– Oh, hey there.
– Welcome, ladies. – How’s it going? – Welcome to Black Cobra. – We’re excited to be
in your neck of the woods. – Yeah. – We’ve got a lot
of talent in Little Rock. – Blake, one of our
artists here at Black Cobra, is competing today,
so that should be interesting. – Oh, representing
the home team.♪ ♪– I’m Blake Cranford.I’ve been tattooing
for five years.The style I do, it’s a mixtureof neo-traditional,
new school,a little bit of realism.I know there’s tattooers in
this areawith a lot of experience.I don’t have that,
but I have a lot more talent, and the sheer will to win. – Well, there he is. – I am assuming you are Blake. – I am.
– Got some big shoes to fill. – They taught me well. – We wish you the best of luck. Represent Black Cobra
really well. – We’ll see, we’ll see. – Good luck, man.
– Bye. – Thanks, you guys.
– See you guys later. – You work in such a cool
studio under two great artists. – Yeah, I’m a young tattooer, started at, like,
a street shop. Matt saw my drawings
and hired me. I learned a lot from all them. – How’s the tattoo scene
here in Little Rock? – Kind of old-school. For a long time,
shops had, like, weird rivalries, and like,
wouldn’t talk to each other. – It’s serious around here,
you mean. – So it’s not necessarily a
friendly sort of tattoo scene. – It’s crazy-ass
old tattooer dudes.♪ ♪– My name’s Chris Thomas.I’ve been tattooing 20 years.I specialize in high-contrast
black and gray.If you tattoo in Little Rock,
you know of Chris Thomas.And if you don’t,
it’s time you knew. – Well, this is going
to be interesting today. It’s always juicy when
it’s personal, you know? Hey.
– Hello, ladies. – How’s it going?
– How are y’all doing? – How are you?
– What’s up, man? – What’s up, dude?
– You know this guy? – No, he doesn’t know me. – I don’t know you;
I just know who you are. Matt used to work for him. – He walked out of my door
and opened this place. – So you’re coming
in heated already. – As soon as someone spawns
a shop from my studio that’s in the same area, you’re
taking food out of my mouth. At the end of the day,
this is how I feed my family and take care of everything. We’re not splitting hairs,
here. I’m tired of splitting hairs.♪ ♪– My name is Nick Peirce,and I’ve been tattooing
for eight years.I’m the best photo-realism
artist in central Arkansas.Being a tattoo artist
and being a Christian,I am different
from anybody else.I’m not in the normal, if there
is a normal in the industry. – This is already interesting
as it is, but we have even one more competitor coming in. – Oh, there he is, little lamb. – I’m here.
– Little lamb? – Oh, I just called him that
when he worked at my shop. – Oh, worked, past tense?
– Yeah. – I was just busier
than he was, and so I thought it was time
to step out, do my own thing. – He already had it planned, but he didn’t want to tell
the boss. – He packed up my stuff by
the door, had it ready for me. – Today seems like
it’s kind of personal. – I’d say it’s
a little bit personal. – Like, let’s tattoo. – All right,
you guys ready to get this [bleep] started? – I’m ready.
– Hell yeah. – Let’s do it. – There’s gonna be
two elimination tattoos, and one person’s gonna
be eliminated each round. – Sick.
– Whoever can survive all this madness and makes it to the end faces off against one of us. And if you can beat one of us, you get a spot on “Ink Master”
and a shot at $100,000. – What’s up?
That’s it. That’s it. That’s what we’re here for. – Wait till you hear this part. – The Angel that you have
to face off against is… Kelly Doty. – Hi.
– Surprise. – Hey, you guys,
I spend a lot of time indoors, basically just honing my craft. I don’t know if
that’s intimidating, but it’s all I have.
– Good luck. – It’s gonna be a good
one to go against, for sure. – I’m stoked on it. – Well, we’re bringing
the competition to you guys. You know,
your town actually got its name after a small rock formation
on the Arkansas River. But another little rock that Arkansas’s known for
is diamonds. Diamonds are actually
the state gem of Arkansas. – You guys are gonna have
two hours to tattoo any style, as long as it’s diamonds. – Whoo, that’s gonna be tough. – Lots of straight lines, lots
of angles, lots of highlights. – Lots of light.
– Well, your canvases have been randomly assigned, and they are completely open.
– Sweet. – And, as always,
we are going to be judging on very technical criteria, style, shading, outline,
and overall application. – I know you guys seem
confident, but at the end of the day, one
person is gonna be eliminated. – Somebody looks
a little nervous. – I’m in my shop.
I’m fine. – There’s a lot of facets
to this competition, and this is gonna be a hard one
to see which one of you shines
the brightest. [laughter] – Well, get set up and we’ll
send in your canvases. – Awesome.
– Good luck, guys.♪ ♪– All right, guys. You have two hours to tattoo
diamonds in any style. And your time starts now. – Put the stencil on you. – Tattooing a diamond is literally tattooing
an optical illusion.We want to see
that perfect geometry,the light source, the shadows.– That cool?
– Yeah.– We want to see those clean,
crisp lines.– That’s gonna look
really good right there.– I want you to convince methat what I’m looking at
is a diamond. – All right, girl.
You be good. We’ll make some nice lines
and win some [bleep].♪ ♪– Pulling out
some tricks over here. – What’s going on? – Little bit of realism, a
little bit of neo-traditional, to show a little versatility.My biggest distraction
right now is Chris.He taught me a lot of great
things,but there was another side
that was extreme,constant tension
in the shop.I just couldn’t
take it anymore.♪ ♪Too high. Being a Christian,
my faith is important to me, not only on a personal level,
but I want to set a good example for my kids,
how to work hard. – Go!– And go for your dreams.Whoo! – Since there is a little
bit of a rivalry happening, are you more motivated
to surpass Chris? – Absolutely. I think that’s
everybody’s goal. – Everyone wants
to surpass Chris. – That’s not a bad
to position to be in. Means you’ve got some good
[bleep] going on. – [bleep] no. You don’t think–
I didn’t earn that yesterday. It’s taken a long damn time.♪ ♪– Speedy McGees over here. – I just want it to look like a piece of art
and make it hold up.I know I can do
one hell of a diamond.This is my time.I’m here to crush this
[bleep].♪ ♪– It’s cold.
– It is cold. It’s a cold day by the river.To have someone like my wife
Joy beside me,she’s like the voice of reason. – Playtime.
– Time to run. Don’t mind all the other dogs. [barking] Look at Spike!
I’m just an asshole. I’m just crazy.
I’m just who I am. Why you got to act like me? – All right, you guys.
30 minutes left. – I don’t think
Blake’s gonna get done. I think he’s asleep.– Losing to both these guys
would besuper embarrassing to me,
honestly. I feel like I’m better
than them. If I win this,
I am one step closer to going up against one of my idols,
and tattooing against Kelly,which is like
a dream come true.♪ ♪All right,
kick this one off again. – Watch the master.– When I first started
tattooing,my parents were not
into it at all. My mom asked me multiple times
if I would go get a real job. – I’m going for these
easy ones.– If I win this competition,
this would make it seemto my parents that I have
chosen the right path,and that this is what I should
be doing. – You lose.
You lose, buddy. For somebody that’s so good
with their hands, you’re not very good
at this game.♪ ♪– Five, four, three, two, one. That’s it, stop tattooing! – Whoo, made it.
– Got it. – It’s like my favorite
diamond tattoo I’ve ever done. – That was a little bit
of an unexpected turnout. – I’m just gonna say it. Blake blew them
out of the water.– That top open area of the
diamond is so smoothwith that gradient from gray
to white. – It looks like he used a ruler
to make some of those lines. Meanwhile,
when I look at Chris’s,it’s hard to tell
what it is from far away.– The first thing that’s
distracting me from anythingelse is that swirly
background.– But I love that soft
pepper shading in there.At least he made an attempt ata really dynamic diamond,rather than a very stiff,
classic,here’s a diamond-shaped diamond
like Nick did.– I have no problems
with the applicationthat Nick showed us today.His linework is beautiful.His color is
perfectly saturated.– But would pearls and beads
on top of a diamond?I don’t know about that. – They both just
made wackadoodle choices. – This guy decided he was
gonna do a two-hour tattoo with 35 damn circles in them. – I feel like I stepped
outside the norm. – It ain’t about
stepping out the box. I ain’t trying
to do tricks, man. I’m trying to make a complete
piece that looks good,
stands off the damn skin, and everybody can tell what the
[bleep] it is. Not just some bull[bleep]
with your ten tricks. That’s all you’ve got
is ten different tricks, bro. Bro, you got an ant farm at the
bottom of that mother[bleep]. – It definitely sounds like
this is a little more personal than just this
competition. – It is.
– To be honest with you, we think three good tattoos
were done today. But there was a pretty clear
winner for today’s challenge. – Crystal clear. – The person that wins today’s
elimination tattoo is Blake. – Yes.
Hell, yeah. That’s what’s up. – That linework, the gradients
that you had in your shading, the softness in the flower, it’s killer, man. – Thank you. Being a young tattooer
and beating a guy that’s been tattooing for 20 years
and another guy that’s beentattooing longer than me
as well is super impressive.– It’s that’s what you choose,
that’s what it is. – Do you not agree? – I mean, you seem
a little salty about it. – I’m not salty about it. I just think I did the most
cohesive tattoo out there. – You picked probably
the most beautiful angle of the diamond to showcase.But it looked like
you attempted realismin the diamond,
and the background becamesomething completely different, and it was distracting. – I think he played it way more
safe trying to do all these tricks. He’s trying to make y’all,
like–it ain’t about tricks. – I didn’t just do a diamond. I made it flow
with the part of the body. It was more of
a feminine piece. – You did awesome work on that blue rendering of that diamond. But those little pearls
could’ve really used a solid outline around them. They just look kind of weak. – I did take more risks, which
I probably shouldn’t have. – The interesting thing that
puts you both in this rather precarious position
right now is your choices. – One of you will
be eliminated today. The artist that’s gonna
be eliminated today is…♪ ♪