Exit Chat With Kelly: Oh Snap, She Called Brittany a "One Trick Pony"

By Fawnia Soo Hoo

Oh, Kelly. Three times a charm! Or, in this case, three times is the best way to elimination. We have to give it to the artist for sticking it out this long. First, Kells had a "skin" walk out on her in the premiere episode, then she engaged in a catty fight with teammate Brittany in last night's Best Ink 2. Well, we have lots of burning questions for the contestant, so let's get to it—and yes, she has some things to say about Brit.

Best Ink 2: In the premiere episode, the dispute between you and your "skin," Kimberly, was a big part of the show. We've heard from her already, what's the story from your point of view?

Tattooing is a collaborative process. In order to craft a good tattoo, both client and artist must work together in harmony. Sometimes, all that a client needs to do in order to achieve a quality finished product is focus attention on holding still. Numerous breaks, wriggling, negativity and micro-management are challenging even in the best of circumstances. Kim frustrated the creative flux by her inability to relinquish control of the situation.

In Episode 3, you're paired with Brittany and you two didn't seem to mesh. Do you feel like you could have worked better together with someone else in the group? If yes, which artist(s)?

Being paired with Brittany was an interesting experience. Brittany made it apparent from the beginning that she was displeased at being partnered with myself. Being what some people might refer to as a "one trick pony," she attempted vigorously to steer the direction of the tattoo designs toward her default style—traditional—during the consultation with our clients. Although Brittany later stated that she wanted to work together as a team, this was not the case. Brittany's interests were demonstrably focused on herself. This was, however, a competition. … One can hardly fault her for being fiercely competitive.

I have a great deal of respect for all of my fellow Best Ink artists and would happily have been paired up with any number of them. I really enjoyed getting to know Ralph and would love to have been his teammate. I would also have liked to be partnered with Derek. Teresa is also a talented artist whose composure I admire, and I think that she would've been a great partner. Certainly it would be educational to pair up with DJ, who has a lot of experience in our industry.

You ended up in the bottom three, three times. How did it feel to be put there by your fellow contestants?

Being in the bottom three was a surprise on Episode 2. My tattoo was one of the strongest in that challenge, certainly not in the bottom three. It was technically well-rendered and I embraced the challenge of "secret story" effectively with design and composition. It was at that point in time that I realized there were more intricacies involved in the competition factor than I had bargained for. And it was at that point that my will to continue competing began to dissipate.

Looking back, if you could do anything differently (if at all), what would it be?

In retrospect, the main thing that I would do differently is remind myself to take it all a little less seriously. I allowed the stress and pressure of the unusual circumstances to rattle my nerves. At home, in my studio I am relaxed and able to indulge in my perfectionist nature. I preferred this, very much, to the fast-paced, cutthroat world of competition. I believe that tattoos should be a "masterpiece of art," rather than a "bold statement" as Joe suggested to me in Episode 2.

Do you agree with the final decision?

I agree with the final decision to send me home on Episode 3, because my heart was no longer in the competition. I found the circumstances of the competition were not conducive to the highest caliber work of which I am capable. I was eager to return home to my studio and family. That being said, it was a unique experience which I will never forget.

Tell us what you're working on now!

I'm currently immersed in the ongoing process of continuing to better myself as a tattoo artist and person in general. One thing that I love dearly about tattooing is the process of continued evolution. In 20 years from now, I will still be learning. I am also involved in several painting projects. I love working with oil and organic mixed-media on canvas. And I am very excited about one project which I am working on that I refer to as light-sound sculpture. These sculptures incorporate both sound frequencies and UV light to make visible and tangible sound vibrations. I will be exhibiting one as an installation at Burning Man next year.

Keep up with Kelly on Twitter at @k_mcevoy and hear what she has to say on video, below:

Don't miss the next brand new episode of Best Ink 2 on Wednesday, Apr. 24 at 10/9c!


Kelly and Marvin battle it out for Redemption

Kelly and Brittany get passive aggressive

Read all the Exit Interviews

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