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

By Oxygen

Well here we go. Let’s start with my take on Joe's feelings towards women in the tattoo trade. I don't know Joe personally, but hearing him speak about women in tattooing…it all smacks of things I heard artists saying back in the day when I first came up in the business. Little respect for women in general, forget about as tattooers. But, I’m happy to say that those feelings have changed over the years. Now I know of many tattooers, and shops alike that are looking to hire and/or apprentice female tattooers (not that that should be a reason for hiring on an apprentice). Women have made a strong mark in our trade, and I don't see that being turned around by some antiquated feelings of a few "Old School" tattooers. 

The Flash and Ink Challenges this week were Biomechanical, or Bio Mech: A very specialized tattooing style. And what better person to have guest judge this challenge then the Man himself Guy Aithchison. Amazing artist. We were thrilled to have him on. I wish he could have guested for the Ink Challenge as well. I thought the Flash Challenge was a fun concept. The idea of designing a facial tattoo in general is interesting, then add the twist of a Bio Mech tattoo in front of Guy himself, on top of a very limited timetable. All in all, very challenging. I was very impressed by the drawings.

Darnell had to put together match-ups for this week’s Ink Challenge. I think it was smart, and very honest of him to set certain artists against one another. And I think he did a good job of lining up who he felt belonged together.

I got a kick outta Lara making the statement about being insulted that her many years of experience were being put up against Romeo's few years of time in. If there is one fact that has been made apparent to me over the years, it’s that "just because you've been tattooing longer, doesn't make you the better tattooer.” There are simply so many young artists getting into the field today. They’re insanely talented, and unafraid to take risks, break old rules, and traditions. They've kept me on my toes over the years, and in a competition like Best Ink, these are the artist that a lot of times will kill it. Lara found thisout the old-fashioned way, when Romeo (a "Non Specialist" in the Bio Mech Style) overcame her in the challenge this week. 

As for the issue with Danny's skin not showing up: unfortunately sh** happens in the tattoo studio. Some of these skins don't realize what they’re being offered, and don't take the responsibility as seriously as they should of being a skin in this competition. They don’t know how it can affect the show and the artist’s career. 

He did luck out that his replacement skin was open-minded enough to get what he'd already already drawn up for his first piece. Lucked out in the tattoo phase, anyway. Too bad his luck didn't hold up in the elimination. 

Judging this week’s tattoos: what can I say, tough one. We’re at the point in the competition where even a good tattoo will get you sent home. Willy was pretty pissed. He did a great tattoo, but we felt Darnell's was a bit stronger in the long run. 

Sending Danny home was really not much of a decision. He's a talented feller, and getting to see what he's doing today months after the challenge has been a treat. He is growing. But he couldn’t pull away from his photo reference and still stay strong – it was just too apparent this week.

On another note, regarding my conversation with Danny from last week’s episode: I felt there were things that needed to be said to him. This is serious, and I think that the artists involved sometimes need to be reminded of that. If you’re not all in and invested, then you took the place of an artist who may have done better and given their all. That’s why I was as serious and stern with him. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I wish you, the audience had more of an opportunity to hear all of our critiques, or even a bit of our background debates about the tattoos. We spend a lot of time speaking with each other and the artists about the work being done – but only so much can fit into an hour show.

Till next time folks...

Tune into a new episode of 'Best Ink' Wednesday at 10/9c!

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