Jessica on Best Ink 101: The fact that I was given this amazing opportunity was winning in itself!

I’ve always been an artist.

I decided to become a tattoo artist because I was fascinated with art…that and the guy I was seeing at the time was a tattoo artist.

I’ve always been an artist. I draw, paint, and play piano. When my ex saw my artwork he decided to teach me how to tattoo and I never looked back. That was 8 years ago now. The first tattoo I ever gave someone was on a guy…somewhere private! It wasn’t fun. I was helping my mentor do a black widow spider. You do the math.

The first tattoo I got has long since been covered up with a larger chest piece. I got it when I didn’t really know much about the industry and I basically picked it off the wall. It was a small kanji symbol for destiny. I put it over my heart because my father always taught me to follow my heart, my destiny. Now I have too many tattoos to count! I think it’s in the 30 range. I plan to finish my sleeves and get a back piece. I love my art so of course I want more!

I love American traditional and Neo-traditional tattoos. I love bold lines and bright colors. I like them the most because those tattoos stand the test of time and look great on skin. Tattoos are supposed to look like that. They’re supposed to look like tattoos. All the portrait stuff is great and I do it, but these tattoos are the ones that really last. I don’t find any tattoo too challenging. I love a good challenge! I’ve been tattooing for a while now so I do the best I possibly can do with each piece that comes my way.

Winning this competition doesn’t mean everything to me. The fact that I was given this amazing opportunity was winning in itself! Getting my name out there as a serious artist is also a plus. The prize is nice, but it’s not the only thing I’m striving for. I want to give a good name to females in the industry and want my work to be taken seriously. Hopefully that will enable me to eventually open my own shop someday. That is my biggest goal as an artist. I also want to travel the world, guest spotting and seeing great artists and shops worldwide.

If I could tattoo anyone it would probably be my dad. He passed away before he could see my success and how far I’ve come. I don’t know if he’d even get a tattoo but it’s a nice thought.

In our first challenge, my strategy for reinventing the butterfly was that I wanted to make something you don’t really see every day. I mean everyone changes a butterfly to flowers like Charlie did. I wanted to do something cooler and more edgy. When Joe called my work a copout I was disappointed because him being a seasoned artist, he knows that a solid black face like that is a very difficult thing to cover. Regardless, I feel I did a great job covering the tattoo. Most importantly, my client was thrilled. Even though Joe has a right to his opinion, it didn’t mean half as much to me as my client’s satisfaction. I’m not surprised that I was in the bottom three. It’s the other artists voting so it’s a popularity contest. It’s a competition and everyone wants to win.

My biggest competition going forward is Alexis, I think. Everyone knows Roman is a great artist, but Alexis is a fellow female artist who is more in my bracket.

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