Ink Master Season 12: A Rollercoaster of Emotions on Episode 13

Note: This post contains spoilers about Ink Master Season 12, episode 13.

We’re down to the final six contestants left on Ink Master Season 12. Three tattoo artists will head to the finale to compete for the $100,000 prize, while the other three will be sent home. 

This week, the producers and judges decided to pull on the heartstrings and toy with the emotions of EVERYONE with a do-good flash challenge and a nail-biting elimination tattoo. 

The episode started with the realization that at least one artist from the men’s team would secure a spot in the finale. Were the remaining women—Laura Marie and Dani Ryan—able to stop the bleeding and get closer to sending a female to the finish line? 

Let’s get into this week’s Ink Master recap.

Wheelchair Art: An Uplifting Flash Challenge

Up to this point in the competition, the flash challenges have served the teams and each individual artist. But this week, the competition took a turn for the good to benefit individuals in wheelchairs. 

The six canvases who were brought in for the flash challenge rely on wheelchairs in their daily lives. They live with a variety of conditions ranging from spina bifida and cerebral palsy to paralysis and leg amputation. Many of the canvases were children.

Wheelchair users were the recipients of flash-challenge art.

The artists were asked to design custom spoke guards each wheelchair. Once the canvases shared their stories, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even the traditional tough guys—like Pon and Jake—had tears in their eyes during this emotionally charged challenge. 

“We’ve been in this competition for so long, and every step of the way has all been based on selfish needs to get to the end,” said Creepy Jason. “And now we’re at a point where we can actually do something for someone else. That feels good.” 

The artists consulted with their canvases and worked on painting the spoke guards with elements that each canvas requested. 

Pon’s canvas, a young girl who had her legs amputated when she was just 14 months old, requested designs that incorporated the Statue of Liberty and her dog. Cam’s canvas, who was paralyzed in a car accident, just wanted a feminine, ornate design to spruce up her set of wheels. Jake’s canvas, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, wanted something that brought awareness to her disease and also included her pets.

Every single artist delivered for their canvases. The smiles and looks on their faces when the artwork was revealed gave us such a good feeling that we forgot we were watching an often drama-filled, cut-throat television competition. We hope producers and show creators will continue to include challenges like this in the future. 

While the judges were complimentary of all of the flash-challenge designs, Pon was picked as the winner because he strategically incorporated all of his canvas’ requirements into an artistic, finished product. The win gave Pon the opportunity to assign all skull picks during the elimination tattoo.

Elimination Tattoo: Up to Their Necks in Troubles 

For this week’s elimination tattoo, the remaining artists were asked to complete back-of-the-neck tattoos. The judges picked this placement due to its challenging nature. The sensitive area can swell easily and it’s difficult to pull straight lines in this particular spot. 

While most of the asks from the canvases were pretty straightforward, one man wanted a trash-polka eagle—probably the trickiest request, given the placement. Pon didn’t waste any time giving the trash-polka piece to Dani, who had to ask around about the particular style. 

Cam also didn’t love Pon’s skull picks. He was gunning for a canvas that wanted a mandala design, but Pon gave that piece to Laura. Cam, instead, got stuck with a full-color sacred heart. And unlike his previous tactics, he didn’t try to convince his canvas to change the design to a black-and-grey piece. 

You could definitely see the pressure getting to the artists. Even strong contenders like Creepy Jason started second-guessing himself and making mistakes. 

During judging, Laura, Jake, and Pon all received mostly positive reviews. With her mandala design, Laura won tattoo of the day, giving the women the opportunity to select someone for elimination. 

Dani and Laura decided to send Cam down to the bottom, strategically knowing that Dani had a better chance defending her work against Cam than Creepy Jason. 

Cam, Dani, and Jason were all in the bottom, and the judges ultimately decided that the contest was really between Cam and Dani to go home. Jason’s tattoo got a pass and he was deemed safe for another week.

The judges had a difficult time deciding between both tattoos. While all three judges agreed that Dani’s tattoo had some serious design flaws, they couldn’t fault her solid lines and smooth shading. Even though Cam’s tattoo was appealing to look at, the judges picked it apart for a lack of color saturation, skin trauma, and inconsistencies. 

Whether you love or hate the judging panel of Peck, Nunez, and Navarro, you have to give them credit for being consistent. Time and time again, when faced with a difficult debate, they wind up sending home the tattoo with the biggest technical application challenges. And that’s exactly what happened this week. 

Although Dave Navarro picked Dani to go home, both Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez voted for Cam, solely based on how he applied his tattoo this week. 

Cam Pohl leaves Ink Master Season 12.

We’re honestly shocked that Dani skated and even more surprised that the judges actually sent Cam home. We assumed that with all of his bravado, swagger, and solid work, Cam would be one of the finalists. He was obviously gutted to go.

“I wanted to be the person at the top. I’ve spent my entire life trying to prove that I belong there and I thought that this was finally my opportunity to do it,” Cam said during his exit interview. “That’s not the way the cards worked out for me. It sucks, but I tried. I just wish that was enough.”

You can follow along with Cam’s work on his Instagram account

Now, here’s hoping that Dani and Laura can stick it out and put two women in the Ink Master Season 12 finale. Only a couple of episodes remain. Stay tuned!

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