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Any show that closes in on its tenth season is under threat to start wearing thin. That goes for reality TV just as much, if not more. Not Ink Master though!

The puppet masters pulled all the stops

I’ve watched every season of Ink Master so far, and I can tell you this time they went for the jugular from day one. Not one but two flash challenges welcome the new contestants. By the end of both two teams got to relax, while the pressure rose for everyone else. Also, now the rules are starting to clear up – you compete as a team, and you go out as a team.

It all starts with a maze of ice and the task to make an ice sculpture representing each shop. Not an easy thing to do even for trained sculptors, but there are still some impressive results. The first collaboration challenge gives one team, Allegory Arts (AL), immunity for the first time.

Allegory Arts
Allegory Arts (Credit – Spike)

Next up is a sharp change in temperature. With frost still stuck to their coats and fingers still numb from the cold, the teams are presented with the medium for their next challenge – molten metal! Yeah, because ice sculpting on cue was not hardcore enough. After three hours of sweating over the mould and pouring the metal, another team can breathe easier for the rest of the week – Unkindness Art (VA).

Erin Chance
Erin Chance (Twitter @UnkindnessArt)
Doom Kitten
Doom Kitten (Twitter @UnkindnessArt)

But, like Navarro always says, that’s not all

When the elimination challenge, aka actual tattooing, comes around, artists usually start feeling more comfortable. Well, not this time! Not only do they have to use live reference, but their models are a hawk, a huge snake, and an alligator. And to make things extra difficult, the tattoo needs to be a team effort. That means the artists need to tag-team their canvas, switching every hour.

Collaboration is hard enough when you need to carve out ice or lettering, but it’s a whole other story when your styles clash. This is a true test of teamwork, and one team fails both that and the challenge conditions. The main focus is “can you draw”, so even though the choice of style is free, realistic proportions are crucial. As Peck explains it, testing “true artistic ability – no tracing, no photos. Hand, pencil, paper.”

True artistry lies in artistic abilities, but also in adaptability

At the end of the six hours, we see seven very different tattoos. A couple stand out, and not for the best. It’s Jhon Campuzano and Babiery Hernandez from Thicker Than Blood in White Plains, New York who come up short. Their cartoonish, new school rendition of the python presents too many stylistic and anatomical flaws for the judges to excuse. Thus, their first tattoo on the show becomes their last.

Thicker Than Blood
Thicker Than Blood (Credit – Spike)

Since we won’t be seeing them tattoo on the show again, we’ve got a few pieces from their portfolio for you below. Also, come back to Inked Cartel later this week for more on both artists.

Take a look at all the Ink Master elimination tattoos, and a few from the eliminated artists:

Tri-Cities Tattoo
Tri-Cities Tattoo
Thicker Than Blood Elimination Tattoo
Thicker Than Blood Elimination Tattoo
The Marked Society Elimination Tattoo
The Marked Society Elimination Tattoo
Pinz and Needlez Elimination Tattoo
Pinz and Needlez Elimination Tattoo
Classic Trilogy Elimination Tattoo
Classic Trilogy Elimination Tattoo
Black Anchor Collective Elimination Tattoo
Black Anchor Collective Elimination Tattoo
Tattoo by Jhon Campuzano
Tattoo by Jhon Campuzano
Eye Tattoo by Jhon Campuzano
Tattoo by Jhon Campuzano
Tattoo by Babiery Hernandez
Tattoo by Babiery Hernandez
Deamon Tattoo by Babiery Hernandez
Tattoo by Babiery Hernandez (Photo Credits – Spike)

 

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