Interview with Ryan Mark Gray
Ryan’s first experience of skateboarding was through his neighbour at his local park. Ryan grew up in Yorkshire where the main source of skating was through magazines and videos. He compares this to today when it is more accessible through social media. When he first saw how suitable Milton Keynes was for skateboarding, he visited every week or every other weekend just to skate.
Ryan mentions only two occasions, one when he was younger and one more recently, when he was faced with opposition; he has had a mostly positive experience of skating in Milton Keynes. One of Ryan’s favourite places in Milton Keynes to skateboard are the ledges next to an underpass near Marks and Spencer. Ryan comments on the Bus Station because he says it is the spot that everybody gravitates towards. Ryan thinks its a travesty that skate stopper strips have been put there to prevent skateboarding, a place which has got decades of skateboarding history. Ryan created a video called In Progress, which was released in 2011, in which Milton Keynes was featured heavily. Ryan say that there is plethora of spots to skate on and he was guaranteed to walk away with footage. Ryan worked for Sidewalk Magazine in 2007 when Ben Powell, a friend of Ryan’s, asked if he would be interested in covering the roles of assistant magazine editor, website editor and chief video content creator. Ryan worked for the magazine for eleven years until it went into liquidation.
Ryan has spent a lot of time filming skateboarders, and although he enjoys skating himself, he likes to keep out of the public eye. He is open to skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport because he will help it gain wider recognition, but it is very removed from his own day-to-day experiences of skateboarding. Ryan recognises how much skateboarding has impacted upon his life; the majority of his friends are skaters, he met his partner through skating and he has travelled the world because of skating- “I owe pretty much the majority of where I am today to skateboarding”.