Judge's Corner: Hannah Blogs About the Cover-Up Challenge...and Lara's Beef with Puzzle Pieces

By Hannah Aitchison

Well, gang, the honeymoon is officially over -- and the gloves are off!! This week saw Izzi and May May in a situation that started innocently enough, and wound up in full-on battle mode.  We also saw Lara showing her unapologetically opinionated approach to working with her clients, as well as some really impressive cover-up work from the whole crew.  But I'm getting ahead of myself!

This week's flash challenge was a lot of fun for me personally. May May's use of materials, and her big, bold composition made for a piece that I thought was the most successful overall.  While I loved Willy's ability to illustrate the microphone and rose, the composition and use of space weren't as interesting as I know he could have made it. His argument was that May May's piece was too simple. Personally, that was what worked for me - it was bold, sculpted in multiple dimensions, and the composition itself was a great use of the entire space, with movement that really drew your eye.  Score one for May May! Especially on such a difficult medium!

Now, onto the Ink Challenge. Cover-ups are a bitch and a half to do. Many of the artists really embraced this challenge and had fun with it, and the results were obvious.  Even Izzi --  who wound up with the most difficult cover-ups in the group after May May swapped with her -- managed to meet the challenge. 

I was a little confused by Lara's attitude towards her client's cover-up. Frankly, I've been tattooing 18 years now, and I've never heard of a puzzle piece being the exclusive purview of the autism community.  I know the four pieces are the autism symbol, but as someone with a friend with an autistic child (who I asked about this, by the way) this is a first for me. I've done plenty of puzzle pieces and only in one case has it symbolized autism.

In the end, after a great deal of what appeared to be stonewalling, Lara's skin finally capitulated, and got a ship in a frame instead of her original request.  It was a nice piece and I liked it, but couldn't help but be a little frustrated on the skin's behalf. A big part of our job is to try and accommodate the client's requests wherever possible, and this kind of outright refusal, based solely on what seemed to be personal conviction, was kind of weird -- especially since it's not like the gal wanted a Swastika!  I mean, seriously!

I'd like to think that May May's defensiveness to Joe about how her piece was rendered was a culmination of all the antagonism between her and Izzi.  Let's face it, it got ugly for a while there. But telling Joe that the reason her piece didn't work was because she followed his advice? I know Joe well, and having seen this piece, it seems like May May just didn't understand what he was saying. But regardless, the piece was not the caliber of work we were expecting from her, especially after such a strong Episode 1 start. I know we can see better from her.

At the end, the three finalists - Joe, Amy and Willy - had extremely successful cover-ups that, other than working to cover something up, were just plain great tattoos. Willy's was especially wonderful and impressive, with a great use of his time to create a bold, bright and colorful piece that made for an elegant and beautifully executed tattoo.  He really got to show off his technical skills with this one, and his skin was ecstatic.

I was sad about sending Rudy home. He obviously has a really solid skill set, but this piece, rather than being feminine and flowing, was just clunky and heavy-looking on her arm.  There were so many missed opportunities to make this pretty and soft, just like his skin wanted - but I think he let the pressure of the time get to him, and the stress showed in the final piece.

So that's all the news that's fit to print --- see you next week!!!

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