Oh yes, the nerd has emerged 100 percent with local tattoo artist, Sarah Miller, shining on the “Star Wars” themed episode of “Ink Master” last Tuesday.
“I was totally like a kid in the candy store,” said Miller. “I love 'Star Wars'!”
The show opened with the bottom artist, Mark Matthews, returning to the room where the rest of the contestants were obviously shocked to see him. It’s become abundantly clear over the last several episodes that several contestants are gunning for Matthews and Kay Kutta to be eliminated.
With the focus on contrast this week, the powers that be at “Ink Master” could think of nothing better to highlight the challenge than an entire episode devoted to “Star Wars” and the discovery of two total nerds on the show—Miller and Clint Cummings. The flash challenge began with an army of Stormtroopers marching toward the contestants that sent Miller and Clint into a geek frenzy!
“I didn’t have my glasses on and I could barely see with the sun,” said Miller. “Seeing the storm troopers was a huge surprise to me and I nerded out hardcore!”
The contestants were charged with painting a Stormtrooper helmet demonstrating contrast. These helmets would later be auctioned off for charity after the show’s air date. While the contestants were not required to stick to the “Star Wars” theme for the challenge, Miller and Cummings unleashed their inner nerds for a total “Star Wars” inspired design.
“I actually LOVED this assignment,” said Miller. “I thought it was really cool to get a chance to paint a subject matter that I was familiar with.”
The contestants choose to paint a variety of designs demonstrating their ability for contrast. While some contestants rose to the occasions, other quickly became a disaster when they tried to tackle too much design in the allotted time. In the end, it was Cummings, Miller and Jesse Smith who stood at the top with the ultimate winner being Cummings with his amazing design of an epic battle scene from the film. Though Miller did receive encouraging comments from the judges about her use of contrast and choice of designs.
“I liked a lot of what everyone did,” said Miller. “Clint’s helmet was really good. I can see where the judges were coming from with their comments and I kinda agree. Still a tough loss!”
During post-challenge interviews, the producers did some crafty questioning and cutting during the interviews with Cummings and Miller to show some playful banter which appeared as though they were interviewed side-by-side. Naturally , this prompted me to inquire if Cummings could actually hear Miller yelling at him on the set.
“Ha ha ha Im laughing at that question,” said Miller. “No, Clint couldn’t hear me yelling at him, but I thought it was funny the way they cut it. Comedy gold right there!”
When the contestants returned home to rest before the elimination challenge, Miller had a moment of weakness and started to break down. Cummings has declared war on Miller and it appears the stress of the competition has begun to weigh heavily on her emotions.
“There was a lot you didn’t see,” said Miller. “Mainly I was just worn down and tired. There was a lot more conversation that was cut out, but we were all grumpy and burnt. I know now I was a tough threat but at the time I was very unsure about myself. I was always second guessing everything and I think my pessimism got to me.”
Oddly enough, several contestants have a belief that Miller has struggled with contrast. Even vocalizing their opinions to her in an attempt to get further under her skin and possibly pin her with a tough tattoo during the elimination challenge. In Miller’s eyes, the reality is a polar opposite with her truly embracing contrast as one of her best assets.
“I don’t struggle with contract at all,” said Miller. “I showed contrast in every one of my tattoos on the show. Light and darks are what make a tattoo pop and since I specialize in realism, I use it every day. What the judges were looking for was hyper contrast where there was little to no mid-tones. I think that the competition made me more critical of all my tattoos.”
For this week’s elimination challenge, the geeks rejoiced when they learned their tattoo theme was “Star Wars” yet again with each of their canvases requesting a film-inspired design. Miller was selected for a Stormtrooper design for a canvas that also participated as a Stormtrooper during the Flash Challenge. Talk about a dream come true for a geek!
Terry “bro” Browning was one of the stormtroopers that handed out the buckets in the flash challenge and he wanted a tattoo to represent his time in the 501st regiment. We were actually very cool with each other,” said Miller. “You saw me sit back in my chair quietly for a few minutes. I was contemplating a way to mesh our ideas. As soon as I started to explain what I had in mind he jumped on it and together we made his idea better than what he originally wanted.”
Overall, Miller was happy with her design and the tattoo went swimmingly for the canvas and the artist. While we didn’t see too much of Miller during the show, it seems the lack of screen time is a good sign things will go well for the artist because only conflict and drama sells!
“My tattoo went smoothly,” said Miller. “Terry sat like a trooper (ha ha!), his skin took the color perfectly and I finished with a few minutes to spare. Perfect challenge! I put so much of my energy into the tattoo that I was so drained at the end and I felt lethargic.”
Back in waiting room after the challenge, tempers instantly begin to flare as Tatu Baby begins complaining she’s never picked as a top tattoo. Kay Kutta then starts into her with the excuse that she’s not of the same caliber as the other artists.
Kay’s over confidence is beginning to annoy many of the contestants, include Miller, who was very unimpressed with his tattoo yet again this week. It was clear even before the judges comments that Kay would likely find himself back on the chopping block for another week.
“I knew that Kay had gotten a decently easy tattoo,” said Miller. “You would be able to put a highlight on an imperial guard to show contrast and I really didn’t think he had a tough challenge.”
As the contestants begin to discuss each of the tattoos, Smith’s comments to Miller have her second guessing her work, which eventually sends her into a small breakdown. However, during the critique, Miller was preparing for the reaming she normally gets from the judges. These three men are simply ruthless and leave no line, shade or color unturned as they pick apart each tattoo. When Miller’s turn came up, she was pleasantly surprised to find herself in the category of praise and a great review.
“I was preparing for the worse,” said Miller. “Jesse had told me I didn’t have enough contrast and I started doubting myself. His piece was sick! That’s when I started babbling on the couch about studying. The positive comments I got floored me, they loved my piece and Ollie praised it for five minutes. I started to have hope that I might win.”
In the end, someone has to be a winner and someone has to go home. This week’s top tattoos were Jamie Davies, Tatu Baby and Miller.
“I loved Jesse’s tattoo. Baby’s was good too,” said Miller. “I thought it could use tighter lines and the Chewbacca was TIGHT! I didn’t like Kay’s or Sebastian’s pieces. They were really dark and Mark’s was really dark too, but it was the best tattoo I saw him do in the competition.”
While all three artists created amazing work, it was ultimately Tatu Baby’s design that won for this week. In the bottom ranks were Kay Kutta, Mark Matthews and Steve Tefft for the first time.
"I was happy she got a win, ‘said Miller. “She pulled herself from the bad critique day one. I put everything I Had into my tattoo and it stunk a little. I’ve been noticing people saying that I’m a whiny cry-baby and you can’t win all the time. Um, yeah! I know that! But when you train and put yourself through difficult situations and your eyes are on the prize and you just fall that short to miss your goal of course you are going to be heartbroken. At the end of the day, I loved the work I did and so did my client.”
Ultimately, it is time for someone’s reign on the show to come to an end and it was (finally) Kay Kutta’s turn to go home. After landing in the bottom on more than one occasion, Kay Kutta does not have what it takes to be “Ink Master” and was finally sent packing. To say that a few people were happy to see him go may have been an understatement since he was a primary cause for conflict in the house.
“Kay and I didn’t see eye to eye all the time and I was frustrated with him a LOT,” said Miller. But he’s just a guy trying to win a game show. I wasn’t happy that he got his dreams taken away, but I thought that it was the right decision to make. His tattoo was the least contrasted and cluttered. Also, I was looking forward to not having to deal with him anymore.”
Next week has Miller a little apprehensive for the show since it’s not her favorite week. Teasers for the episode show a very emotional Miller fighting for her life in the elimination challenge. Could we see Miller land in the bottom spots this week? Tune in to see if she survives another night on “Ink Master” Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Spike TV! And don’t forget to vote for Miller each week on Spike TV because America’s votes will help decide the Season 2 winner at http://www.spike.com/shows/ink-master.