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.