It felt great to win the Ink Challenge this week.
The Flash Challenge in which we got to draw Kim was really fun and the materials were easy to work with. It was hard though because we were out in the sun yet again. The sun kept reflecting off the white paper which was almost blinding. Kim was sitting pretty far away from us and it was hard to make out many details. It would have been better if we could have done it in a controlled environment, with the right lighting, background and time. Overall I was happy with my artwork given the circumstances, but I know that I could have done much better if we were given a little bit more freedom to move around and find the best position to work in etc.
Going into the Ink Challenge where we had to do a portrait tattoo, I felt very confident. My reference image was pretty good. It was an old photograph so it had great contrast and a really 50's vintage look to it. My skin Lydia was really cool; she took my advice and let me move the placement from the side of her thigh to the top. The time limit was a bit of a concern. I don't specialize in or do portraits on a daily basis and it was hard to estimate how long it was going to take me to complete.
It felt great to win the Ink Challenge this week. Both London and Alexis did killer portraits so it was nice to get this win. It was especially nice after being runner up twice before in the competition. I think it also shows that I’m a well-rounded tattoo artist.
When Joe told all of us to “perform,” I think it woke everyone up. We were halfway through this competition and at that point every challenge was even more important than the last. He made a great point when he said that to be a good tattoo artist you need to be able to do every type of tattoo. I got that experience by working at a busy street shop for the first couple of years of my career and learned so many things because of it. But I also think it’s great when you’re an artist like Roman. People come from all around the world to his shop to get tattooed by him. They don’t just want a tattoo, they want his definitive style.
I think that both Kyle's and Charlie's portraits weren't very strong portraits and failed to capture the likeness of the person. Ultimately I think what made the judges decide to send Kyle home over Charlie was the fact that he lost the desire to be in the competition, just like Roman.