‘Ink Master’ exit interview: Randy Vollink talks uphill battle, judges, and elimination

When we first saw Randy Vollink during the “Ink Master” season 4 premiere we were pretty excited about him, especially when we saw his first tattoo of the clipper ship that gave the look and feel of a painting in tattoo form, but the judges didn’t feel the same way and we lost Randy fairly early on in the game.

We had a chance to speak with Randy via email about his time on the show, his uphill battle with the judges and his word exchange with Chris Nunez after elimination.

CarterMatt – Being on Ink Master looks like a fairly intense experience (especially this season), what was it like for you?

Randy Vollink – It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I never thought it would be that hard but putting yourself out there to be judged not only by the three panelist, but all of America was incredibly difficult.

Who do you feel was your strongest competition out of the other artists?

I think all of them, besides a couple, were great artist so I really can’t answer that.

The judges seemed a little hard on you right from the start, even though your tattoo of the ship and the tarantula were great. Was it hard to bounce back from their critiques when you knew you did a good job?

It was obvious from the start this was going to an uphill battle. When all of the other contestants thought there was no way I should be in the bottom and then I was it was heart breaking and shocking to say the least. I don’t think I handled it well and I certainly let it bother me too much. But I think as artists we are emotional by nature.

Were you surprised to go home last night over Bubba and Roland and did you think that you should have stayed over one of them?

To me, the judging was very inconsistent. Sometimes they talked about your “report card” and sometimes they based it on the piece you did during the challenge. Based on the report card I shouldn’t have gone home and based on the pieces, while I don’t think it was all that bad, I shouldn’t have gone home.

During the judging last night you talked about your sexuality and how difficult it has been for you in the industry, and the judges felt that it didn’t play a part in the critique of the tattoo. Is this how it played out or was there editing involved?

Most of what they showed was me replying to the judges after I was kicked off.  They would never let me finish anything I had to say.

You were pretty hard on Chris Nunez when you left the competition, why specifically him over Oliver Peck or Dave Navarro?

It was partially based on an earlier conversation I had earlier Nunez. Then during my actual exit from the Elimination Challenge I thought he got too personal instead of keeping the critique to the tattoo itself.


We want to thank Randy for taking the time to talk with us about his experiences on “Ink Master”. He was a lot of fun to watch and brought us some of our favorite tattoos of the season.

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