With such a memorable (and alliterative) name, edgy goth-girl style and a teaser mention of “vampire culture”, Carolyn Cadaver made a pretty strong impression in the premiere of Best Ink 2. But you know how it goes in a competition show, someone always has to go first and sadly it was Ms. Cadaver who got the boot. And before she could further explain that whole vampire business!
Well, luckily, we caught up with her to ask our burning questions—starting with the obvious.
Best Ink 2: Everyone on the show has their own personal style, but yours definitely stood out. I think most of us are interested to hear more about the “vampire culture” you mentioned – what does that mean and what does it involve?
Carolyn Cadaver: Thank you. There are many forms of vampire culture, but ours is very different than most. My mentor and partner Michael McKnight (of the vampire rock band Soulidium) took me to Miami to take on permanent fangs like his. Our vampire philosophy has nothing to really do with blood or the Hollywood vampire. Our fangs represent a personal affirmation of a life dedicated to artistic excellence. It's the aggressive personality of the vampire and their unwillingness to settle for anything less than they came for that our fangs represent. These qualities are the same traits that successful men and women have emulated throughout the centuries and which we have adopted into what we call the "Soulidium vampire" philosophy.
Best Ink 2: What was it like spray painting street art while dangling in the air like that?
Carolyn: I never spray painted art before, but it was definitely a lot of fun having a chance to experience that medium of art. The height was a little scary, but the adrenaline rush it created was awesome. I love art in all its forms and trying new things is always a positive thing for me. I loved the experience!
Best Ink 2: Looking back on the final challenge, what would you have done differently (if at all)?
Carolyn: While I was proud of the piece I was doing, my tattoo machine malfunctioning during the challenge was a huge blow to me as an artist. How that malfunction affected me during eliminations was heartbreaking. In retrospect, I wish I would have brought more machines with me. That kind of catastrophic outcome, especially when I knew that I had what it took to compete was a painful blow. I will always regret not having another machine to have switched to.
Best Ink 2: A couple of the contestants mentioned that they were “under a time constraint,” which is kind of a scary thing to hear if you’re having a tattoo done. What was going through your head during the challenge?
Carolyn: My biggest concern during the challenge was to make sure that that my skin was happy with the piece I did on them. As far as I was concerned, the best solution to the constraints was to keep the size and approach to my work realistic for the time that was allotted. I must admit that my stress levels skyrocketed when my machine started to malfunction during the piece. That was the one moment I was most worried. Funny enough that had never happened to me until the show. Murphy's law wins again!
Best Ink 2: How did your “skin” feel about her tattoo?
Carolyn: My skin was ecstatic with her piece and there is nothing that makes an artist more happy than to have a happy client. She gave me many hugs and said she wanted to make future appointments with me. That's always a win!
[Ed. Note: We caught up with Carolyn’s skin, Adriane, who is in fact ecstatic about her tattoo. She says, “I f*cking love the finished product! I love how it’s got kind of a comic book feel to it with the blue shadowing.” Cool.]
Best Ink 2: From your first impressions of the group – who do you think will be the big drama maker this season? Who were you most impressed with?
Carolyn: In all fairness, I didn't really get a chance to get to know the other contestants really well, but having been a tattoo artist since 2004, I'd say that all tattoo shops are definitely full of drama and a competitive atmosphere. I am sure that there will be plenty of it on the show, especially as the show climaxes to the final contestants. Everybody who was selected for the show got there because they were the best at what they do, But on a personal note, I was most impressed by Teresa Sharpe because of her use of color which always makes all the difference in the outcome of any tattoo.
Best Ink 2: Having your fellow contestants decide on the final elimination is a new twist – how did it feel to have your peers decide to send you home?
Carolyn: It's a competition and somebody has got to go home. As with anything, people will make decisions based on their own reasons. I am honored just to have made it onto an amazing show like Best Ink 2 out of the thousands of entries received. I will always cherish the memory with all my heart.
Best Ink 2: Tell us what you’re working on now!
Carolyn: Having made it to Best Ink 2 in addition to my journey of personal growth has filled me with confidence. I have taken that confidence and am opening Vicious Angelz Tattoo here in Tampa this month. I am very excited to have a chance to finally have my own shop and would like to thank Best Ink 2 for the inspiration that has led me to this new and exciting place in my life. I'm ready to rock!
Carolyn is going to be just fine:
Don't miss the second episode of Best Ink 2 on Wednesday, April 10 at 9/8c!