Everyone comes in with a different story and some are definitely very moving.
I used my experience in a brutal car accident to inspire me for the Flash Challenge. It's something that still affects me to this day and it was definitely an emotional time. The most difficult part of the Flash Challenge was trying to portray an emotion using only flower petals.
When Roman gave up on the challenge, I understood. I know how frustrating it is to convey your artistic skills with such bizarre stipulations. I pretty much gave up in the body painting challenge, so I knew where he was coming from.
Going in to the Ink Challenge, I felt prepared. I've done a lot of commemorative tattoos in the past. Everyone comes in with a different story and some are definitely very moving. When Joe came by to judge my progress during the challenge, it was intimidating because you never know what he's thinking. Whether he likes what you're doing or not isn't completely obvious until judging.
I wasn’t completely satisfied at the end of the Ink Challenge, but I'm never fully satisfied with anything that I do. I would have liked to have been able to add more depth and different tones to my tattoo. Also, if I had enough time, I would have liked to make sure all my shading was nice and clean. I wasn't really surprised by the judge’s comments, but some of the comments made by the guest judge were a little confusing. I didn't really take it to heart though.
I knew where Roman was coming from when he decided to leave. The competition can be frustrating at times and it's really hard being away from family and friends for that long. I sometimes felt like I gave up, but never would I have actually quit.
Now that Roman’s gone, I see Alexis as being a significant competitor. I've had my eye on her since the beginning and I've never really changed my view on that. She is an amazing artist, and I made an awesome friend in her.