Name: Ryan Leatigaga
Social Media Handle/Username: @RipVanSlyme2
Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: My name is Ryan Leatigaga. I am a 19 year old college student residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was five, I was in a car crash with my mother, my older sister, and my little brother that resulted in having my right arm amputated due to blood loss. Luckily, everyone else sustained little to no injuries. I was also diagnosed with autism when I was around five. I am a writer and an artist, and I was recognized twice for my writing; once in the fifth grade for a writing contest my high school was hosting, and another one in an art collab that my current college hosted.
What Inspires You Every day? : Honestly, it varies every day. From the stuff I see on my timeline on Twitter to songs I listen to to even random images I have on my phone of stuff that I specifically took photos of that look cool to me.
What is some words of wisdom you live by?: Try your best not to compare yourself to others. I do this frequently, and it makes me feel like I’ll never get up to that artist’s level. The answer? Forget about them! Focus on yourself and how YOU, yes you, can make YOUR style yours. Say to yourself that you WILL become the best artist or the best cook or the best puppy juggler, whatever you want to become. Try to hype yourself up. Of course, don’t insult others for it and know when to be humble, but don’t put yourself down!
What is your ultimate goal in life? : I want to make my own cartoon. If not, then I want to make my own video game. I want my work to be a giant thank you letter to every piece of art that inspired my creations. Whatever I create, I will create it out of sincerity and love for that specific form of art.
How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : Honestly, not that good. I was laid off of my job at an amusement park back in August, and I could not focus at all during online classes because there are so many distractions around me. But, I managed to hone my art and my writing skills, and I can honestly say that I think it’s better now than it is when I first started.
What is a message you would like to give others? : There’s always going to be someone out there who likes your stuff. Whatever you create, I assure you that no matter how obscure your creations might be, you will always have a group of people who are eager and willing to wait for your next piece.
What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: I am Polynesian, and I really want to show that side of myself as sincerely and as honestly as possible. I hate gentrification, and when “representation” is being controlled by a couple of bigwigs that want to make a quick buck, that angers me. I also want to bring attention to men’s mental health, because I think it’s something that gets looked over, and as someone with a mental disorder, I really want to tell the world that it’s ok for men to cry or to feel emotion because in the end of the day, we’re only human.