Tattoo artists snark on celebrity tattoos

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Thank goodness for the Gatekeepers to remind everyone how to experience life.


Both Chris and Oliver are two of the best artists alive so they definitely would know good ink from bad. That being said on the show their bias is always front and center. Chris for Japanese and line detail and Oliver for his love and mastery of traditional American and heavy blacks.

They both hate on new school ink with a passion.


… says the guy with a really weird mustache and an extremely annoying toothpick hanging from his mouth.


I tried to look this up a bit. Does “new school” just mean using color?

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“New School” in as much as I’ve seen it, is anything that doesn’t have a traditional aesthetic of some kind, but generally tends toward graffiti / cartoon / pop culture.

These guys are very much about certain traditions in tattooing - Japanese and “American Traditional”, which aren’t really my bag. They know oodles and oodles as far as those go though.

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New School:

Traditional American - Oliver’s style:

japanese - Chris’ style:

They both totally dig on black and white realism ink too:


They have to be two of the most knowledgeable artists in the business…but their collective loathing for new school just baffles me. I get that it isn’t their thing, and I get that as a style it challenges some of the conventions they hold dear (form, anatomy, shading, color saturation)…but get over yourselves.

If you can tell me you like the bio-mechanical, watercolor, tribal, or abstract…then new school has got to have a place.

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I’d be curious to know their opinion on the current trend of ‘blackwork’ tattoos; I love the stuff being done by Ben Volt. I don’t have a tattoo but these make me want to get one.

The weirdest trend I see when I go to the beach around here are people with literal paragraphs of text in script font either wrapping around a thigh or on the lower back, usually a chapter of the Bible or a page from a favorite book. I saw dozens of them last time I was at Hampton Beach.


I knew a girl in college who tattooed her SSN on her thigh. I looked at her as she showed me all proud of herself, and I asked…ok, so two questions…

  1. Did you really thinking inking your SSN, something you should worry about keeping very secure, on your thigh for all to see was a good idea?
  2. Did you think tattooing a serial number on yourself was maybe a bit callous and insensitive? Can you think of any historical significance to having done that?

These two seem to rip into anything that isn’t TA, J, or B&W and Color Realism.

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Can someone please explain to me why anyone would choose to be a canvas for this tattoo show? Do they have any control or say over what gets permanently attached to them?

New school tattoos are inspired by graphic design and new media. Basically computers have become a new source for designs. Before that, it came from traditional flash, print media, photographs, etc. An example of new school is wireframe tattoos or tattoos with geometric shapes and patterns. Personally I love new school tattoos. It shows the evolution of the form and it’s connection to technology.

Yes and no.

Standard challenges, the canvas states what they want, and they know what style is being used on them prior to being on. They see what the artists have done up and they consult and confer to get mostly what they want. There is a balance here wherein the artist’s goal is to win the challenge, not necessarily satisfy the “customer”; however, there have been instances where canvases have walked out, and where unhappy canvases have made it known and the artists get dinged for it.

Smart artists know when to steer canvases away from bad choices and into situations that are beneficial to both of them.
Canvas: “Hey, its my first tat, and I want a pinup on my rib cage!!”
Artist: “Yeah, know. first, the ribcage is the most painful place to get ink, second you haven’t had one before and you have no idea how painful this can be, third, you want a pinup to be on a smooth large surface so the form holds…how about your thigh, calf, or shoulder instead.”

Now…in the final round when the 2 or 3 artists are vying for the title, they get a “master canvas”. That person is signing up for whatever the artists chooses to do. They spend weeks doing the pieces, to allow for time to heal given the volume of work. MOST of the artists get buy in from the canvas and work with them. One dude was awful though. He put this on a woman’s back, and he was blasted for doing it.


“When I saw her walk into the studio, I instantly thought the perfect image would be a zombie Stan Lee ripping his way out of her ribcage.”

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this dude said to another artist “If a canvas pisses me off, I just cut and hurt them more while I’m inking them”

Again…everyone else was like “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

I enjoyed watching Ink Master initially but as i watched more of the show i found the execution of the premise to be reprehensible. A tattoo is for most a life long commitment, and the majority of the tattoos done in the show are done under the clock, under pressure, and filmed for all to see. Most of the tattoos in the show are not all that good, and i’ve seen some artists on there go against the wishes of the person getting the ink and doing whatever they wanted.

I guess it’s what you get for opting to get a random free tattoo but it’s not the best representation of a difficult art form.


Aspiring sociopath goes into tattooing rather than knife murder because it involves fewer legal difficulties.


It looks like a pair of dudes with crappy tattoos complaining about other people’s crappy tattoos. Takes one to know one?

that’s a very ill-informed statement. I’d gather that you are a troll, or have zero ink or any knowledge of the industry.

Yeah. I don’t even think the overall message had to be particularly harsh - it’s just that the most critical bits were assembled together and the positive were cut out.

Also, I feel they might be a bit unfair to Bieber here (I can’t believe I said that) - It’s possible neither one of them ever played Super Mario World and understands what aesthetic is the style trying to depict.