Roughed-Up Pin-Ups

Guest Judge:  Joe Miangenella

Flash Challenge:  Living Dolls

The artists were assigned a random model, each with her own props, that was going to be body-painted into a pin-up. Our special guest judge, El Cid from HBOs True Blood, was on hand to lend his expertise as an authority on looking amazing. Artistry was the watchword for this challenge, and Jason Clay Dunn stole the fucking show.

Daisy Dukes by Jason Clay Dunn Daisy Dukes 2 by Jason Clay Dunn

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the contest. They then had to use their airbrushed models as a reference for an actual pin-up tattoo. Good or bad, you had to use your own work as reference for something that wasn’t just going to wash off.

The winning tattoo, by a unanimous decision, went to Josh Hibbard who was in the bottom on Pin-Up day in Season 3. Whether you like him or don’t like him, you have to admit the guy puts in the hours and learns from his mistakes. The judges never slam him for the same mistake twice.

Firewoman by Josh Hibbard

Human Canvas Jury:  The human canvasses talked it over and they were as dissatisfied as the regular judges were, overall.  Too many of these Pin-Ups were just awful, really sub-par work by experienced artists who clearly don’t feel comfortable with the genre. The worst part of this experience, was that each artist on the bottom was joined by their rival at the Elimination Ceremony.

Ultimately it was a unanimous decisions that LT, the least experienced artist this season, had to go.

Pinup by LT

Fixing this tattoo is going to be close to impossible, and that is an unforgivable sin.

The Rise of Drama

I don’t watch Reality TV much, mainly because it’s a vapid wasteland for the most part. As in every wasteland, however, there are oasis, and this show is definitely one of them. For the past four seasons the quality of contestants has continuously risen, and the quality of the artwork as well. Unfortunately, it seems that the showrunners have decided that what this program really needed was the kind of ego-driven antics we normally see on other programs that use real people instead of actors.  So, this season they’ve decided to have rival tattoo artists prove to the viewing public who is actually the better artist.

Two of the more interesting rivalries occur between brothers (Jayvo Scott and Robbie Ripoll) and Season 3 vets Jason Clay Dunn and Josh Hibbard. As you may recall, Josh got plenty of flak for trying to win the competition by *gasp* using the rules of the game to his advantage. Specifically he would assign people difficult tattoos and/or canvasses.  Shocking, I know.

If I understand the purpose of the Ink Master competition, however, Josh was only proving who the best actually were, because an actual Master Tattoo artist doesn’t piss and moan about difficult canvasses. They do the job in front of them, and they do it the best they can. This is not to say that I’m in the Josh Hibbard fan club, but I do understand his tactics, and I respect them. He didn’t win the title in S3, but he did help winnow out the weaker elements.

And the weakest element this season is clearly LT who was so nervous he had to go vomit while his rival Ty’esha was taking her turn on their human canvas. Back in the loft he railed against the other artists for insulting his art, but Jason Clay Dunn quickly cut through the bullshit and made it clear:  only bad work gets you sent home. Not your personality, not your experience level relative to the others, not your gender or sexual preference.

First Round:  My Rival, My Partner

Each of the rival artists were paired up and assigned to design and execute a single tattoo on a willing canvas. The purpose of this, obviously, was to see who could get past their animosity and turn in excellent work. Three teams failed miserably, and their canvasses suffered for it.

LT, who claimed to specialize in Black and Gray, designed a Dios de la Muerte tattoo that just came out all kinds of wrong.

 

Tyesha and LT

Tyesha and LT

Dios de la Disaster

Dios de la Disaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

The judges looked at Mark and Ryan’s tattoo and came to the conclusion that they had fought a vicious war on their human canvas,

Mark and Ryan

 

Tiki by Mark and Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally we had Caroline and Julia, who work in the same shop, trying to pull off a simple skull and roses tattoo that came out very poorly, even to a layman’s eye.

 

Olivia and Julia

 

 

Skull and Roses by Olivia and Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elimination Round

After looking at the bad work the judges decided it was time to split the teams and let them go head-to-head to find out who was actually responsible for the loss in the first round. The catch, of course, was that each member got to pick the style their rival would work in. Clearly the goal here would be to eliminate your rival quickly by giving them a style they weren’t comfortable with. Caroline set Julia the task biomechanical (one of my favorites) and Julia picked Neo-Realism; Ty’esha gave LT color realism while, in a head scratching move, he picked cursive lettering for her. That is some Day One shit, and Oliver Peck was clearly surprised by the choice. Finally Mark set Ryan up for failure by assigning him Japanese, one of the most rigorous styles (and the specialty of Chris Nunez) with Ryan returning the compliment with color realism.

Winner:  LT

Lotus by LT

 

Winner:  Julia

 

Biomech by Julia

Winner:  Ryan

Hani mask by Ryan

The artist who had to go home, unfortunately, was Caroline. Her canvas wanted a skull and rose and, rather than learn from the previous day’s experience and show the judges her best work, she failed. The worst part was the same, shitty color for the skull that she did previously. In this competition, there is no room for error.

Neo Realism rose and skull by Caroline

 

 

 

 

 

New Canvasses: Ink Master Returns

Ink Master, the best tattoo competition on TV returned last night for it’s third season. Spike brought sixteen tattoo artists to New York to see who was worthy of the title Ink Master. Once again the judges would be Oliver Peck, Chris NuñezDave Navarro, and the viewers at home. Tatu Baby got her second chance that way, her experiences last season hopefully giving her an edge on the others.

This time out, however, the human canvasses will also get to vote on the worst tattoo of the day, an important new wrinkle that will put a second contestant up for elimination each time.

Flash Challenge

The show opens with the contestants arriving at one of New York‘s correctional facilities. They are then told that in order to test their flexibility, they will all be tattooing in the prison, and that they would only be allowed a single needle. Prison Style tattooing, in other words. Making this the very first challenge the judges are clearly testing the fundamentals of a tattoo artists ability since mistakes will be glaringly obvious.

 

Ally Lee – Oliver thought her tattoo was too large, telling her that single-needle calls for smaller, more detailed work. Not a bad assessment.

Jackie Jennings – Another 10 year vet, her opening effort was a skull and crossbones that maximized the limitations of the single-needle, earning her praise from Chris.

Chris May – No single-pass outlines, but they didn’t tear him up either.

Jason Clay Dunn – Looking like he just got off the bus from Portland, he opens the show with a black rose that earned him praise from Chris due to the single-pass he did when he applied it . 

Jime Litwalk – With twenty years of experience, this New Skool pioneer is going to be one to watch. New Skool artists don’t tend to impress me, so I will reserve judgement. Still, his opening tattoo was top of the heap.

Frank McManus – This guy looks way too young to be competing for this title. His first tattoo looked rough, Oliver calling it overworked.

James Danger – A self-taught artist he somehow never learned that anytime a vehicle/flag/animal is tattooed onto a person, it is always depicted as advancing. Otherwise it looks like the tattoo is trying to escape from the person wearing it.

Josh Hibbard – With 10 years of experience he doesn’t really look like a tattoo artist, despite the ink crawling up out of his collar. His canvas wanted a Japanese demon umbrella. No, seriously, that’s what he asked for.

Demon Umbrella by Joshua Hibbard

Fuck the Japanese can make anything weird.

Kyle Dunbar – After twelve years he apparently learned his craft and for the past six years he has been delivering good tattoos. The one for this challenge would be one of the better ones on display.

ES – A 16 year veteran of the industry he prefers the Black and Gray style. Not surprisingly he seems comfortable with the single-needle and his hourglass/dagger tattoo is definitely one of the better ones.

Maddie LaBelle – She draws a hideously bad spider tattoo, apparently because when she heard “prison style” she thought they meant “shitty.”

Maddie LaBelle

I don’t know what this guy did to society, but Maddie LaBelle is sure making him pay for it.

Made Rich – Another artist who has never done single needle, the judges were not happy with the outlining for his playing cards with script tattoo.

Joey Hamilton – Photorealism is his strong suit, and he completely slams this challenge with an excellent skull.

Craig Foster – Another New Skool artist, he produced an inconsistently done cross that looked rather lackluster.

Mystical Mike – A very young artist he says he has never done a single needle tattoo. Maybe that explains why his tattoo was so boring and amateurish.

Tatu Baby – Back for a second chance at being Ink Master, she has no excuses if she ever finds herself on the bottom.

In the end the judges gave the win to Joey, giving him the power to assign canvasses at the first elimination.

Elimination Tattoo

Since flexibility is the first test, the judges set the artists to doing cover-ups. And the canvasses, in another surprise twist, were the same ones from the Flash Challenge. To keep himself from being accused of sabotaging anyone, Joey keeps the same pairings from earlier. Strangely no one wanted their Flash tattoos covered, although Mike came close with his canvas, Hiram, who was not even remotely pleased with his.

Tops and Bottoms

Jime  has to deal with a canvas that wants a dragon tattoo, something that no one has yet successfully pulled off at Ink Master. Maddie also decides to do a dragon as part of her cover-up.

Tops and Bottoms 

One of the weirdest moments in the history of the show comes during the critique when Mystical Mike tries to defend his tattoo by saying he only brought one machine with him. This floors both Chris and Oliver who cannot understand why anyone would go to a competition for $100,000 and only bring one tattoo machine.

Tatu Baby found herself in front of the judges with Mike, Maddie, and Frank. Not the sort of company you want to keep on this show, and I think it’s obvious that the latter trio won’t be around long.

Gypsy by Tatu Baby

Even with a fucked-up finger, this tattoo by Tatu Baby was still the best.

The other three were all varying degrees of crappy with the human canvasses voting for Maddie LaBelle.

Tattoo by Maddie LaBelle

She meant to make it shitty. Honestly.

The judges, however, were torn between Mike and Frank.

Babboon by Frank McManus

Frank McManus tried to defend this. He failed.

Lion by Mystical Mike

Looks nice at first blush, Then you get closer and start noticing all of the flaws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately they decided that the baboon just had no redeeming qualities at all, and so they sent Frank on his way. This allows the other two to survive one more week, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Maddie or Mike get bounced next.

Ink Master 2012 Revealed

Last week the three remaining artists were assigned their Master Canvasses and sent home to do a 24 hour tattoo, any style, any subject. This leaves the contestant in total control over their tattoo, on their home turf. There is no excuse for failure.

For the canvasses, this is a monumental decision. One of them will be wearing a $100,000 tattoo, the others will not.

Valkyrie by Sarah Miller

Odin by Sarah Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you remember that a Valkyrie is a warrior chick the tattoo gains a new depth.

Sebastian had a middle-aged woman for his canvas, and he decided to do a back piece for her. She was a dancer, but he decided that corny bullshit wasn’t for him, so he went in his own direction. On her skin.

Horrible mistake by Sebastian Murphy

Now, this was a risk she was prepared to take, presumably, but still…what a dick move. Doing such a dark, gruesome tattoo on a woman who gave no inclination that she was into that sort of thing was just wrong. She has to carry that shit around forever now.

Steve Tefft walks away with the title after dropping the following masterpiece onto a more-than-appreciative canvas.

$100,000 tattoo by Ink Master Steve Tefft

That is smoking hot, I would love to have something like that on my back.

We got to see season 1 alumni Tommy Helm return with his co-stars from Tattoo Nightmares, a reality show where they apply cover-ups to bad tattoos.

In a final surprise it was revealed that America would be allowed to give one artist a second chance, And that one was fan-favorite Tatu Baby. Now that she has been through this once, she has no excuse for failure on the next go round.

See you next time, Baby.

 

 

 

The Psycho Canvas

NBA superstar and tattoo enthusiast Matt Barnes guest-starred last night as the contestants were judged on their use of color. To make things interesting, judges  Núñez and Peck each drew up a unique tattoo design in the Flash style. Flash tattoos being art that can be done quickly and easily, while still looking good.

Chris prefers the Japanese style while Oliver, on the other hand, is an acknowledged Master of American Traditional. So the contestants were given original works to demonstrate their skills. Each would do one of the designs, allowing the judges an apple-to-apples comparison of technique.

Skull and Dice by Oliver Peck

Skull and Dice by Oliver Peck

Lotus by Chris Nunez

Lotus by Chris Nunez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing that this was a color challenge, each artist approached it differently, and some of them made some very odd color selections. (I’m looking at you, Lalo.)  Still, everyone’s drawing was solid, so it came down to an issue of color choice and proper application.

Tray pulls out a desperately needed win for round one, with Sarah taking the prize for the second round due to her textbook simple top-hatted skull. This leads us to the next challenge:  a Gypsy girl tattoo where these two artists will go head to head for 60 minutes.

Tray was counting on his experience to grant him the win, while Sarah depended on her raw talent. In the end it was experience that won the day and Tray squeaked a victory through, leaving Sarah with egg on her face after loudly and repeatedly claiming victory before the face-off began.

Elimination Tattoo

With the test this week being color, the judges decided to see who could deliver the best New Skool design. A lot of styles make use of color, but this one is the tattoo equivalent of a Bollywood musical, so it seemed like a good test.

Riding high on his back-to-back victories in the Flash Challenge, Tray decides to softball it and give everyone something he thinks they can do well. So he will have an even greater victory in the end. Still, someone has to wear the victim hat, and last night it was Jamie as a canvas asked for a phoenix shooting flames from her vagina.

I’m not making that up, either.

Insanity translated by Jamie Davies

Tops and Bottoms

Nick to the absolute worst canvas last night with a complete nutjob who kept changing her mind about what she wanted. This is where his inexperience showed because he could not control her and ill omens portended for him.

Tattoo by Nick DAngelo

 

The canvas, Litsa, immediately hated the tattoo once she saw the finished work. His decision to add the magenta spikes set her off, then he continued to cat-fight with her, much to the amusement of the other artists. Not surprisingly, the  judges were not impressed by either this tattoo or his professional demeanor, causing Nick to be sent on his way. The design was bad, the execution was bad, and the way he handled the job from start to finish was bad.

Lalo found himself in the bottom again because of his poor color selection on the day they chose to test color.

Meanwhile, another young tattoo artist, Sarah, proved that, while she may be a bit brittle, she has tremendous talent. Chosen alongside New Skool devotee Jesse Smith, she accomplished what Tray had hoped to.

Kay Kutta has recognized that Sarah does not handle pressure well, and now that she is aware of it, she can correct that personality flaw. It could mean the difference between success and failure.

 

Tattoo by Sarah Miller

That wacky lizard cop got her the win, and damn if she didn’t deserve it. That is one funky piece of art right there.