Ryan originally swapped his grey Midlands landscape for the bright lights, big city, to study jewellery design at Middlesex Uni. Thanks to his outlandish outfits, socialising within the underground electro scene soon got him noticed. Never one to miss a scoop, Matthew Glamorre head-hunted him one night at Gallery 291, Hackney Road, and put him on the door at his club Kashpoint.
The looks he works are often innovative one-offs. He admits getting inspired by “anything from the structure of buildings to film icons, materials, colour, whatever,” pulling the exasperated facial expression of someone who’s been asked the same questions again and again. He makes everything himself (costumes, accessories and props) and calls the end result “high finish”. His performances at Nude, Trannyshack, Kashpoint, Bistrotheque, Circus, Egg and The Edinburgh Festival have brought the otherwise retiring performance artist much acclaim. Whether they involve turning into a peacock, giving birth to a giant balloon or shooting his lips with a huge syringe, Styles seems to know instinctively how to impress, as well as to shock an audience.
Much like Scottee, he embraced the visual arts, hence incorporating mime, dance, clowning around and an inevitable sting in the tail to his act. The Times described his collaboration with The Lipsinkers, the quintet with whom he regularly performed, as “possibly the most ridiculous fun night out ever.”
No longer the club kid into dressing up, Ryan started the long process of transitioning in 2012, called himself Rhyannon and began writing his biography.
“The New Girl”, finally published by Headline in 2017, makes for stirring reading.
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