When it comes to leading artistic innovators in the industry today, Ryan Ashley Malarkey and Arlo DiCristina are at the head of the pack. Despite only working in the industry for less than ten years each, they’ve helped to revolutionize their respected styles through meticulous technical application and cutting-edge artistic prowess. Not to mention, if the tattoo world had a Brangelina, it would be these two. And, if we’re being honest, Rylo has a much better ring to it.
How has your life changed post Ink Master as a tattoo artist, business woman, public figure and human being?
Ryan: To be honest, everything has changed. Every aspect of my life has done a 180 in the past few years, but I’m not sure if it’s directly due to winning Ink Master or just growing up in general. But either way, one thing is for sure, the last few years have been a wild ride of facing many obstacles, experiencing new aspects of life and a crash course in becoming the woman I am today.
Before tattooing, a part of your life was spent in MMA. What lessons did fighting teach you that would help you to become a successful artist and business owner?
Arlo: Discipline and practice. You’ve got to do a bunch of stupid, simple stuff to build skills that you can use on big dope pieces. With any type of MMA, we drill very basic moves and they would translate into complex stuff down the road. You need to be able to break things down and sharpen those skills before jumping right into bigger stuff. And competitiveness for sure, but healthy competitiveness. You want to do better and it’s not about wanting other people to do worse.
In the past, you’ve spoken at a number of seminars about the technology available to tattoo artists. How do you think the tattoo industry has changed in terms of sharing information and ideas between artists?
Ryan: Honestly, any change is always uncomfortable and progress is hard most of the time, but it’s worth it. Progression in our industry has changed the game and allowed artists ability to gain time for their creative process, bringing on a quality of art that is debatably unparalleled. Tattooing is slowly moving into the realm of fine art and finally, with some thanks to technology, the artistry coming out of modern-day tattooing is among the most impressive art forms in the world. I’m so proud to stand beside so many artists and call them my peers, knowing that pieces being created today will someday be regarded as points of history.
Recently, you’ve uprooted your life and your business to live in New York City. How would you describe the tattoo community in NYC and the type of artists who thrive in this city?
Ryan: Coming back to NYC hasn’t been that big of an adjustment considering I lived here for years before I tattooed. I went “home” to learn how to tattoo in the beautiful picturesque cocoon of northeast Pennsylvania, but coming back wasn’t difficult because NYC has always been a second home for me. What’s different about this chapter in life is that I’m finding myself surrounded by super-talented, ultra-inspiring artists I’m lucky enough to call my friends and it’s pushing me to become stronger as an artist myself. But it’s all about balance. In Pennsylvania, I’m inspired by the beauty of the landscape; in New York, I’m inspired by the strength of the artistic community, and while traveling, I’m inspired by the grandeur of the world and how both big and small everything becomes.