Ink Master Season 12: The Men Stitch Up Loose Ends on Episode 6

Please note: This post containers spoilers about Ink Master Season 12, episode 6.

After losing team member Pony Wave on episode five, the women remaining in the Ink Master competition felt shaken, but not defeated. 

Sure, they still didn’t have a tattoo of the day under their belts and there was some inner-team conflict that caused drama between Ash and Alexis, but they were still one team member ahead of the men.

In the beginning of episode six, the women were shown putting their differences aside and vowing to work as a team to keep the lead. But was it enough to give them a win? Let’s get into our weekly recap.

Armored-Up for the Flash Challenge

In this week’s flash challenge (yes, the flash challenge was reinstated this week as usual) the name of the game was consistency. How do you show consistency in tattooing, you ask? By engraving an entire suit of armor with intricate designs.

Both teams were tasked with decorating a metal suit of armor with the objective of the finished product looking like one artist was responsible for the whole thing. 

Duffy Fortner and Sausage return to coach the teams on Ink Master Season 12

Former Ink Master contestants, Duffy Fortner and Sausage, were brought back as coaches to help their respective teams throughout the episode—starting with carving up some metal. 

The men’s team, led by Duffy, quickly settled on a plan and began to work in an assembly-line fashion. Each artist worked on a specific skill—drawing, engraving, or shading—to keep the look uniform on all pieces of the suit. 

The women’s team, while not as strong out of the gate, also developed a cadence for completing the challenge. At the end of the allotted six hours, both teams revealed nicely decorated pieces that were complemented by the judges. However, due to the readability and overall consistency of the men’s team design, the guys won the flash challenge and were awarded skull picks during the elimination tattoo. 

Elimination Tattoo: Confounded by Cross-stitch 

When it comes to elimination tattoos on Ink Master, the asks are usually pretty normal by tattoo standards—traditional pin-ups, black-and-grey portraits, something Japanese. 

But tonight, the judges threw all the contestants for a loop when they asked for cross-stitch tattoos. 

We’ve got to admit—it was fun watching the faces of all the artists when the challenge was announced. The reactions were all pretty priceless, as evidenced below:

Some of the artists had no idea what cross-stitch was. They looked at Dave Navarro like he was speaking in tongues or wearing a color other than black. Kudos to the producers who came up with this one. 

A few of the artists proved that they were paying attention to their grandmothers’ craft projects. Cam played with different styles by creating a cross-stitch hand with a realistic eye in the center, all in black and grey. Janelle also combined realism with cross-stitch with a cool and colorful lion-face design. And Dani tattooed a floral sternum piece that looked like it belonged on a doily at the country fair. 

At the end of the day, Cam wound up winning tattoo of the day, continuing the winning streak for the men’s team. If you ask us—Dani was fucking robbed. 

The majority of the other artists had a difficult time. Pon, who assigned himself a head tattoo after feeling confident from his win last week, had trouble pulling consistent lines; Jake tried to blend a realistic skull with cross-stitch accents and failed on both accounts; and Ash’s dinosaur tattoo was tonal and didn’t incorporate enough cross-stitch pattern. 

Ashley also struggled this week, in part, due to her canvas. The woman originally wanted a gothic fairy on her ribs, but Sausage helped convince the canvas to change the placement. Unfortunately, the change in placement didn’t help. The judges criticized Ashley’s design for having a busted face and confusing cross-stitch details that looked more like pixels than threaded needle work. 

As a side note—did everyone catch the awesome Kelly Doty tattoo Ashley’s canvas had on her right shoulder? That piece looked flawless!

Ashley’s canvas rocking a Kelly Doty tattoo.

When all was said and done, Ashley, Ash and Jake were sent to the bottom for elimination. While all the judges agreed that Jake’s tattoo was a “bummer,” Ash and Ashley were the ones fighting to remain in the competition.

The judges just couldn’t look past the confusing design choices of Ashley’s tattoo and ultimately sent her home, evening out the teams once again. 

Ashley Anoneison Ink Master elimination

We are huge fans of Ashley’s work, which is a far cry from the tattoo she presented this week on Ink Master. Her black and grey realism tattoos, which she produces in her private studio in New Hampshire, are flawlessly executed and really beautiful. Check out her Instagram to see her a real representation of her work. 

“I was somebody who was told that I would never become a tattoo artist. It was my passion and I made it into my career,” Ashley said before she left the show. “I definitely wasn’t going to leave here without a fight. And I’m probably not going to take up embroidery as a hobby.”

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