Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 10)

By Victor Farinelli 
Just when I start to think that some of these cats are humble and are willing to learn, then they go say some arrogant stupid shit. The show starts off with Jesse fucking saying, “You know what coasting is? That is what I did for the Japanese challenge… I would rather lose for doing me than win for not doing me.” Then why the fuck did he want to be on the show? It’s not some fucking highfalutin serious goddamn art exposition. It is a fucking game show. Period. End of fucking explanation. I will take “Douche Bags” for $200 please, Alex. At the end of the season the winner gets a paycheck they have to pay taxes on. If you got into this for any other reason than the money, and being on TV, you are fucking fooling yourself. You do what you have to do to play the game because at the end of the day, that’s all this is… a game. If it was not on Spike, it would be on the Game Show Network… 

“Okay, calm down Victor.” I talk to myself sometimes. It beats talking to the other voices in my head. Anywho, in the flash challenge the contestants had to put an image on one of Dave’s guitars. Navarro was alluding to the fact that these were the actual guitars that he plays on stage. I doubt it. Granted, they are his signature guitar made by Paul Reed Smith, but I doubt these are THE guitars he plays on stage. Jesse’s was okay, but really they were all pretty horrible. Chris Nunez went off on the contestants about how crappy their art was. He was so fed up, he just wanted to get it over with and get out of there. Oliver basically said that Jesse’s was the best of the worst, and therefore, Jesse won the flash challenge.

Of course on the van ride back to the loft, they had to suck each other off about how good their work was and that the judges didn’t know what they were talking about. Come on guys, you gotta admit this was definitely not y’all’s best work. Far from it. It was a pile of shit sandwiches on moldy bread.

The guest judge this episode was Forrest Cavacco. He has been in the trenches for a number of years and is a great tattoo artist that everyone should check out. He was brought in for the elimination challenge in which the contestants had to do animal tattoos. It kinda freaked me out after saying Sarah’s spirit animal was an angry orangutan. I think she even referred to animal tattoos as totems! HA! That is awesome! Oh yeah, she is still bat-shit crazy, but that is becoming an old hat, so it is not even worth getting into her weirdness.

twinbrothersofdifferentmothers copy

(Twin Brothers of Different Mothers)

The top two this week were Steve and Tatu Baby. Tatu Baby’s client got all barfy and so she was unable to finish her tattoo, but what she did finish the judges liked and were impressed by. Steve came out on top with his King Kong.


(Left: By Steve Tefft. Right: By Tatu Baby.)

The bottom two were Sarah and Jamie. During the show, Forrest and Chris Nunez both commented on Jamie not having any tattoos. Forrest went on to say, “How can you be a tattooer and not have tattoos. If you are going to be a tattooer you have to have tattoos. I can’t respect not having tattoos.” Hello! Anyone see the goddamn elephant in the room? About fucking time someone brought that up in the show!

During the judging, Forrest told Jamie to get some tattoos. When asked why he does not have any his reply was, “I have no problem waiting to get exactly what I want.” Dude. You have been tattooing for 17 fucking years. If you don’t have any tattoos now, you aren’t going to get any. That is just a bullshit cop-out. It also sounds kind of arrogant. So there is not one tattooist out there you would get tattooed by. That is basically what you are saying, Jamie. All artists put their own flair into what they do. You never get EXACTLY what you envisioned in your own mind. That is part of the thrill of getting tattooed. I think it would be kinda disappointing if I got exactly what I imagined.

After the judging, the contestants were all sent back to the temporary abode to lick their wounds. Jamie decided to finally pipe up about said elephant in said dwelling, but he just sounded like Sir Whines-A-Lot. “I think it is so funny that people who preach about not being judged about their tattoos, and how they don’t fit into society, and how they don’t want people to prejudge them for how they look, will turn around and do the same thing back to me because I don’t have any.”

I have been getting tattooed for over 20 years. In my experience, the only people who I have run into that complain and preach about equality for tattooed folks are doucheingtons who have one or two tattoos that they can cover up in the drop of a hat. Come on folks. We all have judgements. It is human to judge. We like one thing and not another. We have opinions about what is right, what is wrong, and what is in-between. Whoever says they don’t is a fucking saint and should be preaching from the mountain top. In my opinion, whoever complains about being judged for their tattoos should never had gotten tattooed in the first place. I am also going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think any of the judges have ever preached about how society should not prejudge them for their tattoos. In my experience it is really a non-issue for most tattooed folks who have respect for craft.

With that being said, I think a dude who has no tattoos after 17 years in the business and who has, as Jamie puts it, “Earned [their] stripes and… paid [their] fucking dues,” has not really earned his stripes. Part of “earning your stripes” is GETTING TATTOOED! You have to know what it is like to get tattooed and to live with it to really know what it is like. Why are you tattooing if you do not want to get tattooed yourself? (And I truly believe he really does not want to get tattooed.) That fucking baffles me. My “just what I want” changes from day-to-day. I have a few tattoos that I would not get today, but I am okay with them now because that was who I was at that time.

Well, enough of my opinions. Before they brought out the top and bottom contestants, “the gang” put fake tattoos all over Jamie. The judges were a little pissed off. In the end it was a toss-up between the shittier wolf and Jamie got the boot. There is some talk on the Interwebs that he was given the boot because he has no tattoos. No, he was given the boot because he sucks wrinkled ball sack. It was a toss-up between him and the angry orangutan, and he lost. End of fucking discussion.


(Left: By Jamie Davis. Right: By Sarah Millers.)

Shortly after the show, Dave Navarro put up a blog post regarding the whole “not having any tattoos” thing. In it he states: “[Oliver and Forrest’s] points are valid. Jamie has been tattooing 17 years and really has no idea what it feels like when he is tattooing a client. He has no concept of what it is to have a piece of art permanently placed on the body for life. What the pain of getting tattooed feels like or how one area of the body is more sensitive than another, from personal experience. THAT was the point. The point was that he should have SOME idea of what his clients go through.” Damn, I actually agree with something Dave said! Who knew?

I think we have beat this subject into submission. I doubt any of these cats read this but if you do; Jamie GET SOME TATTOOS! I am making friends left and right aren’t I? Regular ol’ Simon Cowell.


Victor is a blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine and can be found at:

Tattoo Artist Magazine: The Ink Master Interview (VIDEO)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episodes 1 & 2)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 3)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 4)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 5)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 6)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 7)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 8)

Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 9)

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9 thoughts on “Victor Farinelli: Ink Master Review (Episode 10)

  1. I appreciate your points on Jamie’s lack of tattoos…. I do wish he had given a better reason. I will say however that I was once in his shoes, having tattooed for a number of years without ever having any of my own on my body, and therefore empathize with him. . My reason was that there was no image I could commit to, nothing I’d want on me for my whole life. This remains the case. I am tattooless. At the same time this made me suspicious in the eyes of my tattooing peers, despite the fact that I was a far better draftsperson than them (I’m not really bragging-it’s true). So in the end I stopped, and turned my attention to other artforms where I wouldn’t be discriminated against. At times I still wish I were working in this field, but the whole experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.he experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

    The point made about never having the experience the clients would have are valid. There is just no getting around it. (and yes the contestants AND the judges are douchebags) But if I were to get a tattoo someday, I would surely seek out an artist who was excellent at his craft and didn’t have any of his/her own, over an artist who was covered in tats and was mediocre.

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