Ink Master interview: Turk talks elimination, detail challenge

Turk is an artist that we saw going the distance in this competition and even though he didn’t win, he really did show us that he is one heck of a great tattooer! His artistry is unlike anything we’ve seen on the 11 seasons of Ink Master, so when we saw him go home on a detail challenge it really surprised us.

We were excited to have a chance to talk to Turk about his time on the show and see how he felt about his elimination. In our interview with Turk, he not only opened up about his elimination, but also about what the fan response has been from sharing his story about being a father to a child with Autism.

CarterMatt: Why do you think you should’ve stayed in the competition over the other people in the bottom?

Turk: To be quite honest, I believe I met the challenge more than the other two artists, Tim and Amanda. I gave 5 points of reflection and an abundance of detail. Not liking my color choices is just a personal preference and is subjective as art itself. I think Jackson Pollack sucks, but some people think he’s a genius. It’s just arbitrary to judge on personal choices like that. Saying my tattoo has “too many details” when the challenge was “detail” is bananas. Moreover, Amanda’s tattoo has poor hand anatomy (pretty big detail to fudge) a misshapen circle (pretty big detail to fudge) and barely any reflection at all (if any). Tim’s tattoo was lacking reflection. A reflection is the mirrored image of one object interacting with itself through the reflection. So a cat that’s not looking at itself in the reflection doesn’t sell the reflection as part of the scene. Not to mention the perspective plane would suggest that the lion should be somewhat askew to sell the perspective he’s pushing. None of this happened so it’s literally an upside down lion in a waterfall? Also, his green cat was missing a tail (pretty big detail to leave out) and his color choices were as off as they said mine was, so…?

Ultimately, I think mine might not have had the color appeal they wanted, but I overachieved in detail and reflection. Neither Amanda or Tim’s pieces were hand drawn either, and that bugs me as well. You referenced from amazing artists or directly from photographs and you still botched it, but mine is from scratch and I still get sent out? I’ll never understand that.

What sort of response have you gotten from fans about sharing your experience as a father on the show?

I have had such an amazing and overwhelming response from parents that also support a child with Autism. It has really been liberating to finally speak out about it and hopefully bring some more awareness to this cause. Because the spectrum is so wide, some parents suffer for more than others in their fight to engage their children, and I fought as hard as I could for my son and all of my fans’ children as well. I hope my loss didn’t discourage them from the constant support and passionate love and care that is so very necessary for our children’s development.

What tattoo were you the most proud of?

Honestly, I was so happy with all of the tattoos I did and all of the wonderful canvas’ I was lucky enough to have either selected or was given. If I had to choose, I would say that I was the most proud of my freehand tattoo as it really showed how comfortable I am with my on-the-fly tattoo style. So many artists during that challenge specifically had to have references of their drawing on hand and I just went for it. It really let my experience outshine the others and I was most happy with that.

Which challenge did you have the most fun doing and why?

Tattoo challenge or flash challenge?

My favorite flash challenge was the wood burning one where Tony, Tiffer, Cleen and myself had such a clear and concise vision of the design and how to do it that we were actually able to enjoy ourselves while we slaved away in the sun with hot tools, hahaha. We worked so well together on that challenge, that’s why it was my favorite, and we won that challenge as well which was nice.

My favorite tattoo challenge was the detail/reflection challenge, really. Even though it was the one the judges decided to send me home for, I really enjoyed playing with the different levels of interaction and reflection. I’m bummed, of course, that the judges couldn’t get past the color choices of it to really appreciate the multi-faceted design I proposed. I gave a thousand times more than any of the artists in that challenge and I did it all from my head with zero references or iPad trickery. This tattoo was a culmination of all the challenges handed to us thus far: fundamentals, dimension, composition, ingenuity, etc. I’ve been pulling out what’s left of my hair trying to understand the call on what was and still is an amazing tattoo.

We have heard from past contestants that Ink Master is a high stress environment, what was it like for you?

The biggest stress for me was being away from my family. With the time zone difference and taping schedule sometimes I wouldn’t be able to get much time, or any, to call my kids. Having a son with ASD means keeping a certain schedule they are familiar with so they remain comfortable and open. Sometimes that was hard to maintain. Also running my shop from 3,000 miles away wasn’t that easy either. As for the other stuff, tattooing on a time crunch or with people moving around and talking or yelling while I’m tattooing is nothing new to me. In my 21 years in the business, I’ve done over 100 conventions. I’ve tattooed on zero sleep. I’ve tattooed on folding chairs in barely lit booths at conventions in small towns or foreign countries. I’ve dealt with almost every type of insane tattoo ego out there. I’m not shook by these circumstances, I’m only concerned with the outcome. I know how to measure what I can and can’t do in X-amount of time. I never said or did anything that I wouldn’t say or do at my home shop. I wasn’t speaking under duress or anything, in fact, I was quite comfortable. I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t say that it’s pretty stressful having your work picked apart over subjective and what seems a bit arbitrary critique guidelines, but that’s to be expected and what I signed up for. As a musician, it’s really hard to not have music playing while I work, as well. That was a bit maddening. Hahaha.

Would you come back and do another season of Ink Master?

Absolutely. I would love to give it another shot and really bring home a win for my family and donate all the money to Autism causes to benefit all families that support a child with Autism or any other cognitive learning disabilities. Not to mention a bit of personal redemption. #bringbackturk


Were you upset to see Turk go and would you like to see him back on another season of Ink Master? Leave us your thoughts in the comment box below.

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