Kasey “Gonzo” Gonzalez was a big personality going into Ink Master season 11 and to go along with that he has a real talent, so to say that we were surprised that he went home as early as he did is an understatement. We were completely shocked. Not only is he a great tattooer, but he was entertaining television.
So what happened to cut Gonzo’s time so short on the show? That’s something we discussed with him in our first Ink Master exit interview of the season.
CarterMatt: Going into the show, what were some of your expectations for yourself?
Gonzo: My biggest goal was to represent who I am as a tattoo artist, not only character but quality of work. I knew that I would be challenged in styles that were not my own, and wanted to show that I was still a top tattooer regardless of style.
How different was it being in the competition than you expected?
In every way! I expected the tension level to be much higher than it was, and for people to be less comfortable then they were. In that sense, I definitely underestimated the competition. Also, at home I never tattoo anything that only takes 6 hours, and I didn’t realize how much of a struggle it would be to not only design, but execute 6 hour tattoos when I am used to having much more freedom. Definitely took a toll on me.
Part of the challenge for you seemed to be just the placement that your canvas wanted the tattoo. Did you try to move it?
I did, however I don’t feel that I pushed the issue enough. I’ve always taken pride on giving my clients what they ask for, as it IS their body. But looking back, I should have definitely looked at the competition aspect more and put more effort in moving [it] to a different location on her body.
Do you think the canvas is the biggest reason you went home?
Yes. She was a very sweet person, it had nothing to do with her character. It was simply placement. I have my sternum done and know how bad it truly sucks! On a fundamental challenge where line work and consistency is key, the “pain shaking” and stomach jumping was a killer. The sternum is so stretchy and when you have an uncomfortable canvas it makes it almost impossible.
Is there anything that you wish you would’ve done differently?
Yes, as I said I would have thought a little bit more in favor of the competition over the client (as bad as that may sound) and tried whatever I could have to convince her to move it. It would have ultimately extended my time there and left her with a better tattoo.
What did you take away from your time being on Ink Master?
Everything. I don’t want to see my time on Ink Master as over, more as this was a stepping stone if I ever get the opportunity to return. I feel now that I would be able to do some real damage on the competition with what I’ve already learned. But also in my career at home, knowing my weakness and having them exposed only gives the chance for growth. I plan on finding every weakness that I may have, and making it a strong point in my tattoo career.
A very special thanks to Gonzo for his time and speaking with us about his experience on the show. If you missed it be sure to Check out our exclusive interviews with Christian Buckingham and Cleen Rock One!
If you are looking for more scoop on Ink Master season 11 be sure to join our official CarterMatt Facebook page. It’s a great way to stay up to date with all of our reviews, previews and interviews with the eliminated artists. (Photo: Paramount Network)