Ink Master Season 12: New School Surprises on Episode 8

Please note: This post contains spoilers about Ink Master Season 12, episode 8.

We’re nearing the half-way point of Ink Master Season 12, and things are really getting interesting. With just 11 artists remaining in the competition, tensions are building as the dynamics of the gender-based teams begin to shift. 

New alliances have formed. Tears have been shed. Pon keeps wearing ridiculous shirts and NO ONE IS SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. 

And as a note of minor importance (yeah, we’re dramatically underselling it), two powerhouse tattoo artists, Jime Litwalk and Kelly Doty, came back to coach the teams in one of the challenges we’ve all been waiting for—New School tattoos. 

When you find out Jime Litwalk and Kelly Doty are coaches.

There were some pretty big surprises this week, so let’s get into the recap.

Flash Challenge: Color Theory with 11,000 Ink Caps

With the return of flash challenges this week, the judges decided to test color theory by making the teams create legible, large-scale designs by filling up canvases covered with 11,000 tattoo ink caps. To make the artwork, the artists were given only primary-colored ink and forced to mix colors to get the right tones and shades. 

The men’s team immediately let Kelly take the reins and they settled on a lantern and moth design to show a bright light source against a dark background. The women’s team also did a moth-themed design, but had the winged body, which they accented a jewel, take up the full canvas. 

The women’s team excelled at this challenge right out of the gate. Janelle worked hard to mix all the colors, and quickly earned the nickname of “color wizard” on her taem. She even got a shout out from Jime for being “spot on” in her mixing abilities. 

The judges gave both teams high scores for how they used color to produce the end results. And while Dave Navarro liked the risks taken by the men’s team, Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck chose the women as the flash-challenge winners. 

The flash challenge win allowed the female team to assign the skull picks for the elimination tattoo. 

Shifting Alliances 

As more artists are eliminated each week, the remaining tattooers are slowly starting to reevaluate the alliances they have in the house. Although the competition is officially men vs. women, the lines are starting to blur and artists are beginning to cross enemy lines.

Cam, Jason, and Laura seem to have formed their own support system in the house. “I think we have a different team going on here,” Laura said. 

Cam, Laura, and Jason form an alliance.

This week, they discussed the need keep each other in the house because they respect each other as artists. Laura admitted that she doesn’t have a lot of influence as only one person on her team—especially since the women have been gunning for Cam from the very beginning. 

Additionally, Jake, Holli, and Ash were seen discussing the opportunity to get Cam sent home—a proposition that Jake seemed on board with. 

While the drama of alliances seems relatively tame at this point, it looks like things will continue to heat up, based on the preview for next week’s episode. It looks like the alliances and team backstabbing are here to stay, and we have to wonder if they’ll start to impact the outcome of the game.

Elimination Tattoo: The Women Crush New School Day

For this week’s elimination tattoo, the artists were challenged with creating bright, bold New School designs based on their canvas’s requests. The women did not disappoint as they doled out some truly terrible skull picks to both Cam and Fon. 

Fon, a phenomenal black-and-grey tattoo artist, struggled from the start. His canvas wanted a horse sitting on a cowboy, and Fon had difficulty at the drawing board. He lost precious time trying to get the illustration right and had to rush to finish the tattoo. 

Cam was challenged to make a rat in a spaceship with a wizard being beamed up. The canvas initially wanted the piece on his ribs or stomach, but Cam convinced him to change the placement to his upper arm. Despite Kelly’s direction to punch in the color and make it more vibrant, Cam went his own way and wound up with a muted palette. 

The women, on the other hand, were confident in their designs. And can we just take a moment to appreciate Mr. Jime Litwalk as a coach. He bounced around between everyone and gave each artist practical advice for improving their designs or applying the color. He especially helped Ash in her technique, and she called him “the best coach ever.”

Unfortunately, Kelly Doty was absent from the judging portion of the episode due to a family emergency, and we definitely missed her wry commentary—plus, it was a little awkward to see Jime sitting in a chair all by himself. 

During critiques, judges had nothing but compliments to give the female artists. When all was said and done, it was Alexis who FINALLY took home tattoo of the day for the women’s team with her tropical Big Foot design. 

The women formed a jury of peers and strategically placed Cam in the bottom—knowing that Fon was likely a sure bet to be up for elimination. The judges called Cam, Jake, and Fon down for final deliberation.

While the judges found major problems in Jake and Cam’s tattoos, they ultimately decided to send Fon home. 

Fon “closes shop” on Ink Master Season 12

It just goes to show that artists who specialize in one particular style have a hard time making it to the end of Ink Master. While Fon may be an incredible black-and-grey artist, he couldn’t produce a New School tattoo to keep him in the competition. 

“This opportunity was a big step for me. I did it for my daughter, I did it for my family,” he said before leaving his work station. “Everything I put in here, I’m just going to apply it when I go back home and prove that I have what it takes to be an Ink Master in the real world.”

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