Jessica on Best Ink 104: Its only as challenging as you make it.

Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott

When I was called into the bottom 4 I was just thinking about the fake people who put me there.

My inspiration for the Flash Challenge was the passionate connection Tori and Dean have. We have all had a very passionate connection with someone in our lives. I had that with someone and I was trying to draw from that emotion to inspire my piece. I wanted to create something different than what he had on his body already. He didn’t really have a lot of color so I wanted to do something bright to symbolize the love they both share. I was a little surprised by his feedback because I felt that I captured the emotion in a very creative but cool way. It was not your average traditional design that some of the artists drew.

When they told us we were going to be tattooing first timers, it wasn’t a big deal for me at all. I tattoo first timers all the time! I was really surprised at the negativity from the other artists. I believe if you think back to the time when you got your first tattoo and remember how uncomfortable it was, then you will have the capacity to make another person not feel the way you did. I am a very patient, caring person. I give newbies as many breaks as they need and talk them through the whole process. It’s only as challenging as you make it and for me it’s never a challenge at all.

Once I was tattooing this 18 year old guy and he wanted to appear tough getting his first tattoo. I told him, “trust me it’s uncomfortable but just breathe and I will go at your pace.” We started the tattoo and I could see that he was losing the color in his face. He started to sweat really badly and I knew at that point that he was on the verge of passing out. I stopped and asked if he was ok and he said told me to keep going. At that point he started to keel over and I dropped my machine. I went to catch him and he threw up all over me! Needless to say I had to finish the tattoo after I cleaned myself up, but I felt bad. He felt so awkward but I laughed it off because we tattoo artists deal with blood and stuff everyday. It’s part of the territory.

I was shocked when they told us we had to tattoo two skins. I was nervous but I felt I executed the challenge the best out of everyone. I believe if you listen to your clients, you will be able to get all the information you need to then design the piece they are dreaming about. My skins were both roller derby girls and good friends. I basically mirror-imaged the tattoo and used everything they told me about themselves to create their pieces.

I was very surprised by the judge’s reactions because I felt the pieces I created and executed were the most detailed out of all of the others. I was saddened that they didn’t see that. All they wanted to do was point out where something seemed out of place or why I did something a certain way. Again, both my clients were happy and that’s the only thing that matters to me, nothing else.

When I was called into the bottom 4 I was just thinking about the fake people who put me there. It wasn’t about the work at all anymore. They just wanted to send me home. What went from us all agreeing for this competition to be about the work, to it being a popularity contest. But it’s OK. I know my tattoo was better than most of the other artists’. I’m glad I went home after doing a great tattoo because being sent home wasn’t about my work not being good. It was about the whole group not liking me and sending me home, which makes them simple minded people. I believe I didn’t deserve to go home from the work I did. They were both amazing tattoos. It’s sad that I got eliminated based on what the other artists felt about me. Guess that just makes me a better person. I wouldn’t send someone home no matter how much I couldn’t stand them if they did an amazing job. I guess I have more integrity. It’s all good, I was happy to go.

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