Warren tattoo artist hits national stage on reality show

Dani Ryan to compete on "Ink Master," starting next Tuesday


Between Eli's Kitchen's appearance on Chopped and NOS4A2, the new AMC series filmed extensively in town, Warren has had a pretty big presence on television over the past year. A new chapter starts Tuesday, June 11, when the Paramount Network premieres the 12th season of its hit tattoo reality show, "Ink Master."

Dani Ryan, an artist in the 1001 Troubles studio next to town hall, is one of 18 contestants on the show, which runs weekly through September. The 2016 RISD graduate has only been working professionally for a few years but has earned a growing reputation for her work, which consists in large part of high end portraiture, line work and other genres. She was invited to participate in the show last fall, via an e-mail she received one day at the shop. She thought it was a joke:

"I never thought about being on a show (like Ink Master)," she said Tuesday morning. "I have anxiety so being in front of a camera, talking with a lot of people, it was kind of scary. I was hesitant but after talking with (shop owner) Fredd Cheetham and everyone else, we kind of came to the conclusion that it would be a good thing."

She still feels that way, though filming was tough. The entire season save the live finale in September was shot at once, from January through March. She and 17 other contestants — in total, nine women and nine men — lived together, sharing two bathrooms, and spent their time doing constant filmed challenges. She's not allowed to talk about how it went, but the model — one artist eliminated every week — was the format, and the theme of the season is "Battle of the Sexes."

1001 opportunities
Ms. Ryan grew up an artist and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. Though she always loved tattoos, she always thought she'd be a commissioned oil painter. But her focus changed one day while at a waitressing job.

"I came across a person I was waiting on that had this sleeve (arm tattoo). It was one of the most beautiful tattoos I had ever seen. I asked who did it and that's how I found out about (Mr. Cheetham). From then on I basically started stalking him."

Ms. Ryan's boyfriend is an active member of the military, so they went to the shop to consult on a tattoo as they'd heard that Fredd has a soft spot for service members. During the visit, they got to talking, and she sent him her portfolio. He was impressed, and she soon started an apprenticeship. She later became a full-time employee and is considered one of the state's rising stars.

The shop, and Fredd's role in her burgeoning career, is one of the reasons she ultimately agreed to do the show, despite her anxiety:

"I didn't want to hold myself back, and I love to learn as much as I can," she said. "I also would do anything" for Fredd and 1001 Troubles.
Note: Ink Master premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 11. It airs on the Paramount Network, formerly Spike TV.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.