Tonight’s episode of “Ink Master” is now down to a dozen tattoo artists who are competing for an editorial feature in Inked magazine, the monetary prize of $100,000 and the most enviable of prizes; title of “Ink Master.” Last week, Roland Pacheco was eliminated from the competition, while a few others are teetering on the edge of elimination.
As the episode begins, Lydia and Scott returned to the loft, and as the banter began, it was evident that Scott is not currying favor among his competitors. Jim even asked him when he was joining the judges' panel?
For the Flash Challenge, the theme for the week is Contrast, the balance of light and dark in a tattoo. The sponsor of the challenge tattoo is Corona, who wants everyone to find their personal beach. The artists were brought to a rooftop swimming pool in New York and told that the winner would receive a trip for two to Mexico and choose the canvases for the Elimination Challenge. They were brought inside and given canvases chosen at random where they would tattoo the person’s own personal beach.
Keith had problems with his machine from the start; King Ruck was to do a stack of books, but had a problem putting contrast on that tattoo. Scott knows that he is the front-runner in the contest and plans on riding it to the end. When time was called, the judging began. Lydia made a lighthouse for a guy who works on the water and going home represents a lighthouse. Oliver said that her contrast could have been better. Keith did a quill pen in an inkwell; with low contrast, it was very nice. Melissa did a barbell where the lines were perfect, but it lacked contrast. King Ruck’s stack of books was difficult to depict, had he put an open book on the stack; it would have been so much easier to discern. Halo’s parrot was beautifully done, and it had necessary contrast. Jay’s landscape lacked definition, and the sky was unfinished. Bubba made a guitar, but with overly dark tones, it lacked enough contrast. Jim did swords on each hand of his canvas and did a good job. Sausage did a great egg beater and two eggs on a woman’s back; the shadow was a bit dark for Oliver’s liking, but it was beautifully done. Matti did a deer head with lots of contrast and character. Scott’s castle overlooking the ocean was nicely done, and lauded by Chris. Kyle made ice skates and helmet on the ice, but the ice was too dark to tell and did not make the items stand out. The winner was Matti who won the trip to Mexico and chooses the skulls for the Elimination Challenge.
Back in the loft, the bitching started immediately. Bubba was mad because he felt he did a great job. Scott knows that it is just a matter of time before Bubba goes home and told him that the judges wanted the light-gray tone against the darker, and that is what contrast is all about. He told him to take his beating and move on with it, they would hit him hard because he is young and new in the game. Melissa then called Scott, Mr. Big Dick Swinging.
At the Elimination Challenge, Dave reminded them they would be judged by himself, Oliver Peck, Chris Nunez, America, the human canvas jury and special guest judge and owner of Tattoo Faction in Cleveland, Ohio, Greg Christian. Today the artists must tattoo a neo-traditional lady or gentleman. These tattoos must contain the aristocratic accessories that make them neo-traditional, like top hats, monocles, pipes, pearls and fancy accessories. The twist in this challenge; the canvases want both a lady and a gentleman, so the artists will be working in pairs on the same canvas at the same time. So it will be up to the team to work together and make tattoos that are compatible. Matti was able to choose the canvases and the teams to work together. He wanted to keep the bottoms together and the tops together. Each artist will be judged separately, but the tattoos should work well together. The teams were: Sausage & Melissa, Jim & Bubba, King Ruck & Keith, Scott & Matti, Halo & Kyle and Lydia & Gentle Jay. With the rest of the night to confer with their canvas, the teams will have six hours the next day to complete their tattoos.
As the canvases met with the artists, King Ruck and Keith’s canvas was very demanding and would not bend at all. He did not like their suggestions and King Ruck truly wanted to punch him in the face. Lydia and Gentle Jay had the worst choice, as they had to both do a person’s back and continuously be in each other’s space. When King Ruck and Keith’s canvas started to complain that he was going to pass out, they called for the medic on staff. Scott believed that the pair were shredding the heck out of the guy, and he felt that one or both were going home today. When the canvas returned, the moment they started working on him, he started shaking uncontrollably. Keith tried to help him, but he passed out as the medic came running. With one hour left of the competition, and King Ruck and Keith out of the competition, Keith resorted to the loft to lick his wounds. Gentle Jay suggested to King Ruck to tattoo himself, which he did. He made a traditional rose on his thigh with contrast to show the judges he had what it took to remain in the competition. In the loft, he fellow artists gave Keith grief because King Ruck tattooed himself, and he did nothing. He stated he had no room to tattoo himself and asked where he was supposed to tattoo himself; on his penis? However, Gentle Jay stated he tattooed himself there and wondered if Keith came there to show the competitors that he was weird; if so point proven. When Kyle told Keith that he was going home, he had only two words for him.
At the Tattoo Critique, Dave reiterated that their challenge was to make a neo-traditional lady or gentleman that popped. Matti & Scott were up first, both Matti & Scott were given rave reviews by the judges. Jim & Bubba did a grandmother and grandfather; Jim's woman had one distinct eyebrow, but the other was incongruous, while Bubba made a non-Asian grandfather to appear Asian, and both eyes were different in size. Melissa & Sausage did a great job, and both tattoos looked like they could have been drawn by the same artist. Melissa’s skin tone was not done well, but the judges stated that she did an awesome job trying to compete with her partner on his level. Lydia & Gentle Jay did both sides of a back, but the line they chose as the center point was almost visible. Jay did a very good job on the man’s jacket, but Lydia’s lacked enough contrast to make it realistic. There was also a flower in the center of the tattoos with purple background that was hideous. Kyle & Halo did skin colors on their tattoos that were muted and did not match the skin color of the client. Chris told them that the palette did not choose the color, the client’s skin is what determines that tone. Kyle’s was not appreciated by the judges for the disproportion of the woman’s body. Halo’s lacked the necessary contrast in the most important parts of the man’s face. King Ruck & Keith had the problem canvas from the start of the challenge. The outline that King Ruck turned in was not done well, but the canvas would not sit still; he showed the judges his self-tattoo, which was small, but contained the necessary contrast to keep him in the game. Keith’s outlines were not well done as his black was too solid.
Before they went back to the loft, the three best tattoos belonged to Matti, Scott and Sausage. The best determined as the one done by Sausage, who would choose one artist to put up for elimination. When they went to the loft, Keith was ranting about how he would have won the competition if the canvas cooperated. Halo just listened to him whine.
Oliver returned to the loft and asked Sausage who he put up for elimination; his answer was Keith. So downstairs went Sausage, followed by Keith, Bubba and King Ruck. Dave told Keith he was chosen by Sausage and the human canvas jury as having the worst tattoo. King Ruck also had a bad tattoo, but redeemed himself by tattooing himself. Bubba was also there because the human canvas jury voted his as one of the worst tattoos. Dave then told Keith he did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.” As Keith was packing his machines to leave, Dave told them not to relax, because Keith was not the only one to leave. Then Dave told Bubba he did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.” Now there are eleven left and next week, two more artists will be leaving.