I don’t watch the reality television show “Ink Master”. I have tried to watch a few episodes but it’s just not my thing, I don’t hate it or care enough about it to get riled up about its existence. I don’t expect the world to change to suit my needs and if a television show is not to my liking I simply choose to turn it off. Lots of folks in the tattoo world get extremely angry when something relating to tattooing is presented in a way they find distasteful, and tattoo television shows usually generate a ton of vitriol. However the fact that these shows continue to be made means that someone is making money off them so I don’t expect them to disappear as long as that is the case. I don’t like stepping in dog shit but I wouldn’t go around demanding that all dogs have their assholes sewn shut. My vote it to simply not watch tattoo television shows.
Imagine my surprise when a friend sent me a cell phone picture of a tattoo that was on a recent episode of Ink Master season 2. It was a picture of this tattoo:
Which I immediately recognized as a copy of some flash I painted last year that looked like this:
Let me state right away that I was not mad about this at all. The design in question is flash, it is designed to be sold and reproduced. If I have any beef at all, it’s that the tattooer in question should have stuck to using the clouds I put on the original (his are terrible) and that one of the episode judges said it looked “like a man in a tiger suit humping a rock”. (although that is actually pretty fucking funny.) Yes, I watched the episode online once I found out about my flash making a “guest appearance”.
Frankly I think that if a tattooer can not draw his own tiger better than me then I’m all for him or her using flash for this purpose. At the end of the day the highest we can aim for as tattooers is giving the clients something they can be proud to wear, I’m not sure if this tattoos counts as that, but I shudder to think of what this tattooer would have drawn on their own. So, to be clear, Im totally OK with my flash having been used, in a way its flattering to think that this guy figured my version of a tiger was better than anything he could come up with himself, but that does lead to a question. . .
The (ridiculous) premise of the show is that the people in the contest represent the best tattooers out there and that by the end of the contest one of them will be deemed the “Ink Master“. In other words, one of the contestants will come out having been crowned the “best tattooer in the world”. Of course this is silly on many levels including the fact that the worlds best tattooers don’t try out for this sort of side-show and the idea that an “Ink Master” is someone who does each and every style of tattooing with equal proficiency is, frankly, stupid. There are many talented tattooers who are good at a wide array of styles, but no one does every single kind of tattoo with equal skill, the very best in fact do the opposite by focusing on one or two particular areas of tattooing.
But even granting this silly notion that the winner of this show will be the “Ink Master” should said master of inking not be able to draw his or her own tattoo? Judging by the tattoo of my flash I very much doubt that the artist in question is an “ink master” and the fact that they didn’t bother to draw their own work even knowing it will be seen by millions of television viewers tells me that they probably should still be an apprentice rather than a prospective “master”.