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First, I just wanted to say congratulations to Jake, Dave and the guys for their 100th episode. I wanted to thank Jake for bringing me on. I have not been with you guys for the entire journey, but I have enjoyed my part so far. I look forward to and hope I will be right there with you when you complete 100 more episodes, because I truly believe you are doing some good work for both the tattoo industry as a whole and the up and coming artist.
That said, I wanted to tell Dave that I truly want to just hug him for his rant/tangent in episode 100 where he echoes 100% of my sentiments on most of the tattoo themed shows out there. I like that he particularly singles out Ink Masters. Unfortunately, the popularity of these shows in general is a pretty big misrepresentation of the business and lifestyle as a whole. However, I would like to point out that it wasn’t always that way. First, I have to give my obligatory melancholy flashback.
I know you probably get tired of me making reference to experiences in Japan, but they comprise some of the most foundational elements of how I became intertwined with the world of tattooing that I almost always go back to those memories. Today I have to talk about my harem. Ok, so it is kind of a joke, but I do still refer to them as my Aussie harem. As I was on a program with a lot of foreigners from English speaking countries, the ones I was closest to just happened to end up being a large group of friends who were mostly from Australia. Of that group, a small faction of the girls came to me wanting me to take them to get tattoos at the place they knew I was spending a great deal of my weekends. Naturally, I obliged.
The Saturday I took them all to Three Tides just happened to be during an off month for their regular spot that Chris Trevino filled. In his place was another guest artist from the states. I think two of the girls ended up getting work by him while all the others were dispersed to the Japanese artists. One of the girls liked the guy so much that she went back and got another piece from him before he returned to the states. His name was Chris Garver.
I have to admit, he was the main reason I started watching Miami Ink a year or two later when it first started. I also have to admit that for all its faults, it started very well in how it represented things. It showed some partying and outside life of the artists, but it portrayed things in the shop really well. There was good interaction between artists and clients. The shop was clean and well presented. I liked how it showed our world. I liked how it showed the best of our world.
Unfortunately, at some point the producers probably decided that they needed to reach a larger audience and that the lure of tattoos by themselves would only go so far. So they decided to do what all reality shows do, create drama. You see, these were all seasoned artists who knew how to run a shop and avoid most of the drama pitfalls that can complicate things. They did their job a little too well, so the powers that be decided to shake things up by killing two birds with one stone, or should I say one “Kat”? By bringing in Kat Von Deet, they brought in a sex appeal and a drama catalyst that kept the show going until I’m guessing that the guys who actually had stake in the shop got fed up. Because at some point, our entertainment began to get in the way of their actual business and identity as artists. Thus you saw a rise in Kat’s own show and a decline in the original show that started the whole trend.
In direct competition with Kat was another show called Inked, which took a nontattooer who wanted to open a shop and his inexperience led to that show’s producers being able to set the whole atmosphere from the start. Whether it was Kat’s uncanny magnetism for drama or a growing line of shows that seem to place celebrity nontattooers in a role of hosting or running a drama baited train wreck, we still end up with the more current catastrophes such as the one Dave was ranting about in episode 100, Ink Masters.
I promised Jake I would not get too carried away, because like Dave, I could seriously rant all day about how miffed this topic gets me. I pretty much hate all tattoo reality shows. If you want more specifics as to why, watch episode 100 and let Dave tell everything I would say while you enjoy getting a little background and history of our overall journey. So I will sign off with the advice that you should just give Dave Navarro and Kat Von D a rest. If you want to see a show with a hot tattooed chick, watch Blind Spot, then thank me later.
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Till next time,