Nicky on Best Ink 104: I was chasing her foot in order to tattoo it.
I was glad that Jessica was sent home because she shouldn't have made it as long as she had.
I really had no idea what to do for the Flash Challenge. I couldn't come up with any substantial concepts for Dean McDermott's tattoo. Normally I would get to know a client and get a feel for what would work. But with Dean I didn’t have a lot of information to work with. I don’t even like doing commitment tattoos like this because it will probably be something I’m going to have to cover up in the near future, which is always a pain.
I have tattooed a lot of first timers in my career. In fact I had already had one on Best Ink (Bob, in the pin up challenge). Not all first timers are the same, but a lot of them don't know what kind of pain to expect and they don't know how to handle it. They have a hard time sitting still and for long periods of time. More often than not, they don't understand that if you move one part of your body, it moves the rest of your body. C'mon, folks....the knee bone's connected to the leg bone...does no one remember that song? Everything's connected, so if you move your head around, it will affect how still your arm is. It’s simple physics.
Just the other day I tattooed a girl for the first time. She came into the shop with her mother and got a lotus flower with the quote "this too shall pass" under it. It represented her overcoming some dark times in her life. For it being her first tattoo, she got it a decent size. She handled it beautifully, and didn't budge the entire time. She was amazing to get to know and her story really touched me. When the tattoo was done, she was so happy and grateful. It really felt good to be able to give that to her. She sent me an email shortly after that day telling me how much I helped her close that chapter in her life and how pleased she was to have met me. We took a photo together and I keep a copy of it above my tattoo station. She was a really special client. I always love to meet people like that at work because it really makes my job worth it.
I was definitely a little overwhelmed at first when I found out that I had to tattoo two skins. It would have been dreadful to not be able to complete a tattoo. My two skins wanted basically the same design. The differences were going to be in how they were going to be colored in. In fact, one of the skins didn't even want any color or shading. I was seriously bugging over this because it was going to be hard to show my skills when all she wanted was essentially an outline.
My first skin would not sit still. Even Joe noticed as he walked by that she kept moving. I'm not talking a little twitch here and there. I'm talking rock the boat action. She was swaying the entire chair back and forth; I was chasing her foot in order to tattoo it. I was really upset with the quality of my line work. I went back over it the best I could to tighten it up, but there was only so much I could do. After the challenge, I went behind the building and had a good old fashion cry fest to myself because I was sure I was going home. I wouldn't mind going home for a tattoo I was proud of. But not for something that was out of my control, like this. I was really frustrated.
When we had to go before the judges, none of the critiques surprised me because I knew what I did wrong. In fact, if anything I was surprised about how easy they were all going on me. I thought I did a terrible job.
Jessica is on a constant emotional roller coaster. She is either happy and bouncing off the walls, or crying and screaming. It was physically and emotionally exhausting trying to keep up with her. Any little thing any of us did, she would take the wrong way and throw a tantrum. She couldn't take a joke. Also, she so often attacked everyone for their "attitudes" towards the challenges. She said we were closed minded if we weren’t taking them seriously enough. But the truth is that even when we weren’t putting 100% in, we still produced better work than she did on her best days.
I was glad that Jessica was sent home because she shouldn't have made it as long as she had. This is not "Most Improved Ink" this is "Best Ink". Why did she get runner up for best tattoo just because her samurai was her "best so far"? Who cares?! It was still a terrible, ugly tattoo. I don’t believe it was second best in the group. The skin was chewed up, her saturation was subpar and the only semi decent parts of the tattoo, like the negative space kanji and the heart shaped frame, were Charlie's ideas. That girl didn't deserve to make it past the first episode. She's been tattooing three times as long as I have and is twice my age, yet she threw more tantrums than a 4 year old and she drew like one too.