Ink Master exclusive: Golden Skull Tattoo talks Buddha tattoo, team work

Golden Skull TattooWatching Golden Skull Tattoo leave the Ink Master season 9 competition on Tuesday night was shocking, since we know how good Aaron Is and Cleen Rock One are as tattooers. They’ve proven themselves to be threats on past seasons of the show and when we saw them walk through those doors this time around we were convinced they were a lock for the finale if not the win. Not only are they both amazing tattooers (honestly, who else would’ve rocked out that sad clown riding a rubber chicken tattoo???), but they worked together well on a season where that really mattered. So what happened?

They were called out for tattooing the thumbs of their Buddha on backwards, but since their elimination we have had multiple readers bring us multiple reference pictures of the Buddha they tattooed and the thumbs look to be in the same place Aaron and Cleen put theirs on the tattoo. CarterMatt had a chance to talk to Aaron about this elimination, the controversy surrounding the Buddha thumbs and if there’s a chance we could see Aaron come back for another go around on Ink Master in the future.

CarterMatt: You have obviously seen a lot of fan reaction to your elimination since the episode aired. Based on all of that plus your feelings at the time, do you think you were wrongly eliminated?

Aaron Is: Absolutely

Is this a case of the judges simply not seeing the same reference photos that you both saw?

Aaron Is: I feel like it was more like once you saw it in the wrong way it wasn’t possible to see it the way we did.

How did you feel about the other teams knowing that the thumbs were ‘backwards’ on your tattoo, but not say anything?

Aaron Is: Honestly, it is a competition, I did it. As far as the canvas, I stand by my work and all 3 of us love the tattoo.

When you entered the competition so late, were you both worried that there would be a lot more pressure on you to be perfect every time?

Aaron Is: Sort of, but we also didn’t have to do the tattoos early in the competition. We were ready for it. Honestly, we just didn’t want to look stupid coming in and leaving the same episode.

You both have strong personalities, so how were you able to work together within a team environment?

Aaron Is: Because we’re friends, we’ve been friends since season 5 and we work great together.

Are you both done with Ink Master at this point, or is there still an itch to come back in some capacity?

Aaron Is: I want my own show.

What is the best way for someone to reach out to have a tattoo done by you?

Email me at [email protected]


We want to give a special thanks to Aaron for his time talking with us about Ink Master. We really wanted to see him and Cleen in that finale, but we were happy that we had a chance to see them back at all.

Do you think that Aaron and Cleen were wrongly eliminated? Make sure to leave us your thoughts on losing Golden Skull Tattoo in the CarterMatt comments section below. If you are looking for more scoop on Ink Master season 9 then head on over to the link here where you can check out weekly reviews, previews and other exit interviews with the artists. (Photo: Spike)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!