it’s not me, it’s you

huh. apparently it’s bird week.

in other news…. i think the time has come to talk about pet portraits. don’t stress out, i’m not dumping them. but this relationship needs a “state of the union” address. this day has been coming for a long time.

somewhere along the line, and i’m still not sure where or how, my professional reputation became cast as the “dog/cat portrait guy.” i think i did a few earlier on in my career that stood out a little from my other stuff, and then people started asking for them all the time, and now it has snowballed into a near-monstrosity. these days i can’t do a convention or go anywhere without someone asking for tattoo of their cat or something.

now, don’t get me wrong… i don’t mind. i value the interests of my clients and am honored that people seek me out for anything at all, so i’m not complaining. really, i’m not. BUT, i would like for people to know that just because there are animal portraits everywhere in my portfolio, it’s not necessarily what i want to be tattooing all the time. i can do other stuff too, and would embrace any opportunity to do different things….. i just don’t get asked for most of that other stuff.

it’s weird for me to look through other tattooer’s portfolios, chock full of skulls and japanese sleeves and various other classics, because i see all of that work and i’m like “fuck, where do they get these customers and how come i don’t get to do this stuff?!?” clearly, as it has been for the rest of my life, everyone else is in on something i’m not. while everyone else is doing full-torso dragons, badass wolves and bert grimm flash, i sit in my rainy corner of the world doing….uh…. cats.

up to three a week.


perhaps it’s just what i’m best at, and i need to accept my lot in life. or maybe i need to stop doing them altogether. i don’t really like either of those options. but, i do feel a certain need for growth and progression within my work, and at this point i don’t think pet portraits are helping me to get better. so, i think i’d just like to invite people to help push me in new directions with their requests, and try not to base them totally off of what they’ve already seen in my book. there’s a lot of stuff out there i want to do that i haven’t even scratched the surface of, so don’t be shy, folks. get at me with the japanese work and old school traditional and snakes and lady-heads, it’ll be awesome.

for everyone else, don’t worry. i’ll still do your dogs and cats and bunnies, and they’ll still be awesome…. because once in a while i like my job to be easy-ish. but don’t expect much for new pictures of this stuff. i’m gonna try and have this one be the last for a while:


  1. Melissa P

    Hello Ryan,
    Good thing I clicked on your link I feel like you were talking to me. I know that I want a tattoo for my thigh maybe eventually a full sleeve. I have been through a ridiculous amount of websites & magazines looking at exactly what you are talking about – I have wanted a dragon to wrap around my thigh, a tree with flowers all over, japanese koi & tribal waves etc etc I am native american but all the stuff I have seen is CHEESY! So if your willing I would love for you to come up with some ideas of your own mixed with the elements I have mentioned… let me know if your interested

  2. Michelle

    Hey Ryan,

    Well shit. I saw that guy with the dog portrait at a wine tasting bar in Portland last week…I thought “you know, I always thought pet portraits were questionable, but this is a whole new perspective”.

    Little did I know my dog would be dead a week later and here I am actually contemplating getting one and wanting you to do it.

    Prior to this I was going to have an awesome octopus done on my torso…wrapping around to my back. Now I think I want to honor my dog.

    Let me know if you would be willing….

  3. Hollie Kate Moore

    well……hopefully im going to be getting this tattoo from you in September. Ive followed your work for a few years and knew for sure i wanted to get something from you when you made it to England. But then i had the said idea and i just KNEW i had to have you do it. Now i realise your talking about pet portraits here…but obviously you do cover alot of animals for lots of different reasons and im sure when it comes to these sorts of tattoos your one of the first artists to spring to mind. Its clear you’re ana amzing artists, talented in more than one area. So I hope you’ll take comfort in the fact that i chose you for the tattoo because i think you’d be perfect for the gig!

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