Last night’s 2-hour live episode of “Ink Master” from NYC's Manhattan Center was titled “The Epic Finale,” with Dave Navarro the host and judge with the two seasoned judges, Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez. As the artists are vying for the $100,000 prize and the most prestigious title of “Ink Master” as the field narrowed down to just three; Jime Litwalk, Tatu Baby and Joey Hamilton.
With thirteen tattoo artists already sent packing, the remaining three artists are: Jime Litwalk, Joey Hamilton and Tatu Baby. The live season finale saw the two top vote-getters competing against each other, with the winner of the best tattoo competing for a return trip to season four of the next "Ink Master." The two winners of the voting were Kyle Dunbar and Chris May, who tattooed head-to-head live.
Ten of the other eleven artists were introduced in the order of their elimination for the live audience to see once again: Frank McManus, Mystical Mike, Maddie La Belle, Ally Lee, Made Rich, ES, Craig Foster, Jackie Jennings, Jason Clay Dunn and Joshua Hibbard. The three finalists were then announced; Jime Litwalk, Tatu Baby, and Joey Hamilton.
Tatu Baby was featured first after winning the chance to return after her elimination on season two. She had her share of ups and downs on her return visit, and emotions played a huge part in her bumpy road to the finale. Her best tattoos were featured; the awesome portrait of a man, a skull with a rose on top and check here for more of her amazing tattoos. Dave asked how she felt about being in the final three? She nearly quit the competition and thanked all her supporters. Joshua was not all that excited about her appearance in the final three, but she put him in his place when she told him that regardless of the bumpy road she had, she was there, and he was not. She told him that had he paid as much attention to his own tattoos instead of hers, he might have been in the final three.
Joey was the next artist featured, a photo realism expert; his tattoos were awesome animals, skulls, his Golden Gate Bridge was magnificent, Catwoman in the comic challenge was spot on. Joey set his sights on winning the title and never looked back. Joey mentioned that he caught an error in Baby’s sketch, but she stated that she would have caught it herself and did not need his help. He told her that he expected her to be eliminated first. As for Jime, they worked together at different shops and knows that Jime has an amazing style and always did. Joey feels that he has more qualifications to be "Ink Master" because he is a more versatile artist and can do all kinds of tattooing. To see more of Joey’s work check here.
The last finalist was Jime Litwalk. Jime is most famous for his new-school style. With twenty years experience; he has his sights set on taking home the title. Mark Matthews and Ron Givens from last season are avid fans, and one canvas said she was waiting fifteen years to be tattooed by him. His day of the dead girl with a gun was incredible, and his new-school cartoonish tattoos were a force to be reckoned with. For more of his work look here. When Jime said that he was versatile enough to be in the finals, Jason felt he had to add his two cents. He called Jime his little princess, but Jime defended himself as having a recognizable style; unlike Jason’s recognizable style of doing bad tattoos! Touché! Dave enjoyed the banter from the group, but time did not allow it to continue.
America voted for the winner of the live face-off between Kyle Dunbar and Chris May. Dave announced the winner who will return for season four of "Ink Master" and the winner was Kyle, who received 79% of the 360,000 votes.
Each of the three finalists had 35-hours to complete a tattoo for their last challenge. They each endured five 7-hour sessions to complete their challenge over a period of several months. Jime’s tattoo was a battle royale with an eagle, a dragon and a snake battling it out in a fight to the death. Joey’s was a realistic underwater scene with a mermaid. Baby presented her creation as a sexy woman with an Indian headdress and a wolf bearing his teeth and his long tongue hanging out.
When Baby’s canvas was finished having the wolf put on his back, he decided that he did not want this random woman to be on his back for the rest of his life and dropped out of the competition. Knowing it was a lot of money on the line for her, he felt there was nothing in it for him. Baby received a call from Dave advising her that the canvas dropped out, and they were sending her a new master canvas, and she would have to start from scratch. Baby met her new master canvas and immediately got to work.
At the finale, Tatu Baby’s master canvas appeared with the awesome entire back tattoo of the woman and the wolf. Oliver stated that is was a great tattoo to see from her. He stated that although it was a beautiful tattoo, they were there to critique. With $100,000 on the line, they had to be tough. First he asked where the wolf’s body was, as it showed a line of grass, but nothing that would be on the ground. Under the tattoo was a tomahawk, which he said looked like an afterthought. The detailing was intense, but the feathers lacked detail. Chris said that she placed the tattoo in the wrong place on his back and when he moved his arms in other positions, the tattoo took on different dimensions. Baby stated that the original stencil was designed for her first canvas, but Chris told her it did not matter because her placement would have been incorrect on either person.
Joey’s master canvas had a large tattoo from the top of her thigh to her mid-calf. Oliver stated that from a distance, it was muted and nothing stood out. It lacked contrast and enough black, and the mermaid’s face had little expression. Chris said that he agreed with Oliver about the contrast, and the colors were too close together in shading, more black outlining would have been his redemption on this tattoo.
Jime’s canvas revealed his entire chest and upper arms that contained Jime’s traditional style of tattooing. Oliver stated that he nailed it in the design, but the weak point of the battle is … there is no battle. There is no interaction between the three characters in the tattoo, they are all just chilling next to each other. Much of his outline is lacking, and his colors did not heal out smoothly leaving lots of weak areas. Chris told Jime that he “over-thunk” the background of this tattoo and much was unnecessary. The center of the tattoo contained a skull, but Chris said it looked like someone else did the skull, and he did not stay true to his trademark. The eagle’s wings did not fit the body of the person properly either.
When the judges conferred, it was decided that Tatu Baby did not have what it takes to be "Ink Master," but she had her share of troubles, she should be proud of her work and her reputation. She then joined the rest of the eliminated tattooers.
Now with the final two, Dave asked Kyle, who won America’s vote what he had to say. He told the judges what a hard job they had because looking at the three tattoos, he could not find anything that immediately jumped out at him. He said he loved Tatu Baby’s tattoo, but on Joey’s the mermaid’s neck seemed a little off and Jime’s tattoo seemed to be flat to some extent.
The final thoughts on Jime’s tattoo from Oliver; it was a big bad ass tattoo. He competed well and he questioned if it was the best tattoo he ever did; however, overall it was bad to the bone. Chris said that he was glad he was in the competition and made it this far. He is a recognized name in the industry, and his fans will always be happy with his work.
Oliver said that Joey’s tattoo showed versatility and throughout this competition, he was solid. He just wished that there was more black and the girl who is wearing this tattoo can be proud that this is the best tattoo he has ever done. Chris said that Joey was never at the bottom, and he had a great outing and he was happy for him.
Finally, the winner was announced as Joey Hamilton and the live studio audience as well as the rest of the tattooers were thrilled for his accomplishment. Congratulations, Joey, you are the season three "Ink Master."
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