‘Ink Master: Rivals’ season 5, episode 8 review: Did Julia Carlson tattoo herself?

Ink MasterWe are rounding into the halfway point of “Ink Master: Rivals” and this has easily been our favorite season of the show. There is the normal drama that happens on every reality show, but the masterminds behind this season brought us back to what we love about this series: Great tattoos, on point judging and big personalities.

Flash tattoo: Scrimshaw is the name of the game and if you don’t know what that is we’ll help: It’s carving designs into bone (in this case a very particular “private”  bone from a walrus) and then adding ink to make the design come to life. There were a lot of nautical themes that came out of this challenge since scrimshaw is something that goes hand in hand with sailors, but what the judges were looking for was how well they can implement “detail” into their work. Unfortunately a few artists (like Joshua) went too big and dropped the ball and there were other artists like Angel (who haven’t always been at the top) that really came out to play today. We saw Aaron run off with the win this week and he has the skull picks.

Elimination tattoo: We have a special guest judge this week, who’s known though out the tattoo industry as one of the top dogs in bio-mechanical art: Aaron Cain. With Aaron in the house, we weren’t surprised to learn that the theme this week is bio-mechanical, and it makes sense since the artists are being tested on details. Julia admitted earlier in this competition that she’s only done one or two pieces in her career, so we are instantly worried about her.

Aaron was ruthless with handing out the skulls, wanting to knock some of the better artists down. When we saw that one of the canvases wanted their head done, we thought that Joshua was going to get that one – definitely the hardest and something that Joshua has said time and time again on this show that he doesn’t do: Heads or faces. For some reason Aaron gave Joshua a rib piece (which he promptly moved as usual) and Aaron took the head piece for himself!

Julia gets a canvas that only wants mechanical and not bio-mechanical and they just cannot meet at the half way point. While the canvas is definitely difficult, we were surprised at how Julia reacted to him. There is a way to sell a client on a design and then there’s a way to completely turn that person off of you and telling your client to go f*** yourself is the way to do that. Cleen tells Dave that he wouldn’t have bounced the client for not wanting to get the bio-mechanical tattoo, but if the challenge is bio-mech and you don’t deliver a bio-mech tattoo then you know the judges are going to come down on you for it. Now that Julia is without a canvas, she decides the best way to deal with the situation is to tattoo herself.

Judging: Although Julia hasn’t done a lot of bio-mech, it turns out that the judges like what she tattooed, however they weren’t thrilled to hear about what happened in her consultation with her canvas. Oliver tells her that not only was he disgusted with the way she treated her client, but that all of the judges had watched back the footage from her time with her canvas and say that she was in the wrong.

Cleen Rock One won best tattoo of the day and Don, Angel, Eric (voted by the human canvas jury) and, Julia are called down for elimination. Did Julia do the worst tattoo of the day? No she didn’t, but because of the way she spoke to the client she was in the bottom. In the end we lost our Angel and  are completely bummed that we aren’t going to see him and his badass Drogo beard on the show anymore.

This is a detail challenge and not a social skills challenge, so we actually don’t agree with Julia being brought into the bottom – and if we are being completely honest here, if Julia is going to be in the bottom for telling a client to go f*** themselves, then Emily should’ve been in the bottom for trying to screw over a client with a design she knew was wrong in an effort to put one over on Angel. Episode grade: C+

If you are looking for more news on “Ink Master: Rivals” then head over to the link here where you can check out previews, reviews, interviews with eliminated artists (our latest ones are with Caroline Evans, Elton “LT” Duarte, Jayvo Scott, Tim Lees, Ryan Eternal and Robbie Ripoll) and podcasts all about the show (or head here if you want to download our podcasts from iTunes).

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