Ink Master interview: Elva Stefanie on Medusa tattoo, decision to leave competition

Elva StefanieElva Stefanie’s run on Ink Master season 12 ended in unexpected fashion on Tuesday, as she opted to walk away from the show for the sake of her own mental health. It was a moment of tremendous self-awareness for her, as she came to realize that the best way to move forward in her career was not necessarily to press on the competition. Being bipolar in this sort of pressure-cooker environment is not easy, but she managed to fight on and has she not chosen to leave, we think that there’s a good chance she would have advanced to the next round.

So how does Elva feel about her time on the show after the fact? In this CarterMatt interview, she discusses going on the series, how it was different from her preconceived notions, and also trying to handle conflict within the women’s team without making anyone feel like they were on the wrong side of an attack.

CarterMatt – How are you feeling now on the other side of the Ink Master experience?

Elva Stefanie – I’m feeling blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience the show from the other side. It’s surreal having watched the show in the past to now being an Ink Master alum. I never had being on the show as a goal until the opportunity was presented then it was kind of like “ok let’s do this and make the best of it!”

How different was it being in the house and the show versus what you were expecting?

It was so different being in the competition and living with everyone than what I expected. We go in knowing it’s reality tv and a lot of work but you’re still not ready and don’t fully understand how much. Tattooing in my studio, at guest spots and conventions is nothing like having cameras around you listening to judges critique you. It’s kind of an out of body experience really like your there but you’re watching from the side.  Viewers don’t get to see how much goes into filming one episode.

Aside from what was referenced with Alexis on the show last night, did you feel supported by the rest of your team?

Its sucks that some things don’t get aired sometimes. That scene was heavy it brought up a lot of things for us women and in that setting things go wild quickly. Some of the girls had my back, some didn’t understand why I waited to address the situation.  I really wanted get my point across and talk about mental health issues and let the girls get to know some real s–t about me.  The way things go sucks because we end up making Alexis feel attacked and that’s not right it’s not cool. We can’t treat each other that way you know? At the end of it all we talk things out everyone speaks their peace and we come to a resolution.

Do you think your tattoo would have kept you in the competition if you decided to say?

100% my tattoo wasn’t the worst of the day by far. Tattooing Medusa is always a challenge, there are so many details to put in. With the amount of time I had and the challenge we were given I rocked it out. The challenge was shading and that’s what I gave the judges. Their issues were technical and nitpicky. I remember Nunez saying something about the snakes not being all from the same species.  My canvas saw a piece in my portfolio that was of a statue lady head that incorporated Greek meanders and she loved it. She loved my way of doing that, so she wanted her piece to mimic that. Showing smooth shading and texture at the same time is a contradiction but it’s a challenge I loved. I was very happy with the piece and so was she, I’m so happy she let me use her face for the bust!

Are there any styles of art that you wish you’d had a chance to show off?

Yeah, all of them!!! I do everything I just Elva-fy it. My style is me, there isn’t a box big enough to fit all the creativity in my brain. It would have been great to show off my freehand skills, my color work, coverups, Japanese, traditional, really all of them including my master canvas at the finale!

What did you learn about yourself through the show?

I learned that I need to slow down and focus on myself and my health. Having everything else together, grinding and working hard, and in keeping things in order is useless if you’re not well.   I learned I’m stronger than I realized because that was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Saying to yourself that your unwell is one thing, telling others is another, but doing it on camera was a lot.

How can people get in touch with you want to get a tattoo from you?

Contact me through my site www.theelvastephanie.com. I would love for people to reach out with stories on their own issues and what they’ve done to get better!

For some more Ink Master coverage…

Be sure to head over to the link here to preview more of what’s next! Meanwhile, let us know in the comments what you thought about Elva’s time in the competition.

This interview was done by Jessica Carter and you can follow her on Twitter here.

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