Ink Master – Freehand Artistry

Things are getting thick at the Ink Master house where one team comes and one goes every week.

So this is coming last minute, but I’d say that’s all the more to bring up the hype. With another veteran joining the ranks, the first-timers don’t have time to relax. Of course, they are no longer rookies, so games just get more intense.

Alliances Are Growing Strong

And last week we saw the result of that – Made Rich and his partner from Think Before You Ink were eliminated after a neck-to-neck critiques with Pinz and Needlez. This week, the new shops are coldly welcoming the next veteran.

Bone Face Ink
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Featuring just one seasoned player this time, the new team on the block is Boneface Ink. Owner and namesake Anwon “Boneface” Johnson competed on Season 8 and has much to prove this time around. An interesting choice on his part was bringing his colleague Brandon “Hobo Ink” Allen along.

Boneface has almost 20 years of experience on his side and made it more than half-way through Season 8. Hobo Ink on the other hand was eliminated in the pre-game round last season after doing a single tattoo. Still, Boneface thinks he has a lot more than that to offer, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Colour Me Velvet

As usual, this week all contestants are being judged on the newcomer’s weak spot. In Boneface’s case, it’s artistry. The artists have a flocking board and five hours to design, cut, and layer powdered velvet for a colourful artistic design. When the clock runs out, the new veteran team have little to show for it, but another vet duo wins the skull pick – Old Town Ink.

Going at the skull assigning focused on making it hard on Boneface and his teammate, Bubba and DJ miss a chance to get ahead in the game. Also, Lady Luck dealt them a bad hand this time around as their supposedly easy raven turned out to be a cover-up as well.

Bubba and DJ of Old Town Ink
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Who’ll Draw and Who’ll Tattoo?

Once again, teamwork is put to the test. This time, the responsibilities of drawing and tattooing are split right from the start, each team member allowed to only do one. Oh, and the big twist? It has to be freehand!

Many would say that freehand tattooing is a true test for a tattooer’s artistic skills. And that’s what our judges believe too. Add having to follow another artist’s design – and not off a stencil – and you’re in for one tough challenge.

A Clash of Veterans

But before revealing the final pieces, there were a couple of things said in the loft that shocked me, personally. During a heated confrontation about DJ’s choice of skulls, the newest contestant for the Ink Master title, Boneface, says “I’m not an artist.” Followed by “I tattoo for money in real life, I don’t give a s**t about the art part of it.” Now, I now he has a big family and money is definitely a priority for him, but this is still a strange thing to say on artistry day. Right?

Bone face Ink
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Nevertheless, Boneface Ink got a good review for their octopus (although it was not really watercolour as the canvas requested), so we’ll see more of them next week. Who did not get good feedback was Classic Trilogy TattooHouse of Monkey, and Black Spade Tattoo. It was between the latter two on who’s going home. In a two-veteran team stand off, Lalo’s strange colour choices overshadowed Picasso’s good design and it was House of Monkey who had to pack up their machines.  Which is a shame, because for all their weirdness, they are both strong artists. But as Nuñez put it, this competition is just too restrictive for their kind of artistry.

Shoulder Tattoo
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Full Hand Sleeve tattoo
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Skull Tattoo
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