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In episode 9, Ink Master is bringing back two major items from the dawn of the show.

Straight back from Season 1 – and not just as a contestant but as the runner-up – we welcome Tommy Helm! Representing his own Empire State Studio Tommy is coming back with his colleague and friend Marvin Silva.

Tommy Helm and Marvin Silva.

A Blast from the Past

So far we’ve seen veterans returning from later seasons, but recently we’ve been going back farther and higher in the ranks. We might not have seen Tommy Helm since season one, but back then we saw him get within reach of the Ink Master title. In the meantime, we’ve grown to know his work from the cover up show Tattoo Nightmares. Tommy is a versatile artist with 23 years of experience and he has already proven to be finale material. His teammate might have only half of Tommy’s experience, but he’s not to be underestimated.

Plaster Disasters

As per this season’s rules, the returning veterans are tested on whatever was their weakest point last time around. In Tommy’s case, it was proportion. Turns out, paying attention has to be on both his and Marvin’s to-do list. In this week’s Flash Challenge the artists were working with plaster to show Proportion. However, once the time started something that’s never happened before occurred. Empire State got the challenge wrong! Marvin says perspective instead of proportion and Tommy doesn’t really question it. It makes little difference in the end, because neither perspective nor proportion turned out well in their Manhattan landscape.

The skull pick went to Black Cobra Tattoos with ease. Not a big surprise, considering Matt turns out to be a trained sculptor with plenty of experience with plaster. As for strategy, I’d say they did the smart thing, aiming to get the best canvas themselves and not focus so much on screwing over other teams.

Pin-up, Black Cobra Tattoo
Black Cobra Tattoo

Pin-Ups Galore

Every tattoo artist knows the challenges that a pin-up presents. None more than those already seasoned in the Ink Master game. So there’s little excitement about this week’s elimination subject matter and lots of room for mistakes. And to top it all off, the ideas and requirements of these canvases are quite proving a challenge themselves. From tits-blocking-axes to flabby asses, none of the teams is having a great time.

Despite Matt and Katie not talking targeting or forming alliances with anyone, from the sidelines it seemed they did target the existing alliance. Some of the other teams are quite happy about that, but first they need to worry about their own work. Oh yeah, and the artists have to switch every 30 minutes! If they weren’t facing enough already. Black Cobra did well for themselves, almost getting tattoo of the day too. But the judges favoured Basilica’s fishing girl over their policewoman.

Pin-up, Basilica Tattoo
Tattoo of the Day: Basilica Tattoo

The End of the Line

And as usual a worst tattoo had to be chosen and one team had to be sent home. It was a stressful moment for newly returned Tommy Helm, whose shop was sent to the bottom by the jury of peers. There was some confusion about their tattoo that I felt could be cleared up, but didn’t turn out to be crucial.

This season’s Pin-up victims were Pinz and Needlez. They might be leaving the show, but as the youngest contestants they can leave with their heads high. With less than 10 years of experience between the two of them, Allisin and Jesse  made it quite far in a house full of hard-hitting professionals.

Here is their last joint piece, a couple of their individual works, and the rest of the elimination tattoos.

Pinz and Needlez
Pinz and Needlez elimination tattoo

ALLISIN RIOT 1

ALLISIN RIOT
Allisin Riot

Jesse Knuckles 1

Jesse Knuckles 1
Jesse Knuckles
Pin-up, Allegory Arts
Allegory Arts
Pin-up, Artistic Skin Design
Artistic Skin Design
Pin-up, Classic Trilogy Tattoo
Classic Trilogy Tattoo
Pin-up, Empire State Studio
Empire State Studio
Pin-up, Old Town Ink
Old Town Ink
Pin-up, Unkindness Art
Unkindness Art. Spike.

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