On last week’s new episode of Ink Master, we saw the elimination of yet another strong artist in Chris Shockley. This time around, though, the circumstances surrounding his exit were a little more unusual. He clashes at times with members of Christian Buckingham’s team, and even in his final episode there was talk among his fellow team members about trying to get him out. He was perceived as an enormous threat due to his ability, and he found himself heading out the door at the conclusion of a face-off between himself, Amanda, and Tim.
In this Ink Master exit interview below Chris talks about what happened on his final episode, having conflict with his fellow team members, and then also why he feels prepared to come back to the show now after some time away and reflection.
CarterMatt – Are you surprised at the way in which this past episode unfolded?
Chris – At this point in my life, very little surprises me. I felt betrayed more than anything. I knew we were in competition with each other, but finding out they formed an alliance to get me out of the house hurt quite a bit. Especially, since I was open about the deceitfulness I had just experienced at my previous job (literally right before the show).
I expressed to them how much that affected me, so going through this left me confused, distraught, and furious. When I told them I didn’t want to do the snake and wasn’t comfortable doing it, I was attacked. I still offered to help in any way with Tim and Amanda’s designs, and would’ve even gracefully taken a knee if I had to. As a tattoo artist I take pride in my designs. I’d rather give somebody a tattoo I’m proud of before possibly doing them a disservice just to possibly win the Ink Master title. They weren’t happy with my decision and we all saw where that got me. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the stakes of the competition, but the way they handled getting me out hurt. Truthfully, if they had been upfront with wanting me out I would’ve respected them more, but sneaking and conniving behind my back and then acting like we were friends is what truly disappointed me.
Did you feel during the competition like you were in constant conflict with your own team?
Yeah, I definitely felt like we were on different wave lengths a lot of the time. When it came to flash challenges my idea was to create a plan of how to accomplish it and give everybody jobs that best suited them. I would listen to the task, examine the easiest way to accomplish the task, and assign jobs based on the level of experience the team had with the equipment. I figured given whatever challenge, if we planned it out well, we’d be able to win most of them as long as we kept our designs readable, clean cut, and pleasing to the eye. Just keep it simple and sweet, not my team. They wanted to go overboard, didn’t know how to use the equipment, and would argue. When it came to tattoos the team was always worried about doing what they wanted to do, I just wanted to hit the challenge and make sure my canvas was happy.
How different would this season have been for you if you were on Team Cleen?
Truthfully, I don’t know if I would have been better or worse. It’s a competition and people tend to act funny when money is on the line. Since Team Christian plotted to get me out sooner, I do feel Team Cleen would have been a better support system.
You were talking about trying to downplay some of your skills in front of your own team members [on this past episode]. Were you always thinking in terms of strategy on the show?
Not all the time, but I did try to use common sense and previous experiences to make educated decisions. I got stabbed in the back by my last employer, lost my job, my clients, and they were a family to me for 8 years. Once I started to gain more notoriety than my coworkers they did me dirty and tried to take everything from me. This all happened literally a couple weeks before the show started. I brought the knowledge I learned from that with me on the show. When listening to the people on my team scheme on Team Cleen I figured they’d do it to me at some point. I’ve been down that road and I didn’t want that negative energy. That meant holding back a little to help me stay longer against really amazing artist. To survive in the competition my strategy was staying low and doing good work and additionally to stand by my morals to do right by my canvas. Gaining momentum by hitting the challenges hard to stay in and at the end I I could try to show off and prove I was talented and dedicated enough to make it.
Which one of your tattoos were you the happiest with this season?
I was happy with all of my tattoos this season. The most joy I got was from tattooing the canvases. The connection between the canvas and me is extremely important. All of them were very nice people and their ideas were crazier than anything I get at home which got me pretty excited about them. It was nice not worrying about anybody or anything and focusing on making sure the picture in my head looked as close to what was on the person and done right.
Any interest in coming back to do this show again?
When I first left I didn’t at all. Getting betrayed two times in a row really got to me. I’m not going to lie. I put a lot into trust with the people I surround myself with. Everyone on the show formed a bond which I put a lot of value in. After the show I got depressed, left the country and spent time with friends and family trying to get back mentally to where I needed to be. After some downtime and a lot of thought I think I’d do it again. Doing the show was another learning experience with a lot of ups and downs but it was well worth it. Next time though, I’m playing for keeps.
What did you think about Chris Shockley as a contestant on Ink Master? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments! (Photo: Paramount Network.)