Best Ink Blog

Brother and sister!

Hannah's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Watch Pete Announce the Winner of 'Best Ink 3'!

1. Sabina Kelley and Laird Hamilton.

Sabina's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Darnell's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge from Episode 1.

Darnell's Exit Interview: "Karly Deserved It"

Judge's Corner: Joe's Final Blog of Season 3!

1. All the 'Best Ink' Season 3 artists!

Joe's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Alayna's Exit Interview: I Was Rooting for Darnell & Karly

Winner's Chat with Karly: "I Didn't Think I had a Shot in Hell!"

The Final Ink Challenge

Darnell's Flash Challenge

The Street Shop Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: It Felt Awful to Send Willy Home

Willy's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Willy's Exit Interview: Being Eliminated Sucks

Alayna's Flash Challenge.

The Demolition Derby Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Darnell's Ink Challenge.

The 3D Photorealism Ink Challenge! (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Joe Blogs about Shock, Awe, and Lara's Fatal Unpopularity

Alayna's Ink Challenge.

The Shock Art Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Darnell's Shock Flash Challenge.

The Shock Art Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Lara's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Lara's Exit Interview: "I Live to Piss You Off"

Alayna's Ink Challenge (top 2)

The Pin-Up Couples Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

The contestants and their significant others (and Darnell's blind date) gather for a photo shoot.

The Couples Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Joe's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Joe's Exit Interview: I'm Not Cocky...I'm Amped

Judge's Corner: Sabina Blogs about True Pin-Up Tattoos and Joe's Demise

Sabina Kelley

Sabina Kelley Hits the Beach for Best Ink

Judge's Corner: Hannah Blogs about Surfboards, Lara's Mandala Fetish, and Romeo

Deadly Sins Flash Challenge

Romeo's Exit Interview: "Lara Should Have Gone Home Instead of Me"

Darnell's Ink Challenge

The Ocean-Inspired Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Contestants had to paint surfboards in the Ocean Flash Challenge.

The Surfboard Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Joe Blogs about Women in the Industry, Biomechanical Tattoos, and Danny's Goodbye

Meet Danny! And check out his Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Danny's Exit Interview: No More Tattoo Competitions!

Darnell won his face-off against Willy.

The Biomechanical Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Alayna's Flash Challenge

The Biomechanical Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

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Pete Wentz Is Thinking About Getting Married Again

Judge's Corner: Sabina Blogs About Sci-Fi Stuff, Darnell's Weepy Moment, and May May's Demise

May May's Deady Sins Flash Challenge.

May May's Exit Interview: "I Couldn't Handle the Pressure"

Alayna's Ink Challenge tattoo.

The Sci-Fi Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

It's the Sci-Fi Flash Challenge!

The Sci-Fi Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

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Watch Pete Wentz Find Out He Won a People's Choice Award

The Deadly Sins Flash Challenge

Exit Interview with Anthony: I Wish I Hadn't Been So "Laid Back"

Darnell's Ink Challenge.

The Japanese Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Alayna's Flash Challenge

The Anime Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Hannah Blogs About Danny's Tantrum, Alayna's Comeback, and Anthony's Farewell

Hannah's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Brother and sister!

This was one heck of a roller coaster season for all of us on the judging panel, as well as for the 14 artists who gave it their all. We judges don't get the opportunity to see a lot of what happens with the artists behind the scenes until the final season is wrapped and aired -- yep, we watch it just like everyone else! So it was especially interesting for me to get a chance to see the final edited episodes every week and get a little more context and insight into each of these terrific artists.

I had a lot of favorite moments throughout this season, but these are among my favorites:

1. It was such a complete joy to be able to work with my brother again.  He's a born teacher, and witnessing how he interacted with the artists (and knowing firsthand how seriously he took every aspect of the critiques!) was a treat.  He also took time after the challenge to chat with them and answer all kinds of questions about tattooing, giving them even more of a chance to take advantage of a great learning opportunity.  I love watching him work in that capacity, because he's so gifted at it.

2. This is less of an individual moment than a story-arc thing, but it was still one of my favorite aspects of the season: watching Karly's ascent, growing confidence and, ultimately, her victory.  She began with a clear talent, but not necessarily the self-confidence needed to take herself all the way to the title and $100,000.  Dealing with gender-related adversity during the competition was one of the things that goaded her to keep going, while remembering her family at home kept her inspired. Each week I could witness her confidence growing and it was a gorgeous thing to see!  And then at the finale when she finally spoke to her husband Tony on the phone after winning the title, I was tearing up along with everybody else. Hooray for Team Karly!  I was incredibly proud of her and all of her myriad achievements this season.

3. It was hysterical seeing the artists' flabbergasted reactions in Pershing Square when The Enigma and Serana Rose did an impromptu performance with their ShowDevils.  Watching their expressions as BoomBoom began pouring a pitcherful of chocolate pudding all over his corpulent torso was a case study in hilarity.  Talk about shock and, the episode featured one of my very favorite people ever, the great Matthew Bone!  If you're unfamiliar with his work, you need to check it out and be amazed.

4. I also just about busted a gut watching Joe and Sabina duking it out, debating what constitutes a "real" pinup tattoo. Each has their own perspective - one as a model of classic pinup, the other as an artist who pushes the boundaries of the genre - and neither was willing to back down.

5. Lastly, just like everyone else I was really touched during the couples episode when the artists were reunited with their loved ones.  Seeing the faces of people who have been in such a high-stress situation for so long watching the person who constituted their greatest support system walking through the door - well, it was heartwarming and beautiful. It was also tremendous to watch the usually tough-as-nails Lara showing a side of herself we had never had the opportunity to see, in a beautiful and intimate photo session and the resulting painting she did of herself with her boyfriend.  

It was a real privilege and a lot of fun to be a part of this great season of Best Ink.  I'm so proud of everything these artists achieved, and I know they've got nothing but incredible things ahead of them!

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