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Ryan "Rhino" Dean

I love art in many forms, from cartoony/comic book art to most things dark and ominous. I had planned on going to art school after high school, possibly for graphic arts but didn't have my mind made up. I had always loved tattoos and the last two year of school, as many friends were coming of age to get their first tattoo, many of them asked me to draw a design for them. I started accompanying some of them when they went to the studio and began observing more closely as to how it all worked, becoming more and more obsessed with the notion of becoming a tattoo artist. 

I went to the studio and asked how one goes about becoming a tattoo artist, bringing my artwork along with me. My first visit, a couple of artists viewed my portfolio and said I showed talent but told me to keep drawing because the owner only wanted one apprentice at a time at the shop. About 6 months later I returned with more work to show and asked again about an apprenticeship. This time I met the owner of the shop and she told me the same thing, she liked my work but she only wanted one apprentice in the shop at a time. So a few months later I returned for a third time. This time one of the artists spoke up and said he wanted to take me on as his apprentice. I was elated and excited to begin my journey.  About a month into the apprenticeship I went in one day to learn that my mentor had to leave the studio and nobody else would take me on. So, feeling utterly shattered and discouraged I was back where I started. 

Not knowing what to do, I was ready to give up entirely. I started doing interviews at different art schools throughout New England, but my mind was made up that I wanted to tattoo and nothing else would measure up. I had heard that there was a school in Detroit, Michigan for tattoo. I was quite reluctant at first about attending but I wanted to tattoo so badly that I decided to take a chance and enrolled. Though it was a short term and more of a proficiency course than a full on apprenticeship I looked at it as a foot in the door, knowing I still had so much to learn. 

About a year after that I moved to Rhode Island where a friend introduced me to an artist he had been getting tattooed by for a couple years. We developed a friendship and had what you might call an informal apprenticeship. When I moved back to Maine I was encouraged to open my own studio. I was terrified at the thought of all that responsibility, but I was young and decided, why not?

  I'm at a point where pursuing my art has finally become a full-time career and not a hobby or a means to pay the bills. I am always wanting to push myself to do something better each time and to learn more every day. I try to be as well-rounded as possible so that I can appease anyone who comes to the studio. I don't want to do just the things I like to do because I think that stifles personal growth. My philosophy is to be humble and practice humility. 

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