If you can’t handle the heat, then it’s best to back out of the “Ink Master” competition. Seasoned tattoo artists are making mistakes, and newbies are rising to extreme challenges. Thirteen contestants remain in the running for the $100,000 grand prize and the title of “Ink Master” … but one more artist will lose his or her chance at the cash in episode 6.
Episode 6 kicks off following Earl’s elimination after episode 5, and Dave is not happy that his mentor got sent home. He feels like Earl wears his heart of his sleeve, and that Kruseman should have been sent packing after he failed to complete the last challenge. But can Dave avenge his mentor? Winning the flash challenge will put him in the right direction.
This week the flash challenge tests the foundation of a strong tattoo – lines. Each contestant must engrave a dogū , a small clay human-like figure from Japanese culture. The dogū must showcase each artists line work. And the catch is that they’ll be working alone. This means that the sole winner will have the power to assign all the human canvases.
With three hours on the clock, the contestants get to work. Kito feels the pressure, especially since this is judge Chris Nunez’s specialty. Meanwhile, Craig feels like he’s got the upper hand on St. Marq because the artist (who has 25 years of experience) has yet to do a tattoo that features lines.
Chris, Matt and Kruseman are the top artists in the flash challenge, but in the end Chris comes out as the winner. He gets the opportunity to assign all the human canvases for the elimination tattoo – and Katy is hoping that Chris allows her to go head to head with St. Marq. Even though he has yet to show off his line work on “Ink Master,” St. Marq is confident that he could still tattoo circles around the other contestants. Katy wants to take him down a couple notches.
Like the flash challenge, the elimination tattoo also focuses on line work. This week, the artists must show off their skills by tattooing a Japanese koi fish. However, unlike previous weeks they won’t be tattooing head to head. Only one person will come out as the winner. And of course, there is one more twist. The contestants will be held to an “even higher standard” because they’ll be tattooing head to head with the special episode 6 guest judge, artist Mike Rubendall of King’s Avenue Tattoo. Rubendall specializes in Japanese, and as Chris puts it, “he’s going to murder every one of us.” The judges reveal that they must use an outline of a Koi fish that Rubendall designed, but it’s up to them to get creative with the scales, background, color, etc.
With six hours on the clock, the artists get to work after Chris assigns the human canvases. Poor Kito immediately runs into trouble with his picky canvas. She doesn’t want water on her tattoo and she’s nervous about getting inked. On top of that, she makes him repeatedly move the stencil for placement – and then says that his work looks like her niece drew it! Katy narrowly avoids a rough situation when her canvas decides he wants to switch the placement for his Koi fish. Fortunately she’s got Matt on her side. He helps convince the canvas to stick with the original spot.
When it comes to the critique, the artists get ripped apart. According to the judges, Tyler’s piece is simply not interesting. St. Marq’s background is too overpowering and he somehow managed to duck out on the line work. Big Ceeze complains that Japanese isn’t his “style,” and Chris Nunez tells him that the title of “Ink Master” is not for him then. Meanwhile, Kito tries to place the blame of his bad tattoo on his canvas, but the judges tell him that his layout was awful.
In the end, the top three pieces of the day go to Matt, Kruseman and Erik. But there can be only one winner, and Matt takes that title.
So, who will be eliminated? Kito, Big Ceeze, Marisa and Dave get called out for the worst tattoos of the day. Surprise, surprise, the human canvas jury determines that Kito had the worst tattoo of the day. Although the judges find flaws with everyone’s work, they are unable to look past Kito’s mistakes. He’s eliminated in episode 6, leaving 12 artists in the running for the “Ink Master” title.