Episode 108: Jon

I'm happy with the outcome of the tattoos I did and how they looked as a collection.

It felt so great to be one of the finalists, especially because I was with two other artists who I both respect as people and artists, and who have become real friends to me. It was a long journey to get here, and to finally be at the end felt very rewarding.

When they told us that we would be tattooing three skins I was shocked. I was happy to be tattooing, but I was also so physically and mentally exhausted at this point from the competition that I knew it was going to be some hard days ahead. It was really cool that finally we would get some artistic freedom to really show our styles. Additionally, it was really cool to work with skins we had previously tattooed; I knew they sat well and they were all awesome clients that were fun to tattoo.

Looking back at my body of work over the course of the competition, I probably would have done a different flower tattoo. For my bird tattoo I would have done my second design of a blind-folded harpy. Joe didn't like that I changed a design I had previously drawn, even though it’s not something I had ever tattooed. Other than that, I'm happy with the outcome of the tattoos I did and how they looked as a collection.

My concept for the ink challenge was to interpret love through the symbols we were told to use, by using red in all three as the focus, and establish continuity between the pieces.

When London won I was extremely happy for him; he did some killer tattoos. London is super cool and we share a passion for art, tattooing and fashion. We’re still friends, and looking at his work keeps me pumped to keep pushing my own art work daily. Congrats man! You didn't win it, you EARNED it!

This competition has taught me how to work under a different level of pressure that most will never experience. You have to have tough skin to be criticized and critiqued in front of the world and take that knowledge to the next piece without dwelling on the past.

This competition has made me focus on the style of tattoo I want to do, and I feel I found my voice in the art I want to put out. It has also broadened the types of things I enjoy tattooing, like pets and portraits for example. They were so fun to do.

My tattoo style could be described as illustrative traditional. Sometimes I'll include light sources and stuff like that which don't exist in true traditional tattooing. But I've found a direction in which I would like to take my tattoos and art to, and I'm still in the beginning of this journey. I've been tattooing for 5 years now, and in another five, I'll probably look back at all this and think, “What was I thinking?” It's been so much fun though; I appreciate the support I've received from everyone. Especially from all the artists and people in the tattoo community who had never heard of me before this show and have told me that I've been doing good work and carry myself well. It's very humbling to have the respect of your peers and to have your work complimented by artists that I've always admired.

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