One of the biggest attractions of Ink Master is the idea that you will be seeing great tattoos from artists across America, some of them not originally from America which helps people who don’t have good, strong Internet to connect them to the rest of the world.
So it is all the more infuriating when, 3 years in, we are still hearing artists piss and moan about being out of their element, or how they are losing sleep because they are spending the entire morning working, and the evening studying and drawing. It makes me wonder what the hell they were told to expect, or if they have watched the previous two seasons.
To my mind, those who complain the most are gone the fastest. Steve Tefft and Shane O’Neill rarely complained about anything except Kay Kutta and both of them went on to claim the title of Ink Master, despite each man losing individual challenges and have their work run in the middle of the pack at times. They did the job because it had to get done. There was no confusion in their minds about the difficulty of this contest.
Last year Dave Navarro volunteered six of his guitars and was pretty bummed out by the results. He didn’t find a single one that he wanted to show off on stage. Not one. This season, feeling more optimistic about the odds for some reason (Tatu Baby is a known commodity?), Dave has decided to volunteer himself as a human canvas.
Each artist would get 2 hours to draw a pair of American Traditional tattoos, Good and Bad luck. Dave would then pick one of each design from separate artists, then they would apply them to him simultaneously. With 18 designs to choose from, odds were that Dave would find at least two that he could wear.
There were some good designs, and some bad designs. Jason Clay Dunn came up with a cool one based on Dave’s planchette pendant (a lot of people think that is a guitar pick) which struck a chord (bad pun, I know) with Dave.
Planchette by Jason Clay Dunn
Coffin Girl by Tatu Baby
Now, personally, I have nothing against Tatu Baby’s coffin girl, but as far as good luck goes, I think that Joey Hamilton did a better American Traditional, but I’m not expert.
Lucky Seven by Joey Hamilton
To increase the pressure all of the other artists are allowed to observe the work as it’s being done. Because tattooing Dave Navarro isn’t nerve-wracking enough, right?
Planchette tattoo by Jason Clay Dunn as worn by Dave Navarro
Coffin Girl tattoo by Tatu Baby as worn by Dave Navarro
After consideration the judges go with Jason’s, although it was a split decision with Dave and Oliver choosing Jason.
Guest judge Nikko Hurtado comes by to lend his expertise as the artists are tasked with national landmark tattoos. Jason, giddy from having the ability to assign the human canvasses, decides that he wants to test everyone’s skills because he wants guys like Jime and Joey to know the pain of being on the bottom.
And so we get some more reality-TV drama courtesy of Kyle who got saddled with the Roman Colosseum, a work of amazing detail to be done in six hours. Since Jason got a bone from Kyle in the last round, Kyle was hoping for reciprocity, and was not happy when it didn’t show. Still, he turned in some seriously good work in the time he was allotted.
Tops and Bottoms
Some of these tattoos weren’t really good, merely adequate, which is unfortunate not only for the artists, but for the canvasses. ES didn’t deliver an especially good Brooklyn Bridge, and it cost him.
Brooklyn Bridge (L) and tattoo version by ES (R)
It was especially rough for him since there was another photo-realistic bridge tattoo turned in that day, a much more impressive one.
Golden Gate Bridge (L) and tattoo version by Joey Hamilton (R)
Tatu Baby and Josh both dropped the ball tonight, so it isn’t looking good for either of them in the long term. Especially not Tatu Baby who has been all over the place since her return to the competition. Josh, on the other hand, is not a good artist and it is continuing to shine through.