In a vibrant collaboration for Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we at Vampire Surf Club are thrilled to spotlight Ryan Akins, an abstract artist and avid surfer from Swansea, South Wales. Ryan's distinctive lino prints have animated our educational reel aimed at raising awareness about skin cancer among surfers. In this interview, Ryan delves into his artistic journey and his profound love for surfing.

VSC: Could you share a little about your background, including where you're from and your journey so far?

RA: "I’m Ryan Akins, 39, living in Swansea, South Wales. Originally from the States, I moved to Wales at age 7. I grew up in a village called Llangennith on the Gower Peninsula. My childhood was filled with surfing, skateboarding, and art. I studied art and textiles in college while working at a surf shop and doing art on surfboards for a local shaper. My travels to Australia and New Zealand were pivotal, immersing myself in surfing and making art."

VSC: How were you introduced to surfing, and what does the sport mean to you?

RA: "I started surfing at 13 during a Welsh winter after my mom suggested I try it since we lived by the sea. I quickly took to surfing, influenced by my skateboarding since I was 10.

Surfing has profoundly impacted my life; it's more than a sport—it's a lifeline that’s taken me around the world, helping me forge lasting friendships."

VSC: What led you to begin your journey in lino printing? Can you describe your initial experiences?

RA: "I class myself as an abstract artist working in lino printing and collage work, based on photos I have taken then incorporating ink and bleach to create abstract images. My journey in lino printing began in college, but it was sporadic until last year when I fully embraced it. I love the medium's simplicity and the tactile process of carving and pressing prints."

VSC: Could you explain your creative process from the initial concept to the final print?

RA: "My work often starts with a photograph or a vision in my mind. I sketch, carve, and press while listening to ambient music like Brian Eno or Moby’s Hotel Ambient, which complements the emotional depth of the process."

VSC: In what ways does your passion for surfing influence your artwork?

RA: "Surfing to me is art. The feelings surfing brings to me is a massive influence. The sounds, the smells, the touch, and the visuals.

Sometimes I can be out there in the surf and music will play in my head as I look around at my surroundings like a short art film, capturing small shots in my memory that later translate into prints."

VSC: As both a surfer and an artist, how significant is the issue of skin cancer prevention to you?

RA: "Skin Cancer Awareness is crucial to everyone who spends time outside, I feel so many people forget how powerful the sun is even if the sun is not shining it is still there. We need to get the message out as much as possible and us surfers need to be really on top of our game when it comes to hours spent in the water."

VSC: What projects or goals are you excited about in the near future? How can people support or engage with your work?

RA: "I’m eager to expand my presence in the surf and fashion industries. I’m currently setting up a website, but in the meantime, my work and updates are available on Instagram @ry_akins. I’m thrilled about the collaboration with Vampire Surf Club and excited to see where it leads. Engaging with projects that blend my passions for art and surfing while promoting important causes is incredibly fulfilling."

At Vampire Surf Club, we're not just a brand; we're a community united by a passion for surf, art, and sun protection. Join us in making a meaningful impact.