Jessica on Best Ink 103: What right do they think they have to say whether or not Im an artist?

I was shocked to see what some of them really thought about me after the very same people where smiling in my face and eating with me at the same table.

For the Flash Challenge, I was inspired by all the bright floral arrangements that were given to us and the beautiful setting we were all in. I wanted to create a piece for my father who passed away. I thought what better way to express what I was feeling than creating a beautiful piece of artwork using flowers? But this wasn’t so easy. The hardest part of the challenge ended up being the flowers. It was a very challenging medium to use. They are a living thing and making that stick to a canvas wasn’t so easy. It was a lot harder than it looked. Trying to convey an idea using the organic shape and color of the flower was difficult as well.

I felt like Roman was being very negative when he gave up on the Flash Challenge. I feel that as an artist you should be open to thinking outside of your comfort zone. You should be open to trying something you don’t normally do. Roman was very against doing the challenge because he said it’s not what he does. Yeah I don’t normally do that sort of thing either, but it is a competition and it is a test of your range of artistry. Every artist has their own choice of medium whether it be skin, canvas, clay etc. but chances are they tried many different forms of creativity before finally settling on what they feel most comfortable using to express themselves. I just feel like he didn’t even try.

I was really hurt when the boys implied I wasn’t an artist. I wasn’t being negative about doing the challenge. I was trying to make something out of what was given to us. I had a positive attitude about all the challenges and I always tried my best. I feel like they said that specifically to hurt me. What right do they think they have to say whether or not I’m an artist? Was it just because I was positive about the challenge? Would they say that to another artist whose work they didn’t like or agree with? I just feel it was very hurtful and wrong for them to say something like that when I was just giving something new a chance.

Back at home, I do many commemorative tattoos. I try not to make one person’s story more touching or important than the next. They are all touching to me because I am a caring person. I have to try to separate myself from it so that I don’t get too wrapped up in the story. It will end up affecting me too much. I too lost someone who was a big part of my life and the pain associated with that is at times very hard to bear. Being brought back to that place each time I do a commemorative tattoo is hard on me. This is why I have learned to try to keep everything in perspective and concentrate simply on the piece.

During the Ink Challenges it can be very intimidating at times when Joe comes over. He’s what every artist aspires to be: a recognized and accomplished tattoo artist who’s been published in several tattoo magazines. He has people flying in from all over the world to see him. I’d really like to have that too someday…..and my own shop!

At the end of the Ink Challenge, I wasn’t as satisfied with my tattoo as I would have liked to have been. I felt that if I had more time the saturation of the colors would have been much better. My client was in a lot of pain and I had to be patient with that. It is about them, not us. She needed breaks and of course I was going to give that to her! I know how painful tattoos can be so what kind of person would I be if I didn’t give her the breaks she needed to have the piece? If I had more time I think the piece would have been brighter and looked better. I was surprised that I got any kind of positive feedback because I’ve been on the bottom every time so far. It was nice being recognized for a change. I felt like I did every aspect of what the challenge called for, even though I would’ve made my piece even better if I didn’t have to give my skin breaks. I felt connected with my skin. It was important to me at that point in time that I was creating something really special for her that she would love for the rest of her life. I was happy that the judges saw this and recognized that.

I can understand Roman choosing to go home. We all missed our families and friends, but we all were trying to stick it out. At least that’s how I felt. I feel like he gave up in a way, but in the same token I can understand because he is a different caliber of artist. He has the success already where someone like me isn’t even close to his level yet and may never be. He already has the kind of clients I’d like to have someday and the magazine recognition. He didn’t need to be there at all, and I can honestly give him credit for trying for as long as he did.

I wasn’t surprised when I was voted into the bottom three by my fellow artists. It feels like it’s become a popularity contest between the artists. It’s gone from being about the work to being about who we like most and who we get along with. I was shocked to see what some of them really thought about me after the very same people where smiling in my face and eating with me at the same table. I’m not like that. If I don’t like someone, I tell them. I don’t talk smack about them behind their back. But, such is life. Not everyone is going to like you and I’m not going to change who I am for a bunch of negative people. If they can’t handle my personality, then that’s their problem not mine. There is nothing wrong with being emotional and crying. It’s what makes us human. My opinionated and outgoing personality is what my friends, family, and now my fans love about me. It’s sad to see people who claim they are artists and who have experienced negativity from non-tattooed people in society put down and criticize one of their own. But like I always say, for every one person who doesn’t like you or understand you there will be 50 people who love you and want to get to know who you are.

Going forward I’m not concentrating on who is my biggest competition or any of that anymore. That’s what they’re thinking about. This is a competition and I’ve realized what was originally said as far as us all remaining friends has gone out the window….but hey it was a nice thought. You can’t trust anyone in this sort of thing. That’s why I’m sticking to doing the best I can possibly do in this situation and that’s all I can do.

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