By Victor Farinelli So... I was sitting with remote control in hand, watching reruns of Cops, surfing the Internet, and thinking about how depressed I have been ever since Ink Master Season 2 ended. There has been nothing to fill my gawking freak show void left by Ink Master, since it ended. I tried watching Black Ink Crew, but it just didn’t catch my attention. It reminded me too much of all the scratcher shops in Austin. There was no real point behind it either...
I like competition. So as I was about to take razor blade in hand and go all emo on myself, I see this curious picture on my Facebook feed. It contained tattooed ladies with asses akimbo and makeup layered to perfection, tattooed dudes posed to look like something out of Jersey Shore, and a rock star from a band that makes a living at conducting martial art demonstrations while playing instruments and whining about life. So I say to myself, “Self? What is this gratuitous display of pomp and circumstance you’re seeing on your computer screen? You must investigate this curiosity like a dog sniffing a tree!”
Lo and behold: there is another tattoo show on the idiot box pitting one tattoo artist against the other in a game of skill and treachery. This wonderful example of the ‘Merican way of life is called Best Ink.
How did I miss this last year!? Was I playing too much D&D? Was I so consumed with keeping my 10th level lawful/good half-elven ranger/cleric from losing his head that I missed this splendid display of pageantry and wonder? You see my character's name is Antioch the Just. He was on this campaign with a thief named Gord and... well... nevermind. Anyway, I am so excited that I choked on my twelve-sided die. (Sucking fetish, if you must know.)
I am going to bring you the best and the worst of Best Ink: Season Two. I know what you’re saying to yourself. “But, Victor; why torture us with your addiction to all things grandiose and exhibitionary?” I don’t know? Why not? It might be a grand adventure. So bust out the popcorn and root beer (or something stronger if that is your thing) and join me every week as I watch this quest for the Holy Grail that is Best Ink.
Joe owns Hope Gallery Tattoo in New Haven, Connecticut. He specializes in everything new school. Meh.
Sabina is an “international pinup model and tattoo removal shop owner.” Aren’t all tattoo/pin-up models internationally known? I mean, come on, the Internet is everywhere. All you have to do is get a hit from an IP address in Istanbul and you can call yourself internationally known. Hell, I am internationally known. But, I don’t have time to go into my anime cosplay experiments that went horribly wrong. Quite... horribly... wrong.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about her?
Jerod is a self-taught tattoo artist from Missouri. Jerod calls himself a preppy. You know, the preps in school used to beat me up on a regular basis, so I am not even going to go any further with Biff McSoc, just on principle.
Jordan “Dollarz” Ginsberg:
Tattooing out of Florida, Jordan became inspired to become a tattooist when he got his first tattoo. He was nicknamed “Dollarz” because of his strong work ethic. When he isn’t “busy using his tattoos to pick up the ladies” (el motherfuckin’ oh el) he is working on his hip-hop career in his group Nyte Lyfe Gang. “Nyte” and “Lyfe” are sorta like “kvlt”: it makes it extra hardcore and legit... or something. He has been tattooing for three years and is eager to showcase his skills.
Another tattoo artist who has been tattooing for three years, Schwarz is described as a sensitive guy, prone to crying for his art. He has been honored at tattoo conventions. Well, there are so many conventions out there, you are bound to get an award sometime, if you go to enough of them. He used to be an Abercrombie & Finch model. Now he thinks he can stand out among the other contestants by using his good looks... and choady facial hair.
Carolyn hailz from Tampa. Cadaver? Seriously? Ok, Vampira; I bet that Tampa sun really messes with your moon tan.
High-school dropout, Baker, started apprenticing at 18 years old, when she didn’t even have any tattoos. Baker enjoys competing and connecting with her clients. She now has eighteen years of experience. Her bio says that she is one of the top tattooists in Kansas City. Is that the Kansas side or the Missouri side?
Brittany tattoos out of San Antonio, Texas. She spends all her time tattooing, designing clothes and sewing. You would not know it from the picture, but she spends a lot of her time making her own heavy metal treasures: vest and jackets full of metal patches, studs and spikes. Seriously Brittany, they made you take that picture right? You look stunning in that picture and all, but the pants have got to go.
Ralph grew up in a funeral home but Giordano did not feel the family business was for him, so his family helped him go to art school. He has been working in the “tattoo industry” for four years. Hmmmm, “Tattoo Industry.” Let’s bust out the assembly line.
Melvin had a hard life, but he overcame the struggles and strife and ended up attending Auburn University, where he landed his first apprenticeship. He feels he is the best artist in the shop he works at: City of Ink, in Atlanta. I wonder what the other tattooists think about that? Todd’s dream is to buy his mother a home one day. You have to admire that.
Teresa is from a small town in Indiana. She road tripped and worked at various shops around the country last winter. In addition to her four years at tattooing, Sharpe says she is “a true artist who also paints, draws, and sculpts.” Oh, so tattooing is not a true art? Make up your mind folks: is it an art or not, for fuck’s sake.
DJ is one of the artists in this competition that has been tattooing the longest: 15 years. He began as a graffiti artist. He comes from a large Italian family. He has a strong “tattoo ethic” and is not afraid to tell people how he really feels. Being a goombah myself, I understand where he is coming from. My old man, may he rest in peace, was the same way. But he used a lot of colorful words in the process of being critical: “Whattaya? A fuckin’ moron?” and “Get da fuck outta ‘ere ‘n’ go play in da middle of da street.”
Rubright is said to be the dude that many UFC fighters go to. Well... said by himself. Rubright also “believes tattoos should be earned.” You know, I got stopped by a cop in Paducah, Texas, and he asked me if I had earned all my tattoos as he was handcuffing me and putting me in his car for no particular reason other than his redneck tendency to profile tattooed folks. What he was really asking me is if I was a convict. So no, I do not think tattoos should be “earned.” Moral of this story, do not get stopped in Paducah for speeding, if you have tattoos.
Kelly is originally from a farm in West Virginia. My grandmother was from West Virginia. She was from the hills. She was awesome. She was also spooky sometimes. She would say some creepy voodoo shit sometimes and freak me out. I wonder if Kelly is going to hex the other contestants... or me, for being such an asshole. Maybe I should be nicer to her. Anyway, Kelly has wanted to be a tattooist since the 9th grade. Her four siblings also tattoo. She just opened a new studio in Oak Hills called Cloak & Dagger. She has been tattooing for four years.
So, there you are. This season's contestants. They do not show even one of the tattoos that these cats have done on the Best Ink website. The only contestants whose tattoos I have seen are Brittany’s so I can’t say one way or the other who is going to come out on top. Whatever. This will give me something to do until Ink Master Season 3 comes on.
Best Ink Season 2 premieres tonight at 10pm (EST)/9pm (CST) on the Oxygen Network.
Victor is a blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine and can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/victhortheviking.
Read more from Victor here: http://tattooartistmagazineblog.com/?s=Victor+Farinelli
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