Hey there Jesse fans!
The Hampton Roads Tattoo Arts Festival is right around the corner! March 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Hampton, VA. Although Jesse is all booked up....we have saved Sunday the 3rd for something pretty awesome. Check out the info below and take advantage of a chance to skip the waiting list!!!!! YOU MUST BE AT THE CONVENTION TO BE ABLE TO ENTER THIS!!!!!
Flash Challenge: Gradation
I was really excited to hear that this weeks flash challenge was going to force us to work as a team. Having done Graffiti in the past I've spent a lot of time doing collaborative murals with a ton of different artists and I've learned the trick to doing any sort of collaborative project is to be able to swallow your ego and enjoy the process. I was also excited to hear that Tatu Baby was in charge of handing out the canvas's. Her and I had literally done a collaborative sketch no more then two weeks prior to this Episode so I knew we'd work really well together. The one thing I wasn't too excited about was working on a scratch board. I've worked on scratch boards in the past and really had a lot of difficulty with them. The process is the exact opposite to everything I'm used to doing. You hafta mark only the light spots vs. in most mediums you build your form via marking out the dark spots. On top of all that we only had 3 hours to do everything. My mind was soon put to ease once I realized how forgiving it was to work on a scratch board of that size. It took about 15 minutes to get the hang of the new medium, but once I got the used to making marks on it I had a lot of fun. It was very liberating working on something of that size.
After winning the Flash Challenge, there was a little skit of "Reality TV" shown. In this particular segment Sebastian, Jaimie and Myself were sitting on the couch talking about throwing one another under the bus. After watching how production chopped and skewed that particular conversation I feel it necessary to clarify a few things. Up to this point, the main topic of discussion was who was gonna throw who under the bus when given the opportunity to do so. I really felt as though this was a negative way to go about winning a competition and proposed to the remaining contestants that, instead of attempting to throw one another under the bus, we should switch things up a bit and give one another a tattoo that we feel would fall in suit with our strengths. From my perspective it makes more sense to win a competition when everyone is working at their best rather then winning because someone was given a shitty canvas. Not only would this proposal change the tone of the competition into a positive direction, but it would also assure that the canvas's would walk away with a better tattoo. Prior to that particular piece of "Reality", I told all the artists that if they promised to not throw me under the bus in the future then I would meet them in the middle. Everyone seemed receptive except Sebastian. He seemed hell bent on getting me back for the first time I threw him under the bus on Episode one. I explained to him that at that particular time in the competition I hadn't really had enough time to develop a positive strategy and apologized for doing so. He still seemed as though he wasn't down to cooperate. Either way, I really wasn't planning on vindictively screwing anyone, but if for some reason I was forced to give someone a shitty canvas it only made sense that I gave it to him.
Elimination Challenge: Holy Ink
For once the Elimination Challenge had some sort of relevance to the Flash Challenge and I was excited to be in a collaborative tattoo challenge with Tatu Baby because we really work well together. Ever since I realized that I was a bit rusty on my black and gray I spent a lot of time picking Tatu Baby's, Lalo's and my buddy Daniel Farren's brains for advice. I really wanted to learn as much as I could before stepping into another black and gray challenge.
In picking our canvas we both seemed to be into the sugar skull idea, but knew that if the canvas wasn't willing to switch locations that we'd probably end up having to go with another canvas. Doing a collaborative piece is difficult enough to make look cohesive much less having to battle for stretch and line time. Our canvas was super cool and really seemed open to anything and everything we wanted to do. Tatu Baby really wanted to do a couple "day of the dead" girls and I went along with it in attempts to show the judges I could do something other then "New School".
Our intention when making these pieces merge was not only to make for a fun tattoo, but also to illustrate that good and evil are not always separate entities. They typically live in everyone simultaneously. All and all I was happy with the outcome and delighted that my black and gray read better in this tattoo then it did in the pin-up.
Flash Challenge: Contrast
I've always felt as though contrast was a strong point in my work so I was pretty confident going into this challenge. We were given 4 hours to paint these helmets with enamel model paint. It's not the medium I would have chosen given the option, but I did the best I could with what we were offered. I really think airbrushes would have made more sense. My strategy was to put as much energy as I could into the upper part of the helmet and if I had time left over I would start on the bottom part. Obviously I ran out of time:) All in all, I had fun with this flash challenge. I definitely feel as though Clint should have won that challenge. He did a great job of creating contrast while also keeping to the theme.
Elimination Challenge: Fantasy Tattoos
I was pretty excited when Clint gave me C3PO and R2D2. I think, just like everyone else, that I would have enjoyed tattooing Yoda, but C3PO and R2D2 would have been my second choice. I knew going into it that I wouldn't have enough time to do the both of them so in order to convince my client to do just one of them I created a full composition of the two of them standing side by side and told her that if she really wanted the both of them she could get R2D2 added later. With a minor bit of resistance she eventually let me have my way and the above picture was the final result. I was pretty happy with how everything turned out but would love to go into it one more time to bump the contrast a bit more, tighten a few things up and smooth out a couple fades.
Flash Challenge: Attention to Detail
I've only used a dremel once and drawing a hunter's dog, scaring pheasants out of the brush, realistic without reference tends to be pretty difficult for someone who lacks a photographic memory and dremeling skills. They came down pretty hard on Tatu Baby and although I think that her piece wasn't super strong I can definitely relate to the difficulty in trying to draw someone's dog without reference. I really wish I had talked this guy into something a little more fun. This was probably my least favorite flash challenge up to this point in the show.
Elimination Challenge: Half Naked
Back in 2007, I decided to push aside reproductive work and focus solely on creating my own voice as an artist. This was a very difficult decision for me to make. I had managed to create two separate followings, one that really dug my custom work and one that appreciated my reproductive work. Sometimes I miss doing reproductive work, but I'm really happy that I chose to focus on my custom work. It has, not only allowed me to create my own voice, but it has also kept me artistically stimulated over the years. Although my custom work wasn't as strong back in 2007, I sometimes think that I would have made a better competitor for "Ink Master" back then. In deciding to focus more on my custom work, I did less and less black and grey work. I honestly think the last time that I have done black and grey, prior to the show, was probably about 4-5 years ago. I'm obviously a bit rusty:)
My initial intent was to draw up the pin up in my style, but I knew the judges wanted to see something different out of me. In choosing to create this piece in black and grey, as well as push more towards the reproductive side of things, I felt as though I could not only cut down on my prep time, but also show the judges I was capable of doing something other then googley eyes and teeth.
During this process I ran into a number of issues that I feel kept me from producing the best piece I could. One of the first things I felt made this tattoo suffer was the overall size of the piece. We were told that the pin up had to be full body and being that my client was about 4'10", the total size of the pin-up ended up being around 12" max. That may seem big, but at that size it left the face at less than an inch tall and the hands even smaller. I'm not saying that it can't be done but being that I was way out of practice it made things really difficult for me. Another big issue that I hadn't really counted on was trying to do black and grey with a rotary. I've been using rotaries now for almost 3 years and have never done black and grey with them. My buddy Daniel Farren warned me that the approach was a little different but I honestly didn't have any time to practice before I left for the show. One of the things that I couldn't account for was that my client had stretch marks on the upper part of her calf. Once I started to tattoo the pin-ups face they really started to push through and although the tattoo looks really red and irritated I'm pretty confident that this tattoo will be fine once it settles down. If anything, I may need to tighten a few things up and push some of the darks a bit. I really wish they would have wiped the tattoo down a bit before photographing it but I think that would have worked against their need to nail me to the wall;)
Flash Challenge: Cutthroat Clipping
I'm sure a lot of you were as confused as I was when it was revealed that we were going to be cutting hair for our 3rd flash challenge. At this point in filming I began to realize that entertainment is starting to compromise the integrity of the competition. Rather then focusing on the fact that some of the flash challenges/decisions made by the producers/judges aren't quite lining up, I decided to try and have fun with everything and not focus so much on whether or not anything made sense or was fair. All that aside, one of the reasons I decided to be a part of this show was for the experience and so far it has given me the opportunity to try new things I would have never done if it weren't for this show. I haven't had too much experience cutting hair so I was kind of excited to see what I could come up with. I originally wanted to put a more detailed character in the back of this guy's head, but once I realized how difficult it was to get detail in hair, I ended up dumbing it down a bit. I wanted the end result to read well and be as clean as I could make it. Although it may seem as though I was mocking this competition and not taking it seriously I was honestly just doing what first popped into my head. There isn't much prep time for these flash challenges so a lot of what I did was me just kicking out what I could off the top of my head comfortably. Apparently Oliver wasn't feeling it;)
Tattoo Challenge: American Traditional
Although I've never actually done a traditional tattoo before, I've always had respect for the artists who were able to pull off this particular style well. This turned out to be a very difficult challenge for me because I had to shut off my artistic urge to tweak things out and exaggerate the composition. In the end I was relatively happy with the outcome.