The last season of “Ink Master” felt a bit more like the circus then a tattoo show as the focus was on shocking challenges and drama between the contestants and while we’ve certainly had our fair share of fighting this season (this is called “Ink Master: Rivals” after all) the challenges for the most part have been less shock and more focus. This week however we are taking a trip back to the circus.
Flash challenge: This week the artists are being tested on gradation (the transition from dark to light) and as we mentioned the shock challenges are back in full swing. The artists will be mixing their own inks using one main ingredient: Pig’s blood. They will have the use of carbon and gypsum to help with showing gradation in their blood paintings.
While many of the artists are going straight to canvas with their ideas, Joshua decides to sketch his design out first before going to canvas. Joshua’s idea definitely seemed to help him as we watched a lot of other artists struggle with this challenge like Erik who went way too big and wasn’t able to finish his dragon design.
Emily is having a difficult time with her design and figures since the judges are going to eat her alive for doing a bad job that she will just destroy her own artwork by throwing buckets of pigs blood all over it. We don’t really get the rationale behind this, since sometimes standing strong behind a mediocre piece of artwork can keep you safe.
There were a lot of problems in many of the pieces (no gradation, not finished, splattered with blood and ruined), but the person who stood out to us as a clear winner was Mark Longenecker: His hammerhead shark was fantastic and the judges gave him the win.
Elimination tattoo: To test gradation in the elimination tattoo, the artists will all be creating black and grey tattoos. Not only will the artists be competing against each other, by the will also be going up against Tommy Montoya and their tattoos will be directly compared to Tommy’s tattoo. Everyone will be tattooing the iconic image of Jesus on the cross.
Mark has the skull picks this week and he’s out for blood. He is asking all the right questions to make sure that top dogs get tough canvases (specifically a rib piece for Joshua that he cannot move). Mark said that he hasn’t been able to talk his canvases into moving their tattoos and wants others to feel his pain – shouldn’t he instead be working learning how to move a tattoo if it needs a better placement?
He also gave a tattoo virgin to Cleen and this guy wants everything and the kitchen sink put into his Jesus tattoo; basically a 40 hour tattoo in 6 hours. Cleen tries to tell the canvas the truth about the situation and when he asks for Mark’s input, he tries to get into Cleen’s head a bit, saying that he can do no wrong so he should just tackle it. Cleen on the other hand has found a good compromise with his canvas.
Judging: Tommy’s tattoo was of course of the highest standard that we would expect from him so the bar has been set high, but the judges were pleased with the over all turn out of the black and grey tattoos presented by the artists. Watching Cleen try to pick apart Tommy’s tattoo was priceless and likely didn’t win him any favor with the judges. Joshua’s rib piece turned out so well that Tommy’s only complaint was that his piece wasn’t on his own ribs. Joshua won tattoo of the day in a unanimous vote (not a lot of these being handed out this season) with Emily, Cris, Cleen (voted by the human canvas jury) and Mark being called back downstairs for elimination. So was Emily Elegado eliminated?
After a pretty harsh critique we were surprised to hear that Emily was being sent home. She may have had a rough few weeks, but she has shown us that she can really put out some great tattoos – also she has been pure entertainment gold this season and we are definitely going to miss that. Episode grade: B+
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 (Caroline Evans, Elton “LT” Duarte, Jayvo Scott, Tim Lees, Ryan Eternal, Robbie Ripoll, Ty’Esha Reels and Angel Bauta) and podcasts all about the show (or head here if you want to download our podcasts from iTunes).
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