‘Ink Master’ exclusive: Cleen Rock One on finale finish, tattoo styles, and more

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Cleen Rock One was a heck of a competitor on “Ink Master” through two separate seasons and someone that we have really enjoyed watching. He has the highest average finish of any artist in the show’s history, but unfortunately, he fell short both times in the finale. This time around, the judges decided to go with Anthony Michaels over him, despite his fellow peers this season putting him into the final two.

We had a chance to speak with Cleen via email this week about having such a strong performance, being a veteran artist versus a newcomer to the competition, and whether or not he was surprised by the final outcome.

CarterMatt – Congratulations on being in the Ink Master finale twice! How did it feel to have a jury of your peers vote for you to be in the final two?

Cleen Rock One – It sucked having them judge me because most of them think it should been them instead of me. If the style isn’t something they like, it’s easy to judge against.

Do you feel that the win should’ve gone to you this season and were you surprised that it didn’t?

I’m not surprised at all. I picked Anthony over me before I even started my chest and sleeve. I’m just an old tattooer that does what I’ve been doing for years. I’m not trying to push the limits on art or do what’s trendy in tattooing. I do what I feel is fun and artistically appealing.

You have been in the “Ink Master” finale twice – Which finale tattoo did you find to be more challenging: The 35 hour back tattoo or the two 24 hour tattoos?

Neither of the tattoos were hard to do, I just made it seem like I sucked at the styles. I just show up and do tattoos. Some days artistically you’re in the mood and some days artistically you’re not. Do I like the chest and back? Not really. Am I proud of them? Yeah sure. The sleeve is one of the worst critiques I’ve gotten on Ink Master and it just shows that not everyone likes your style.

We have seen you as a newbie and a veteran to “Ink Master”: Was it easier coming in as a veteran or a newbie?

It’s way harder as a vet. The new guys hated you right off the bat.

How has your life changed since being on the show?

I’m a house hold name. People take pics and give me props. They also make me feel like s–t on a daily basis about how I lost to Jason Clay Dunn. It hurts now, people say I suck even more because I lost to a 5 year tattooer and to 2 tattoos that weren’t done.

We want to thank Cleen Rock One for chatting with us about his experience on Ink Master. It’s been a lot of fun to watch him on the show and hope to see him come back again in the future. If you want to book a tattoo with Cleen, you can shoot an email over to [email protected]

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