We spoke with Ryan Lopes, a self-taught creative director with an outspoken level of positivity and thoughtfulness. He brings passion and an unmatched flair to everything he does. Ryan shares his journey, creative process, unconditional influences, and love for small beauty brands while sharing advice on making connections and building a presence.
I’m from Cumberland, Rhode Island and I’m based in Providence, RI. I'm a Creative Director with a focus on content creation, styling, and consulting. Right now, I'm working on a consulting package for a brand seeking some guidance/references to use when they approach other creatives.
My creative process right now is very free. I go to bed late and I wake up late. I'm drinking lots of coffee and that’s my free time to scroll on the feed, see what people are posting, read articles and respond to emails. I've been really into Jazz and the Coal Trains. They’re so amazing. Lately, I've been exercising too. I've been trying to post more on Instagram, just to be consistent with that. The process these days has been really interesting since I don't really have to tend to client work on-demand currently.
I tend to love side lighting, because of the way our homes are built, most of the mirrors beam from a side angle. I love to sit in front of the light, study it, and drink my coffee. You can capture so much through natural lighting and it doesn’t require filters or certain props that make you feel like you’re credible. I’m just trying to be in the moment, as it really helps me avoid overthinking and focus on producing. Right now, I have an iPhone 11 and I shoot on film a lot. I have a Nikon F75 and usually use a 50mm zoom. That film camera always keeps me on my toes in the best way, each roll is very humbling. The lens is capable of so much and the development of the film during the printing process plays a huge part.
If you love something, put your attention toward it because we all matter. We all contribute to humanity. The little things are the big things. I feel like being involved, fighting (moving past insecurities and second-guessing) and showing love for the things that you do forms such beautiful outcomes. That’s how I formed relationships with brands, by sharing myself and my narrative. Being open to work, and being thoughtful about what you’re putting out is going to open up so many paths for you or for us, however this applies to the audience. I’m emphasizing that if you start with one thing and believe in it, it will bloom.
Investment is key. You don't have to go above and beyond. People want to have genuine relationships with others who are doing unique things. That doesn’t mean that you have to be the best of the best at something, but in a sense, you want to invest in their philosophy, vision, optimism, and in their brand. Once you can have something that is special to you that a maker is creating, that’s your chance to shoot your shot and prove that you both are aligned. That also contributes to my title of being a creative director. I don't work for any specific brand or business, I creatively direct in all forms and that can fall into any art narrative. I feel like that can definitely help the entrepreneurial side of it. It’s a beautiful journey and I always know that what I’m doing is for me because I’m open to every opportunity.
My main takeaway is: don’t overthink things, just do your own thing and keep putting your work out there. Once I started focusing on having a more personalized vision, people started to see my work in a different way. That really made me think: regardless of what I want to do or what I want to say, what really matters is how it feels. I'm always strategic and open while trying to stay rooted, original, and fresh. I’m also trying, which I want to emphasize. We are all trying. It's a journey and I'm always changing. I still have so much to learn. I'm ready for it. I'm grateful.
I use the Living Libations Moisturizing Cleanser. It’s definitely helped my complexion and cleared up my skin a lot. I also use the F. Miller Cleansing Oil and the Lesse Cleanser. I love to incorporate aloe vera gel into my routine. I use Badger aloe vera because it’s really good for scarring. I don’t usually moisturize, I mix aloe vera with my oil instead. I love to use vitamin C because it speeds up the color-correcting process on your face when you have acne. It really does work. I use Nue Co. The balm I use is made out of dagger rose by Guy Morgan. It’s in a glass jar. It smells amazing. I love using my F. Miller Eye Oil as well. Klur Co’s retinol is the only retinol that I’ve ever used and stand by. I feel that it really helped to clear up my acne. My Lesse Mask is another thing I use as often as possible. I use a Gua Sha sometimes. I rub grapeseed oil on my body. It’s an affordable oil that has vitamin C and vitamin E, it’s super healing, and works with correcting complexion as well. Then I’ll just lather some F. Miller Body Oil all over. I love using toning mists. F. Miller has a great one, but any toning mist that has witch hazel, rose water or aloe works so well.
Inspiration, to me, is always a balance: what’s around and what’s not around me, so I can combine the two. I’m also noticing that from the people around me. I follow in the way that they see things and how they play with the objects around them. I challenge myself to see the beauty in the unordinary. I usually try to be rooted and informed with previous affairs and art because history repeats itself. Understanding and reflecting on the knowledge back then is really insightful now and it helps me understand where I want to go or where I want to be. I really love Sunu Journal. It’s a journal that documents modern African affairs: all things going on in the continent of Africa essentially from the past, present, and future. Fine artists inspire me as well. We all love Matisse. I love the philosophy of Luis Borges. Georgia O'Keeffe is great as well. I love Jacob Lawrence; his paintings are amazing. There’s Cassi Namoda, she’s a modern painter from Mozambique. She paints a lot of African affairs as well. Fine art goes a long way.
I’m wearing a white button-up when I’m feeling my best. It’s so elegant. If you feel courageous to size up and have an oversized look but still relaxed, it looks so good. I go for comfort but seriousness.
If I were a drink, I would definitely be just an unfiltered glass of wine. The glass has to have a stem. To stay on brand, I would be a martini. As funny as it sounds, they aren’t that good but they look so damn chic. I feel like that is the way I approach a lot of things. It’s like a fancy chair or a shoe made out of abstract objects like fruit. It’s not realistic but it is chic.