Tattoo Virgins

Getting your first tattoo is a milestone in your life. Some people do it because they’re young and stupid while others wait til late in their life. There are those who just get a Flash tattoo, some people spend extended periods getting to know their artist before allowing them to draw something, much less pick up the ink machine. Everyone is different, and every tattoo is significant, if only for a brief moment in time. This week the artists were dealing with Tattoo Virgins to demonstrate their adaptability. Not every tattoo turned in was exemplary, but the judges (understandably) didn’t rip them apart. They just asked the artist to explain the work, then they picked the one they thought was the best. There were definitely a couple pieces that were just phenomenal, however.

Flash Challenge:

The judges gave the win to Erik for his pocket watch that completely suited the theme that the client wanted. It’s cute, feminine, and something she can proudly show off for the rest of her life.

Pocket Watch by Erik

For my money, however, the real winner was Cris and his stunning American flag tattoo done in simple black and gray. Seriously, take a moment to look at that flag, notice the stitches, the wrinkles, the stars…that was amazing work, one of the best that Cris has turned in so far.

Old Glory by Cris

And Josh was justifiably proud of his piece, an original work that he did on the fly based on the input from his canvas. This is exactly what a tattoo artist is supposed to do, and Josh is showing that his prowess as a creative person is growing in measure with his technical ability.

Mic Art by Josh Hibbard


Elimination Challenge:

The canvasses all wanted their forearms done, complimentary images that, when combined, created a third image. Naturally this would require two different artists to work on the same canvas, at the same time. Obviously this was designed to test everyone’s adaptability because not only must your work stand on its own, it has to integrate with your opponents as well. And ultimately, you have to give the client something they can be proud of. That idea just keeps getting lost on some of these artists and it becomes apparent when you see the two tattoos side by side the way they were intended to be viewed.

A great example of this was the peacock and mirror done by bitter rivals Emily Elegado and Aaron Is. These two hate each other passionately, and I think that Aaron subconsciously let that slip into his work.

Emily vs Aaron Peacock

As Dave Navarro so eloquently put it “That looks like the peacock saw itself in the mirror and it was so ugly the mirror broke.” No one wants to wear some fucked up shit like that, and I’m just hoping the young lady can get that mirror fixed. If not, she’s going to have to invent a mythology to explain it, and hope no one recognizes it from this show.

Mark vs Don Ships

Notice how the clouds on the two tattoos don’t mesh. They were done in completely different styles and it shows. The idea that the two ships are different isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as noted by the split between Peck who favored Don’s tattoo and Nunez who favored Mark’s. What is problematic is that the backgrounds are so different. Still, you have to admit that it does have a certain charm to it.

Cleen vs Erik Party Skulls

To underscore my point, check out the party skulls done by Cleen and Erik. Each of these is fucking TIGHT, but together they make an elegant pairing that I would be damn proud to wear.

Human Canvas Jury:

It was a unanimous decision by everyone that Jason Clay Dunn, the resident Japanese tattoo artist, turned in a colossal fuckup of a dragon. He’s been complaining about panic attacks all episode, so maybe that was why he dropped the ball, but damn this thing is fugly.

Dragon by Jason Clay Dunn

He was joined at the bottom by Aaron and Julia who had each turned in bad tattoos. Aaron’s was amateurish and poorly executed, while hers was just a tragedy.

Mirror and Feathers by Aaron Is

Angel by Julia








I really didn’t want to see Julia go so soon, especially not with ass-clowns like Mark and Emily still hanging around. Trouble is, that angel is jacked, just look at the eyes or the left side of the head, or the nose. It was a strange choice on Julia’s part to try and do a portrait when her opponent was Josh, the fucking master of portrait reproductions, and she paid for it. Emily tried to paint Josh as a villain who set his partner up for failure, but Julia should have known her strengths and weaknesses enough to know that she wasn’t going to win that contest. She has skill, she just needs a little more training and a lot more practice.

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