Darnell was the beloved runner-up this season on Best Ink, and most people could see his success coming. From the get-go, he kept nailing challenges, asserting himself as one of the top tattooers in the competition. Some people even think he should have won Best Ink with his final back piece...but Darnell doesn't. Click "more" to read his full exit interview!
SO CLOSE! Did you agree with the judges’ final decision to pick Karly?
Yeah it was super close. I definitely feel like it came down to two artists that were pretty evenly matched. It’s no question that the last Ink Challenge was the toughest of competition. All the pressure that could’ve been applied definitely was, and Karly and I still brought the heat. We hardly had enough time to prepare to do back pieces, and I feel like the composition of my piece wasn’t up to par because of it. Both pieces were amazing, but after seeing what Karly put together, I had a feeling she had me beat. So although I was disappointed that I didn’t win, I don’t disagree with the judges’ decision, Karly deserved it.
How did it feel to be one of the Top 2? Did you expect to make it that far going in?
It felt awesome being in the Top 2, knowing that you are that close to winning the whole competition. There were a lot of great artists who came and went, and to have still been standing -- just me and one other artist going at it for the top spot -- feels something like fight night in Vegas. I only had intentions to win coming into the competition, I wasn’t aiming for any other spot. Being in the Top 2 was great, but I knew that I belonged there.
What did you take away from your experience on Best Ink?
There’s a lot of pressure to perform well in a competition like Best Ink. High stakes, tough competitors, crazy time constraints, nothing but pressure. I surprised myself a lot throughout this competition. I did cool pieces in styles I had never worked in before. So if I learned one thing from Best Ink it’s definitely how to work well under pressure.
Has your life/career changed since you were featured on the show?
After being on the show, I’m a lot busier than I have been. I’ve been taking a few trips here and there, and receiving a lot of love from a lot of people. It’s awesome, I’m grateful for everything that is happening.
Which tattoo are you most proud of from the show? How about the least proud?
My favorite tattoo that I did on the show is definitely the vampire shock art girl. I had a lot of fun doing that one, especially since I don’t usually do creepy tattoos like that. It just came out really cool and I enjoyed doing it. And of course, my least favorite was the alien brain on the head. Really took that one hard, even though nobody really shared my opinion of the piece, I still just wasn’t feeling it. But I got to do a lot of cool pieces on the show, that’s for sure.
What’s in your tattooing future?
I see myself doing a lot more great tattoos in the future. And more traveling as well. If anyone out there would like to set up an appointment with me, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. @WorksbyWaine is also the Instagram & Twitter, follow if you will. Thanks everyone.
Watch Darnell's video exit interview!