If you're not familiar with Ink Master, it's Spike TV's reality contest that showcases the talents of tattoo artists - oh, and they're all vying for $100k. The mini flash challenge winner usually gets to pick which artist gets which "canvas" aka person who either very bravely, or very stupidly wants a tattoo done on television by someone who may or may not crack under pressure.
Some of the artists knew nothing of the movies which made it much easier for some of the true geeks on the show to shine.
For the main challenge, the artists had to showcase their contrast skills in tattoos (obviously).
Unfortunately, Sarah went on the defensive when the other contestants didn't gush over her design. I won't reveal who won or lost this week but here are some pictures to pass the time before you watch the episode.
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On a a€?Star Warsa€?-themed night episode, the Sith hit the fan for some of the dwindling survivors on Spike TVa€™s tattooing competition show a€“ but one surprise contestant showed some Jedi prowess (even if she has no idea what a Jedi is) that the judges never saw coming. And nobody showed their age more than contestant Sarah Miller, who nearly spontaneously combusted in a geekasm as soon as the storm troopers and clone troopers marched out to the Jersey City park that hosted the showa€™s opening flash challenge. Their task: paint a white clone trooper helmet, with the best one destined to be autographed by George Lucas himself and displayed at the Star Wars Celebration VI convention, where it would be auctioned off for the Make a Difference charity. Once again, Mark Matthews finishes near the bottom, with a sloppy helmet design that looks like he may have finger-painted it.
Clint Cumming finishes with a (inter) stellar design that shows both the contrast the judges are looking for and two kick-ass scenes fromA the films.
Clint, though, immediately embeds himself with his clique of tattoo artists back at the loft and plots the best strategy of whom to try to knock off during the elimination challenge. Nunez and his fellow judges are enjoying watching the drama unfold with the rest of the popcorn-eating viewership. Jesse is proven right: Kay, with just three years of experience, and Mark are clearly sinking fast during the elimination challenge, which demands some pretty complicated a€?Star Warsa€? tattoos on some pretty geeky human canvases. Poor Sarah, card-carrying Jedi, finishes in second place again a€“ though no slouch with a gnarly imperial trooper with a galactic background flush with colors a€“ to her arch-nemesis, Tatu Baby. After he goes a€“ if he doesna€™t turn it around soon a€“ the next one voted off will be a pretty good tattooer. Jime has a grudging respect for Joshua, openly acknowledging the other man’s ability to smooth talk his canvasses.
Jime, having won the previous Elimination tattoo is now able to assign the skulls this time. So, with 30 minutes to sketch their animal, followed by 2 hours to paint the model, detail is the order of the day. Kyle has been middle of the road so far, but now that he is on top he could turn it around. The judges were so disappointed with the work turned in that they didn’t name a tattoo of the day since none of them earned it.
Since Black and Gray is being tested, they got Mexican tattoo legend Chuey Quintanar to pay a visit. Craig, a great well-rounded artist who specializes in New Skool completely forgot the nature of the B & G format and mixed white with black. The human canvas jury voted for Craig as the worst, but the judges decided that Chris was actually the worst.
Joshua continues to irritate the remaining contestants as he refuses to be honest with anyone.
The flash challenge today was two-fold:  each canvas wanted a bar code, and each artist would have to assemble their tattoo machine. Most of the artists struggled with the first part of their challenge, with Tatu Baby and Ally both failing to get their machines to work. Since line work is the order of the day, the judges have decided that Celtic tattoos would be just the thing. Josh has apparently come to the show with the idea of using reality show survival techniques to play against his rivals. People skills are one of the facets of an Ink Master that some of the contestants keep overlooking.
Maddie was judged to be the worst, so despite the fact that Tatu Baby didn’t even finish her garter, she was sent packing.

This is not the view of many of her fellow artists, however, but Tatu Baby is a rather special case. Special guest judge Tony Hundahl came around to see what kind of color the artists were putting out with their texture challenge this week.
Going into the elimination round Josh has the power to assign the human canvasses and it is clear that he enjoys this power. He gives New Skool master Jime Litwalk a realistic piece, tosses Kyle a New Skool job, and Tatu Baby wins the booby prize with an 80 year old canvas whose previous experience was limited to 2 hours. Mark finds himself dealing with another difficult canvas in the person of Natalie who wants a phoenix with no detail. In the end, however, Mark had no tattoo to display since his client left and he wasn’t willing to tattoo himself.
Despite his vociferous protestations, James had nothing to show them aside from a crappy garter. This season it seems the producers wanted to amp the drama a bit, so they found some silly, silly, silly fucking tattoo artists.
This week the judges will be testing precision, something some of the contestants struggled with last week. Of the other three, Mike turned in work that was so bad the judges were clearly questioning his sanity by the end.
It was a close call between Mike and Chris because neither of them did what they were told.
In this “Star Wars”-themed episode, the artists will be tested on their ability to use contrast in their designs, specifically the way they enhance dark and light areas and use opposing colors, forms and lines to make their tattoos bold. As always, “Ink Master” starts off with a fundamentals skill test called the Flash Challenge. All the human canvases for the Elimination Tattoo for this episode are all super-fans of “Star Wars” and all request various designs featuring the iconic characters and symbols from this epic saga.
This week, my geek senses were bubbling out of my skin because both the mini "flash" challenge and the main challenge revolved around Star Wars. However, in this week's challenge, not only did the winner get to assign the canvases, but they would also have their piece signed by George Lucas and auctioned off for the Make-a-wish foundation. Sarah Miller, one of two female contestants left in the running was completely geeking out.
There were troopers, Yoda, Chewbacca, star destroyers - everything you can think of that had to do with Star Wars. The other female artist left on the show, Tatu Baby did a really incredible Yoda tattoo but she knows nothing about the movies which sent Sarah off another defensive cliff. The conclusion from Jesse Smith, whoa€™s as close to a philosopher like Yoda as there is in thisA competition, is Kay Kutta and Mark will knock themselves off and Clint should be aiming higher with his machinations. He said while they were shooting (the finale will be aired live later this season), the tattooers would act politely to one another for the most part during the challenges, saving their rancor until they were out of earshot.
The Florida tattooer, who has had a forgettable run so far, didna€™t know who Yoda was exactly, but recognized him enough to do a tattoo worthy of a Jedi master. Tatu Baby and Craig are finding themselves on shaky ground, while Joshua keeps sailing along in the middle, occasionally bobbing up to the top during Flash Challenges. The challenge is to body paint models to bring out the essence of a particular wild animal. To help him find out if that is the case, New York tattoo legend Troy Denning showed up to guest judge. As the tension heats up, Joshua continues to draw fire from the other contestants, ultimately leading them to completely align against him.
And to add the degree of difficulty, the canvasses all have major scars that must be incorporated into the finished work.
And since he came all that way, they brought in canvasses that wanted a Dios de la Muerte tattoo. You NEVER mix white with black on a B & G tattoo, you always take black and water it down.
Some of the tattoos were way too lacking in their shading, and it seriously disappointed the judges who were quite vocal about it. Instead he continues to play clever little games with everyone which just results in a lot of general cattiness.
Seth Ciferri provides the machines for this challenge, and he will be the guest judge the line work this week. 90 minutes was allotted to assemble their machines, then design and apply the tattoo.

Ally Lee being completely dismissive about the idea that she should have to know how to build a tattoo machine. Tatu Baby and a couple others looked uncomfortable with this, and Craig decides to give the hardest tattoo (a Celtic starfish on the ribs) to Josh. This is pretty obvious by now, and it is not making him any friends among the other artists. They will get a canvass and select a garter for her, but the tattoo must incorporate all of the texture of the original. His canvas is making ridiculous demands, then his stencils don’t come out, forcing him to go free-hand. America decided she was worthy of a second chance, and to see someone of her demonstrated ability be kicked off the show for carelessness while someone who struggles as much as Maddie does to be allowed to continue…that would have been unacceptable. And to make it fair, everyone would have to tattoo a phoenix giving the judges another apples-to-apples comparison. It seems obvious that he watched the show before becoming a contestant, and his Game seems much the same as Kay Kutta‘s. I’m looking right at you, Mystical Mike, with your Emo hair and your ridiculous syntax.
Between him trying to get people to doubt themselves and Mystical Mike being an annoying asshole, this is going to be a rough season for a bit. To keep it interesting the artists would be working in teams of three designing and cutting out grills for muscle cars in three short hours. Three-time NFL Pro-Bowler Chris Johnson came by to be guest judge.
Tatu Baby knows nothing about cars, so she made sure she got herself a good team in Jime and ES. Kyle and Craig got stuck with Mystical Mike while Maddie was given to Made Rich and Chris.
The artists again have to demonstrate their ability to use contrast in their “Star Wars” tattoos. She showed how much she loved the series by pulling from elements in the movies like the Millennium Falcon and lightsabers. And of course, there were some whiny baby canvases - Those hard asses who thought they could handle the pain but end up crying like little babies. One of the artists, Made Rich, has no respect for Japanese tattoos because he doesn’t understand them.
This situation helped Tatu Baby squeak by another week and kept Josh from getting bounced for his crappy (no pun intended) tattoo. One canvas even requests Tatu Baby not only give him his tattoo, but that it be her face on the tattoo. With no real competition they found Jime Litwalk‘s colorless New Skool tattoo to be the best. I think this served as a wake-up call to a lot of tattoo artists because this could be the thing that costs them $100,000. He does, however, have good people skills, something he demonstrates on his human canvasses. The difference, of course, being that Josh has much more experience than Kay does at tattooing. Every artists is aware this kid lacks skill, and he tries to cover for it by claiming his imagination outweighs his skill which can be said about pretty much anyone who sucks at something they enjoy doing. Rather than get upset about it, he approached the problem like a salesman and began working her, trying to get her to change her mind.
She may not be one of the most "likable" characters on the show but some of her competitors take douche to a new level. Unfortunately for the artists, they have to work with these people, get them to co-operate. And let's be honest, her helmet was pretty sweet so she could spit fire and eat babies but she'd still be an amazing artist. Yet, I somehow doubt that he doesn’t know how to take one apart and put it back together, blindfolded. The artists had to paint clone trooper helmets while demonstrating their understanding of and expertise in contrast.

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