Ink Master interview: K Lenore Siner on elimination, working with Team East

K Lenore Siner had quite the memorable run on Ink Master season 13. In the early going, it felt like her team in the East was on the cusp of getting decimated. Their first team member quit, and soon after there was another elimination. From there, though, the tide started to turn and we saw them withstand a number a number of obstacles. K, alongside Jimmy and Jessa, managed to battle on while a number of other teams got chipped away. They built a good alliance with the midwest and did great work — but, in the end, K was eliminated on this past episode.

Below, the tattoo artist tells us about her time in the competition, her elimination, and overcoming having less experience in the field than some of her competitors.

Jessica Carter – How are you feeling about your elimination after the fact?

K Lenore Siner – I mean, I don’t think anyone wants to go home. That being said, I felt like my elimination was entirely fair. I gave it everything I had and I am happy with making it several episodes into the season competing with artists who have many times more experience then I do.

What did you learn from being a part of the show?

Wow, I learned so much. First of all, I feel like it made me a stronger person. Having to get up day after day and compete under such stress is a real crucible, it showed me how much I can do if I push myself and refuse to give up. It certainly made me a better artists as well. The combination of hard critiques and working next to so many excellent artists accelerated my technical skills.

I also learned about my strengths as an artist. Ink Master focuses on technical skills exclusively but there are multiple aspects to what makes someone a great tattooer. Where I excel is in my ability to relate to my clientele, to hold space for them during the process and to make work that translates their ideas and intentions into images. I learned that this is a special part of the work that I do and to not take it for granted.

You had a great team with Jessa and Jimmy. What did you like about working with them?

I loved being part of Team East! We were able to share and combine ideas for whatever challenge we tackled in a way that created new and exciting work that highlighted all of our strengths. Not only did we create work together that I was proud of, we had a lot of fun doing it. Jimmy and Jessa continuously reminded me to laugh and shake off the stress of competition and enjoy the process. We were valuable sounding boards for each other, giving advice whenever any of us had a question or concern. Jessa and Jimmy are both just good, solid people as well as great tattooers and I’m proud I got to work with them on Ink Master.

What tattoo were you the most proud of this season?

I was really proud of the patriotic tattoo that I did on the first episode. It felt good to be able to make a piece that stepped out of the cookie cutter ideas of patriotism and expressed the spirit or revolution and drive for equality that is the heart of what I value about this country. Making tattoos that express and explore identity, individualism and personal values is important to me and my canvas was really happy that they had a patriotic tattoo that they personally connected with, which in turn makes me happy with the tattoo.

Is there any part of your art that you wish you had a chance to show off?

Yes! So many things! I would have loved the opportunity to do ornamental work, to do a tattoo coverup or to do a scar coverup. Or to show my process for working with clients to create a tattoo that holds a specific meaning or intention. Or to show how I work with my clients if they are having a difficult time sitting through the tattoo, or when they are processing emotions that can come up while being tattooed.

Were you rooting for K to do well on Ink Master season 13?

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This interview was conducted by Jessica Carter.

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