hello friends.

so, although it’s been a good run, i think this blog has become mostly obsolete. i think at first, it was a time when i needed a thoughtful release from the day-to-day travails of my own mind and heart, and it served well as journalistic therapy for me as much as a medium to connect with folks interested in the tattooing. i’ve often seen myself as an underachiever in the context of tattooing as a profession, weighed down by the responsibility and workload presented to me every day, continually buried in the self-doubt that comes with navigating my way through it.  permanently marking another person’s skin calls for a great deal of confidence, especially when you have to do it every day. but i’ve never felt that i’ve had that confidence, and have had to find a new way around that requirement every day of my life. maybe i thought there was something interesting there, something worth sharing within those daily misadventures of a left-brained math-type constantly being mistaken for an artist. i think it’s probably common for people to imagine this line of work as easy for me, as if i shit art or something. but i assure you it is not. this is really, really hard for me, and it never gets any easier. i’m a human being with emotions and deficiencies, my brain always hurts, i can’t sleep most of the night, and i’m convinced that stubbornness keeps me going more than anything else… but i ‘m still doing the best i can. perhaps that is all i ever really wanted to show.

that said, the therapeutic benefits of sharing my workdays and thoughts here have fallen to the law of diminishing returns. i don’t have much to say that i haven’t said before; this  has more or less turned into a photoblog with too many words. so, what it’s all lead to and what i’m trying to say is, i’ve started a tumblr and i don’t really know what to do with it yet. i do intend to keep up with this stuff and keep sharing, probably in much the same way and about as often as i have in the past few months, but i’m pretty sure the tumblr page will be more photography and process-oriented, and updated way more often…. but i don’t really know yet. you never know just how the cookie tumbls.

now that’s out of the way, onto the good stuff…. i’ve been busy.

i did this tattoo two years ago, and just got a healed picture this month. i love how tattoos look after a year or more, with everything all settled and really looking like it’s part of that person. it’s also great to see it after that much time and realize you like it more than you did when it was just finished. i had another one of those recently, too, probably done around the same time:

it’s a shoe. i still like it.

dustin’s arm has been done for a while but i just got one decent picture. oh well.

this arm got completed awfully quick… 3 months. maggie came all the way from DC to get this texas-themed lady done, so we did a few two-day sessions to make the most of her visits here. i had the idea to make her dress all huge and lacy and frilly, and have that form the basis of the background in a similar way to the black and grey wind and water bars used in japanese body work. i like how it worked out.

i don’t really remember why the owl has ram horns, but it made sense at the time.

i am really happy about this tattoo and wish i got to do stuff like this more often. you can’t go wrong with traditional japanese themes…. this might be my favorite thing i’ve done in a while.

*brief hiking interlude*

*back to town*

BUT, this month was more about the stuff i started than what got finished:


aaaand, that’s about all i care to show for the moment.

also some of you may be interested to know that i have confirmed that i will be at the london tattoo convention again this year in september, and though i haven’t set dates yet i will probably be tattooing in copenhagen with the good folks at conspiracy inc. around that time as well. i probably won’t be booking any appointments for the convention or copenhagen until august or so, so if you’re interested in setting something up, email me in august!


  1. I liked your words but I see what you’re saying. Make sure you watermark your photos or people will totally rip them off on Tumblr.

  2. UGH, you’re insanely good. Come to Toronto so I can buy you a drink. Best!!!!

  3. Sharon Lee Tucker

    My presumption was that it is easy for you as I think you are a genius; your work is astounding. So I am sorry to hear of your angst.

    I hope to see you in London, I wish you all the best.

  4. Miss Cuervo

    It is hard to believe people as talented as you are feel insecurity sometimes.

  5. […] Ryan Mason has also mentioned on his blog that he’s confirmed for the London Tattoo Convention. If you’re living here in the UK and you’ve been waiting for a chance to be tattooed by Ryan, this could be a good chance for you! He also says he may be at Conspiracy Inc. around the same time. He’ll be taking bookings for those very soon, so I’d suggest keeping up to date with his blog (or his Tumblr, according to his last post?). […]

  6. Your work is amazing and I really appreciate what you said about not feeling artistic, and feeling insecure sometimes as far as putting your work on someone forever. As a tattoo artist, I feel like my wor isn’t up to par most of the time. I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to come up with just the right thing for my clients and settling with a design.
    I always thought interacting with people was going to get easier. While my art always improves the job is still hard and I lose sleep over it frequently, my confidence rarely improves.
    I thought i was alone in this, so I appreciate you saying so. Especially since your art is so beautiful and I look to your blog here for inspiration.
    Thanks Ryan.

  7. Colette

    Chin up! You are an amazing and accomplished artist. I stumbled upon your page a while back and have been following ever since. We all feel it at times, but just know you’re amazing in your own way.


  8. Hi Ryan! I just wanted to let you know that I think you are pretty awesome and that your work is very beautiful. I love that I can come to you and say, “I want an insect chest piece.” and you come up with something better than I imagined, and I can’t wait for the opossum to be done. I realize that being an artist is very difficult. Most of my life, I identified as an artist, but in the end, I chose science as a career path. They are both passions of mine, but I don’t think I’m cut out for a career in art, although I would love a chance to hone my skills more, if I didn’t have so much math and chemistry to do all the time! See you soon :)

  9. farrell

    i look forward to your tumblr. all i can say is that when i come to you with an idea you always create something 10 times better than i thought it could be. so if thats not talent, i dont know what is. i do think that 95% of all artists have a tough time with confidence and self doubt. i imagine its even tougher for those doing it every day and not being able to take a break and catch a breath. hopefully the positives will continue to outweigh the negatives and it keeps you happy.

  10. I….just think you’re amazing. Everything from your work to your mind is just beautiful.

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