Photo: Ben Cohen / NBC

Best Ink Puts Two Artists On One Tattoo

Who's the Crackerjack and who's the Memento?


May May is making her bid for most annoying early this week; she's all weepy in her cute cherries buttondown about fighting with her "man" and the bills she can't cover. Danny's like, keep your head in the game while Amy makes a "pull it together, ya baby" face. Word.

Flash Challenge

The Inkers meet Pete Wentz in a weird warehouse basement for Best Ink Fight Club. Pete makes the predictable joke, but is so proud of himself for it that it's kind of charming. He goes on to explain the head-to-head challenge: it's a motherfuckin' draw-off, basically, with street artist Justin Bua presiding.

Will the show screw itself by adding too many elements to an already-cool challenge? Not really! Pete draws from the BI version of the button bag, and the name he pulls chooses his/her opponent. Then, the picker throws out a word, and the pickee throws out another word, and both artists have to combine them in their pieces. Highlights include Joe turning his cap around and intensing, "Pistachio" (hee) and this exchange between Karly and Lara: "My word is window." "My word is collie." "As in the dog?" "As in the Hindu goddess of war [Kali, which the chyron edits on the spot]." You can guess whose pretensioso contribution that last one is; Karly's like, fine, bitch.

Alas, the drawing montage is too long and accompanied by generic thrash guitar, and Bua feels ways about colors and can't seem to deal with baby blue at all. He also announces that Danny's work feels "more like a graphic and less like a drawing" (what?) and "color will always win" (what?). Danny is all, …what?, but with more cursing.

Willy draws a tiger with pistachio eyes -- including a pistachio third eye; amazing -- and wins again.

Ink Challenge

Pairs skate! One skin for every two artists -- and the pairs carry over from the Flash Challenge, so the peeps who picked weak opponents are now bummed out.

After Joe Capobianco stresses the importance of blending styles and unity, we hear at boring length from the skins about the things they've gone through to inspire their opposing-forces tattoos, and one lady has to talk about her abusive relationship in detail? It's important to get meaningful ink and not just pick some violet-tiger foolishness because all your friends have tats, but at the same time, the stories eat minutes and seldom stand out from one another, and making this woman relive her assault is not really okay.

Good comments in this section from Alayna, though, on how powerful it is to mark people for life, and Romeo and Danny hating on a fire-versus-water tattoo because 1) it's "two background elements" and 2) the skin has "Polynesian stuff" that's hard to blend with.


Karly struggles to make her voice heard over Lara's, and kind of fails; Lara throws in a blue haze around her half of their black/white swan tat, and Karly doesn't, plus Lara gets salty about Karly inking at the same time because it pushes down on the skin's, er, skin and stretches it. May May and Amy's collabo starts off well, and May May's feeling that switching midway to make sure their styles meld is a good one, but she soon slides into a passive-aggressive funk when Amy's insistent on blending a yellow and misunderstands where they'd agreed on bold lines. May May flounces off to have a cigarette.

Izzi can't pronounce Alayna's name correctly, but she's happy to let Alayna do pretty much everything except the shading.

In the lounge, May May prims that Amy needs to learn how to speak to other artists. Oh, you mean condescendingly? Like that? Good tip, Whiny The Elder. Amy and everyone else make "…srsly?" faces.

Biggest Gap Between Challenge Brief And Tattoo Art

Everyone's more or less on task. The least effective blending of two artists on one tat, to my eye, is Karly and Lara's swans.

Tattoo I Would Consider Copying

The work isn't great -- the lines are a tad shaky -- and I'd prefer it if only Amy worked on it because I think she's more on point with the old-time look, but the kangaroo/human boxing match is fun. They really got the retro look of the man, his mustache, and the font.

Client Who's Saving For Laser

The angel/devil pin-ups from Alayna and Izzi: yeesh. I don't care for that genre anyway, and the skin-tone shading looks like "Injun" makeup from a '40s movie that streaked in the rain.


As usual, Hannah Aitchison makes it educational for civilians when she talks about how tats lie along the body, and the movement in the "octopus eats pirate ship" work from Joe and Willy; I haaaaated that tat, especially the color choices Hannah raves about, but she made me see what she sees that's good, even if it's not my thing.

Sabina Kelley adds the insight that the pin-ups have different faces, which you don't often see.

In the end, the pirate ship wins despite a purple sky and green undifferentiated lightning bolts that look to me like the color scheme of a failed roller rink's VIP lounge. Amy, May May, and Izzi end up on the bottom.

Pete is wearing a studded baseball jacket that I really like, but it is probably for/from a lady.

Quote Du Jour

Joe is so over May May's whinging, he has a cruising altitude: "I have done collaboratives and I understand where you're coming from, but realistically I don't fuckin' care." Amen, my bowling-pin-shaped brother.

Crackerjack Or Memento?

A very good challenge that raised interesting conflicts besides personality ones (i.e., Darnell and Romeo's lefty-righty match-up they kept bonking into each other's wrists), and the elimination of Izzi, who in predictably graceless fashion had absolutely nothing to say after she got the boot, not even "thank you." Didn't say goodbye, just peaced out.

So, we say so long to that bitchface, but outstanding candidates for S3 villain remain in the persons of Lara the steamroller and May May the dithering drama queen. A little Flash-heavy, but still more Memento than Crackerjack.

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