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Meet Ryan Heitman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Heitman.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Art was everything to me as a child. As much as I enjoyed other aspects of my youth, baseballs, martial arts, and creating music, it was drawing that kept my mind occupied and hands busy.

After a 15 year sidetrack from creating art in my teens and 20s, fueled by the distractions of girlfriends, music, and all the intensity of a young man, I felt rather purposeless. Then after a series of crises, when I was at my lowest, I found that childhood love again of creating art for the pure enjoyment of it.

Since that milestone in my early thirties, I’ve been training in the classical way of drawing and painting from life and observation. The past seven years has taken me throughout Los Angeles, which has a big piece of my heart, and all the way down to Orange County and San Diego.

In the last year, I’ve been developing as photographer, as I find it a natural complement to drawing and painting. I shoot on instant film, primarily Fujifilm’s Instax, with a custom-built camera made with manual settings and a glass lens. It’s so much fun watching the film develop with my models, slowly exposing the finals results in a matter of minutes. Creating art with someone else is a uniquely wonderful experience.

It’s been a wild ride and I’m grateful for all the other artists, photographers, dancers, musicians, and models that I’ve met and been inspired by.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Most definitely. Mastering any craft requires a level of dedication that can eat and destroy other aspects of your life if you’re not careful. It’s a blessing, but also an all consuming fire. During my early training, my relationships struggled and I was not taking proper care of my health.

I’ve since gotten much better about balancing my life. I regularly lift weights, I love cooking, albeit very simply, and I’m grateful for the relationships that have developed over the recent years.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m known for my drawings and photography with a focus on the human figure and portraiture. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had the freedom to make art in a way that’s fun for me and keeps me exploring.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
When the impossible happens.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: ryanheitman

Image Credit:

Ryan Heitman, Jorge Barcelo, Truong L. Nguyen, Celina Valdez

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