The artists on “Ink Master” season 6 are bringing their “A” game and with so many great tattooers in the competition this year it’s really anybody’s game to win. As with all of you, we have our picks to win and who we think will make it to the final 4 or 5 (and you can find out who that is by checking out our episode 1 “Ink Master” podcast), but now that we are past that first week in the game we know that everyone is going to be feeling the stress of the competition.
Elimination tattoo: There is no flash challenge again this week and instead we have another challenge where the masters go up against their apprentices, tattooing the same subject matter where one will be the winner and one will be the loser. Because MV’s apprentice went home last week, he got to choose two artists to go up against, and he chose Matt and Katie. This was a really interesting choice since this week’s subject mater was American Traditional (and legibility) and Matt and Katie are experts in this area. We also had a special guest judge this week in Richard Stell who was Oliver Peck’s mentor!
The artists that won last weeks head to head had an advantage in that they got to choose the canvas they wanted out of the two offered to each pair (MV got an open canvas to go up against Matt and Katie). The winners were: Matt, Craig, Chris, Erik, Kruseman, St. Marq, Big Ceeze and Dave. The artists in the bottom were: Katie, MV, Miami, Tyler, Marisa, Duffy, Ryan, Kito and Earl. We had a really interesting moment when Earl was getting chewed out by the judges (as often happens on this show) and Dave stood up for him, telling them to stop beating a dead horse… the moment was made even more intriguing when later Earl told Dave that he didn’t need him to stand up for him.
Judging: The human canvas jury will pick one person to be in the bottom as usual, but this week we also have a jury of peers as the winners of the first challenge will pick two artists to go into the bottom. These three will then ink traditional tattoos and be eliminated based on that work. The human canvas jury chose Kito’s rose and raven as their bottom pick and the peer jury chose Ryan’s skull and dagger and Earl’s snake with no teeth.
The elimination tattoo was an eagle designed by Stell, which is intimidating on it’s own without this being a tattoo that could send someone home. All three eagles were really great and Stell loved Earl’s work (and so did we). During Ryan’s critique he started to blame St. Marq for him being in the bottom, saying that if he hadn’t been hanging over his shoulder telling him what to do he would’ve won. Ryan ended up going home even though his eagle was pretty solid, but these were all great tattoos, so it was difficult to see anyone go home.
This episode had some really dynamic elements to it that made this one of our favorites in recent years. Watching Dave go to bat for Earl, only for Earl to turn around and tell him off was something we had never seen before. It was also interesting to see Ryan think that St. Marq was sabotaging him in the elimination tattoo, where as St. Marq felt that he was helping and wanted him to stay. We tend to lean towards St. Marq wanting his apprentice to stay since Ryan going home isn’t a good look for either of them. Episode grade: A
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