Born in 1978, Ryan studied at Glasgow School of Art, where he graduated in 2001. Like many artists he began his professional career teaching, but as demand for his work steadily grew he made the decision to paint full time in 2005. He has won several awards, including three consecutive years at the Royal Glasgow Institute, and his work can be found in collections around the world, including Geneva, Zurich, Vancouver, Belgium, Tasmania, Boston, and Utrecht. His inspiration comes from Britain's industrial heritage, and Glasgow's historical role as the ship building capital of the world. Through his work Ryan seeks to capture and remind people of how important Glasgow's huge work force was in the development of the modern world.