I go a long time between entries to update... sorry.
So I came in second on Ink Master. Not too shabby for someone tattooing for only seven years now. This month, today actually, is the anniversary of when I started tattooing in 2006. Ashley Claypool was my roommate in college at the time, a kick ass artist and tattooist. She saw my art and convinced me to try my hand at tattooing, of which I was really stubborn and it took her a few months to convince me. I am so grateful that she did. That moment changed my life.
I might not have taken the craft seriously at first, it was something that brought me happiness as I tried to figure out the new medium. I tattooed part time for several years at a few of the local shops around Pittsburgh, but it wasn't until 2009 that I came to make a really hard decision. I was working for a graphic design firm and tattooing after I got off at night - between the two jobs I was putting in over 80 hours a week. The graphic job was steady, full benefits, and above average pay. I wasn't making that much tattooing. My friends and family cautioned me to give up tattooing and keep working at the job I had, but with every day I was going into the office, something was dying inside of me. In the end, despite everyone telling me to take the safe route I quit my job and devoted everything into tattooing.
I got a job at Jester's Court in December 2009, and attended my first convention as an artist a few months later in Baltimore. I thought I was pretty good until I walked around that convention, seeing what people could actually do with the medium. I was so humbled. From that point onward I redoubled my efforts, working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day or more, struggling to improve to the point where other artists looked at my tattoos and marveled the same way I marveled at that first convention.
I've come a long way, since then. In no way, however, am I complacent. There are still vast possibilities out there, new ideas to pursue, and improvement on my own part to achieve. Thank you to everyone who supported me on the show, who has looked at and appreciated my art. You guys are the reason I'm able to succeed.