Starting off let’s meet the final three since I didn’t do a recap last week. Mini cliffhanger, the bottom two from the previous week were Josh and James and the challenge was doing a portrait where both of them kind of fudged up pretty badly. The top two spots went to Shane and Tommy who automatically advance to the final round with Shane winning the last Elimination Challenge.
Throughout the competition, Shane has been able to get by and stay within his comfort zone of black and grey. The only times he has done color were in the prosthetic flash challenge and very minimally in various tattoos throughout the competition. An Ink Master has to be well-rounded so is Shane really an Ink Master if he has yet to produce a solid color piece?
Tommy has been a very silent yet strong competitor throughout the competition and has only landed in the bottom one time with his mangled pin-up girl. He doesn’t have a particular style, he’s super sexy and he’s a working man’s tattooer who can produce anything a person can think up. Tommy has all the qualities but he lacks some artistic ability such as not doing proper hands and faces, will that be his demise?
Finally, the third spot goes to…
James has been up and down in the competition even though he has consistently done large scale pieces in record time. I don’t think anyone thought he would make it to the final three over Josh. Shane even made a comment that if James walks through the door, he’d shit his pants. James does large pieces in record time but in doing such large pieces in such a fast amount of time he ends up losing small details that would make his pieces stand out more. Will his fast hands get the best of him?
The artists meet up with Dave and the rest of the judges to learn about their next challenge which will be for the Elimination Round as there will not be another Flash Challenge. Each artist will be given 12 hours (done in two 6 hour sessions) to create a piece specially picked for each artist to showcase their specialty. Oliver lets us know that with 12 hours there should be no excuse for a bad piece. James will tattoo a Japanese piece onto Diana, Tommy will tattoo a grim reaper onto Brandon and Shane is doing a statuesque Buddha on Mark. Shane turns into AlDuece and is pissed because it’s not in his style which is photo realism and portraits while Tommy explains that an Ink Master should be able to any of the three requested pieces. James is excited because he can bang out a half sleeve in 6 hours so a full sleeve is no big deal to him. We also get a glimpse into James’ personal life as he calls his two daughters on the phone. He is a single father with full custody of them and it’s been hard to be away but he knows that it will be well worth it in the end. Ugh…stop giving us reasons to love James already!
The sessions are blown through in about 10 minutes of tv time with the judges walking around and observing and the artists all scared about not finishing except James. James knows he can rock it out in 12 hours because he has lightning in a tattoo machine. More proof that James is awesome…he starts singing towards the end of his tattoo session. No lie. Finally the artists meet the judges for their final critique but wait a minute…it’s only 20 minutes into the show which is an hour long show…Dave announces a special twist that the judges will not be critiquing the 12 hour tattoos at this time…because the artists are going to be doing another tattoo (6 hour session) on another canvas. The real twist is that these dummy canvas’ are allowing the artists free range to do WHATEVER they want. That’s right, if the artist wanted to draw a demon grabbing for some penis they can and the canvas has no say in it! Wait, that already happened…but you get the point.
Shane and Tommy take the challenge as a way to show the judges they can do the things they have been harassed about during the competition. For Shane, the obvious way to go is to do a color piece because he has been accused of doing nothing but black and grey since he got there. Tommy was heavily criticized over his pin-up girl’s face and several hands he has done throughout the competition so he decides to create a piece with a girl showcasing her hands holding an object. James doesn’t want to stray from his comfort zone and end up doing a terrible job in the process so he sticks to basically recreating his full sleeve piece with a heavy Japanese influence. I get the reasoning but it’s the final tattoo they will ever see from you and you need to do whatever it takes to impressive them. I have a feeling this is going to be his downfall. The judges even comment that they want to see the contestants previous mistakes thrown in their faces but James continues on with his replica. Time narrows down and we get to the final critique…
Final Elimination Tattoos with Critiques
12 Hour (L) 6 Hour (R)
James is complimented on his ability to knock out tattoos quickly. He says that for the 12 Hour he really tried to focus on all aspects of shading, blending, line work and depth to show that he learned from the competition and to show what he could really do. Chris says that he did an amazing job and Oliver agrees stating that not many people can do what he does in the same amount of time. This is one of the best tattoos they have seen from him in the competition. However, the 6 Hour doesn’t fair so well because of the fact that he stayed in his comfort zone of doing a Japanese style piece. Chris says that it looks like James didn’t even attempt to compete and Oliver notes that the snake head doesn’t look like any normal snake he has ever seen. Chris also notes that James short-changed himself and that if Chris were in his shoes he would have done a great pin-up to slap the judges in the face with it.
12 Hour (L) 6 Hour (R)
Tommy’s 12 Hour tattoo is a testament to his style as it is large and very dark. Oliver loves that he wasn’t scared to use that much black and notes that the light spots stand up better against so much darkness. Oliver keeps repeating that the tattoo is badass and it’s the most badass tattoo that he has seen in the competition. Chris tells Tommy that he hit it on the head with the 12 Hour tattoo. For the 6 Hour tattoo, Oliver says that it is damn near flawless and that he got all the aspects he had previously missed. He remarks that the piece is breathtaking while Chris says it is his most favorite piece out of all the tattoos from the entire competition.
12 Hour (L) 6 Hour (R)
Shane’s 12 Hour tattoo was a success and looked like an actual statue because of the soft shading in the face area and the use of negative space. Chris says it is easy to jack up these types of tattoos but he gave it lots of dimension and it works well. For the 6 Hour tattoo, the judges are excited that Shane finally gave them some color. Oliver loves the texture but says that there isn’t enough solid black for contrast. Chris says the piece is a little flat and needed some more line work and that it appears that Shane was on autopilot anc coasted through. Shane says that he didn’t want to get too realistic so he held back on the line work.
The judges excuse the contestants to discuss in depth who should be given the title of Ink Master. We get bits of the discussion and it is clear that the competition is down to Shane vs Tommy since James didn’t do much variation and Oliver notes that he can’t really judge either because they are pretty much the same piece. Dave starts by speaking a bit about each artist starting with Shane who he says has been consistent (yes consistently no color…) the whole ride and well-rounded (what the fu..NO!). James is told that he is (I think, I kind of zonked but I am pretty sure this is what he was called) a hillbilly kick ass tattooer that does what most can’t do with solid technicality. Tommy operates like a true professional and is a solid tattooer that is bullet proof with a unique style that is all his own. James is called out first and told he is not the winner. Chris says he should have came harder in the end instead of laying down. The judges wanted more versatility but note that he would be hard to be if it were based on just his style. James leaves and says he wish he would have stretched himself further but hindsight is 20/20. I’ll miss you James and definitely like your style and quirky personality. Someone make me a ringtone with his signature “Lord, Have Mercy” please.
So now it comes down to Tommy versus Shane as to who the Ink Master will be. Shane is told he has a good eye and even when he missed the mark during challenges the end result piece was still a solid tattoo. Tommy puts in a ton of effort and does his homework to ensure his client’s receive exactly what they want. The decision was back and forth and the winner is…
This motherf’er…right here…
The judges explain that the decision was so close that to be fair they gave the win to Shane because he had never been at the bottom whereas Tommy was that ONE TIME. Chris explains it as Tommy was all A’s and one B and I’m all F this. Tommy takes it like a trooper and is excited to have just been a part of the competition. I really think he was robbed because Shane did NOT display that he was well-rounded throughout the competition, he barely used any color and got called out by the other contestants several times for it.
In case you were curious:
Al congratulated Shane on his win, Heather thinks Tommy should have won and Lea hasn’t really said much but retweeted that Tommy should have won. The only other people who I would want to know what they thought have been kind of silent…I’m looking at you Josh and Bili.
Do you guys agree with Shane winning or do you think Tommy got robbed at the finish line? What did you like about Ink Master and what do you think needs to be improved for Season 2? All I know is I plan to be back for the next season so stay tuned and thank you very much for being so kind on my first merry-go-round with recapping