Sometimes with Ink Master, it can be hard to really gauge how the judges make their decision. It’s almost as though they come up with a series of mathematical points on a scale judging a number of different qualities. How good is the design on a scale from 1-10? How well was it applied? How much did it meet the challenge? Maybe they add those up in their head and go from there.
Even if they do that, there’s clearly one question that seems to matter more than the rest: Does the tattoo have skin trauma? This is the fate that Justin Nordine found himself facing on Ink Master season 12 episode 4 Tuesday night. He got a tattoo that forced him to do work on the shin, which isn’t the easiest spot to work from because you’re so close to the bone and the skin itself is so thin. A few sharp points and there’s could be some blowback that goes with it. You can easily argue that his baboon met the challenge and was well-applied.
So where does the problem come? Skin trauma. There was apparently some in Justin’s tattoo (we honestly couldn’t see any and we’ve seen some skin trauma on this show that is really obvious) and that was enough for two out of the three judges to want him gone. The debate as to whether or not this was the right move comes via this — earlier on in the episode, the judges preached about color saturation and making sure all of the color was punched in. You could argue that both Ashley and Ash’s tattoos, which were also in the bottom, were more washed-out or had more color-related issues. The judges just decided that the trauma on Justin’s was enough to make it worse.
Were any of these tattoos really the worst of the day? We would throw Cam’s out there. At least with all three of these tattoos, it was clear what the animal was supposed to be. We know that Cam’s was a panther … but it didn’t have any of the sleekness we would expect. It almost felt like some sort of panther/wolf hybrid in the middle bit of an identity crisis, even if he is a talented artist who has proven himself. (Sometimes, judges do tend to help you out if you’re showing a good body of work.)
Speaking of weird choices, why was Chris Nunez dressed like a leopard-print throw pillow from the nineties?
The moral of Ink Master season 12 episode 4
Skull picks are a big deal. Flash Challenges are a huge deal. It’s not a hot take to say that, but sometimes artists think that they can just overcome any obstacle. It’s hard when you’re handed something like a shin tattoo. A weird design idea can be talked down and sometimes, a placement can be changed. When it’s not, though, that’s murder. This is what did Justin in. The guys actually did a decent job in their Flash Challenge, but the women (with the help of DJ Tambe) created a much more striking overall image. It’s hard to fault the judges’ choice.
Four episodes into this season and the women are dominating in terms of the eliminations; not only that, but the only woman who left did so on her own accord. Can they keep that streak going? It’s been a crazy season, especially since the guys have done really well in Tattoo of the Day (Creepy Jason won this time with an awesome moose tattoo).
In the end, we are still confused about how on a theme about color and contrast (which Justin hit perfectly), the judges seemed to side more on what they saw as skin trauma as the deciding factor.
For more Ink Master news…
Be sure to visit the link here right now! Meanwhile, share in the comments what you think about season 12 episode 4 as a whole. Did the right person go home in your mind? (Photo: Paramount Network.)
This review was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.