Exit Chat with Ralph: You Won this Round, Squirrel...

We had to say goodbye to Ralph Giordano last night, thanks to that damn squirrel and fortune cookie tattoo. But you definitely haven't seen the end of Ralph, who is now booked solid as a tattooer for six months out. Incidentally, he also won Redemption last night, so you'll see him next week! (He also happens to be a really freaking nice guy, side note.) In his exit chat we talked about his inspirational girlfriend, his friendship with DJ, his elimination...and how he would have done the squirrel tattoo if he'd had more time. Scroll down to see the would-be drawing!
Best Ink: What have you been up to since filming Best Ink? 
Ralph Giordano: I have been so incredibly busy since the show has ended. I am currently booking out with appointments 6 months in advance and am tattooing six days a week up to 60 hours. I have been working conventions and even had the pleasure of doing one with my best bud from the show Tylor whom I still stay in constant contact with. I really have been doing my best to make myself a better tattooer and since the show have seen my skill and ability literally triple since I left.
Did you agree with the judges’ decision to keep Derek and Brittany, and send you home? 
I really don't agree with their decision to kick me off. My opinion is that this was supposed to be a cumulative process in which I was never in the bottom or even considered for it. To be perfectly honest Derek was down in the bottom twice and Brittany had two weak showings two weeks in a row. So I was in shock when I left because I had found myself in the bottom once for what Joe said was the "cleanest tattoo" I had done so far and was sent home. I think that Derek and Brittany are both great people and artists but I do believe that they were more deserving of the axe then I was. Also another reason i wish i would of stayed is because I knew that the pinup challenge was coming up soon and that is something that I believed that no matter the client or the subject matter I was given, I could have really put out a top three piece.
Describe the challenges of the squirrel/fortune cookie tattoo in your own words. 
The main challenge I had with the squirrel was the placement of the tattoo. I had to once again work in a really awkward spot around existing tattoos. On top of that my client was having a very difficult time taking the pain, so due to the time restraints I had to cut corners to at least get a quality finished piece. The placement also altered the way I had originally intended the tattoo to look. I have attached a sketch of my original idea.
If you could go back and do the tattoo differently, would you? If so, what would you do differently? 
Theres was always the pressure in these competitions to do large tattoos because everyone else was. I wish that I would have just drawn the squirrel a little more to my style, meaning a larger head and animated large eyes.I would of had the squirrel cracking the fortune cookie open itself with its hands and just done a smaller tattoo that would of fit more snug in the space that I was given instead of trying to extend the tattoo larger.
However I still stand by the piece I did and think that it was a quality cute and saturated tattoo that in my opinion really followed the parameters of the specific challenge and my client who had tons of work said " this was the favorite tattoo she had".
Was it fun to draw DJ in the Flash Challenge? You guys seemed like you were sort of friends by that episode.
I had allot of fun drawing and working with DJ in the flash challenge, me and him had started to become close due to the time spent on the show and the fact that we are both from new york and have similar family backgrounds. I also really respect DJ as an artist and loved the idea of being able to draw with him. In my opinion DJ is the strongest most well-rounded artist on the show and may come off to viewers as intense but that really is his passion for what he does. 
We got a few glimpses of your personal life in your art, from your girlfriend to your dog. Are they still inspirations to you?
My girl and my puppy are still gigantic parts of my life. WIthout my girlfriend I would probably loose my mind, she takes care of everything for me so that I can just worry about tattooing and relaxing when I get the opportunity, and I owe her so much for her love and support. Also my mother is still a huge part of my life and my father whom I draw inspiration from every day. I always say to myself if I can accomplish and be half as happy as they are by the time I reach their age, it would be amazing.
What did you take away from your experiences on Best Ink? 
I took away so much from the show. Everyone that I met was so fantastic and had so much to offer. Nobody was selfish while I was there and was always willing to give a helping hand and help you produce the best piece you could. The judges were amazing. Joe is a man that I hold in such high regard and look up to in life, even though he might have given harsh critiques. I appreciate everything that he said and apply it to my current work. I just wanna push myself to become the best artist that I can be and this show was the catalyst for that.
What’s in your tattooing future? 
I hope in my future to extend my clients beyond New York. I dream of becoming an artist that people seek out from all over the country and world to do my style on. At the same time I just want to become better at my craft, everyday I want to do a better tattoo than I did the day before. As long as I work towards these goals, I will be happy and feel complete.
Tune in to 'Best Ink,' Wednesdays at 10/9c, and head to ralphgiordanotattoo.com to stay up-to-date on Ralph!

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