Artists: Ryan Hadley
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
What year did you start tattooing? How did you get into tattooing?
I started tattooing about 12 years ago. I ordered equipment from a magazine and had it sent to my house, and then started tattooing on friends. I had always wanted a tattoo and was very into art. Tattooing was a way to make my art more permanent.
Where did you apprentice?
I am completely self-taught and have had no special training.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I’ve worked a variety of conventions over the last several years—Hell City, Motor City, Paradise Gathering, TattooLaPalooza, Gem City, Blood & Moon in Nashville, Chattanooga Tattoo Arts Fest, Vegas Convention, Oasis Tattoo Convention in Palm Springs. I’ve won various awards, like best portrait, best black-and-gray, best sleeve, best of day, etc. I definitely have a lot of great convention memories of partying with my friends from across the country in South Beach, Vegas, Columbus, Phoenix, etc. My best convention memory is probably winning best of day at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering a few years ago. This was a huge honor considering the caliber of artists at the show.
How do you describe your style?
What inspires you as an artist?
I am very inspired by the work of European artists. I love seeing old art—old paintings—become new art on the skin. Painting and tattoos complement one another, so I derive a lot of inspiration from paintings and other forms of art.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Bob Tyrrell, Robert Hernandez, Monte Agee, Joshua Carlton, Donny Manco, Josh Duffy, Mike DeVries.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I am set apart from other artists by the level of realism that I tattoo, as well as the timely fashion in which I can get work done. It seems as if I am constantly working, and I’ve been called a “workhorse” by many of my fellow artists at conventions for completing sleeves and other huge pieces in a day. I am now trying to pace myself more—working so hard and fast is tiring!
What other mediums do you work in?
Oil, graphite, charcoal, acrylic, airbrush, photography. I have big plans for my fine art in 2012. We’ll see what the new year brings.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
My studio, Ryan Hadley Studio, is also an art gallery. We have artwork on display and for sale throughout the year. We have three to four successful arts shows yearly, averaging anywhere from 500 to 3,000 people in attendance, with live music and an open bar.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I look forward to doing more black and gray tattoos and more freehand realism tattoos in the future. I am excited to do anything different from the standard photo or painting.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Tom Waits portrait and Jim Morrison portrait.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
My main advice to every client is to trust me, trust the work in my portfolio, and leave the tattoo in my hands. I generally tell clients to let me roll with my ideas and I promise they’ll be happy—which they are.