a DJ and music producer. I spend my twenties in the music scene and got back into my art when I hit 30 while I was studying for a degree in music production and sound engineering. I came away with a first class honours and an offer of a job at the university as a lecturer in this field. I actually accepted the job and while awaiting the start of the position, I was finally given the opportunity to tattoo. I dropped everything I had done the last 12 years, everything I had achieved and worked so hard for, to follow my real dream.
When I started, I learned every style of tattooing. I wanted to be able to tattoo whatever came through the door, I did not want to specialise straight away, I wanted to work hard, improve and learn techniques to find out naturally what it was I enjoyed doing the most. Through this process I was able to formulate and create my very own style of tattooing. Today I would describe my style as Ornamental, but I use realism elements in my work such as flowers and jewels. At the beginning, I described it as “Hennism”, a mixture of henna, realism and pointillism. But I feel it’s for surpassed that with the crazy directions I have taken my style. Creating this style has inspired thousands of artists around the world.
Why I use Cheyenne
I started on coil machines but quickly moved over to rotary. I tried a lot of different machines and brands, finding many under powered or feeling very cheap in the hand. When I found the Cheyenne Spirit after one year of working I felt in love straight away. From that moment on I have never deviated, trying and loving every machine that has been released by Cheyenne, each for different styles and working techniques.
My favourite machines to use are the 10-year anniversary HAWK and the HAWK PEN. For my style and how I work in general- these machines are perfect. Occasionally I do pull out the Thunder also on some massive pieces. My most frequently used configurations are: 3 liner, 7 liner, 9 powerliner, 9 mag flat, 13 mag se, 17 mag se and 27 mag se.