After just a few episodes of Ink Master, it quickly becomes clear who among the contestants are the most talented. Of course, trying to rank the amazing artists and their tattoos is nearly impossible for the casual viewer’s untrained eye. Thankfully, we have Dave Navarro to explain to us why certain works deserve more praise than others.
“Every season, Ink Master produces some of the greatest art I’ve ever seen,” Navarro told the network. He sat down with Spike — now the Paramount Network — to list the best tattoos from the first seven seasons of Ink Master. Here are Dave Navarro’s picks for the best tattoos in order of seasons, as well as his pick for his favorite tattoo artist on the show.
Season 2: Tatu Baby’s Baker Pinup
Tatu Baby, aka Katherine Flores, was a fan-favorite artist during the show’s second season. She even made it the final four of the competition before being eliminated. Her absolute stand-out work came during the sixth episode of the season. It depicted a detailed baker pinup in beautiful black and grey.
“It was absolutely breathtaking,” Navarro pointed out. Tatu Baby would rejoin the show in its third season and ultimately took third place.
Season 2: Sarah Miller’s Portrait of a Little Boy
Sarah Miller was determined to create one of the most detailed portraits the Ink Master judges had ever seen, and she absolutely succeeded with her portrait of a smiling child.
“One of the things that’s very difficult about children, they don’t have as many facial features and lines and things to emulate in the tattoo,” Dave Navarro explained. “To capture that child’s face, she did an amazing job on that. Beautiful black and grey layers.”
Sarah Miller ultimately ended up taking second that season, finishing behind Navarro’s next pick.
Season 2: Steve Tefft’s Gorilla Portrait
Steve Tefft ultimately won the show’s second season, so it’s no surprise to see him on Navarro’s list. Tefft’s incredible portrait of a roaring King Kong was absolutely stunning and depicted the massive ape crushing a plane in his first while exposing his terrifying teeth.
Dave Navarro went so far as to call it “so impressive that we were all pretty sure that he was going to be the one to take down the entire competition, just after seeing the gorilla.”
Season 4: Halo and Scott Marshall’s Carousel Horse Collaboration
This is a surprising choice, as collaborations don’t always work out for the best. Halo and Scott Marshall smashed this one out of the park, though. The two artists created a stunning carousel horse’s head with beautiful detailed green tentacles as its mane.
Dave Navarro described the work as “not only a stunning tattoo, but it was really cool to see great artists collaborate together and work on a cohesive design.”
Dave Navarro’s Most Impressive Artist
Of course, since art will always be subjective, it’s not exactly accurate to call any one artist the best or most talented. There are still standards for judgement, however, and Dave Navarro could only think of one artist that topped those standards.
“With Ink Master, what we’re looking for is an artist who can handle all genres, all styles. One artist consistently delivered strong tattoo after strong tattoo, and that artist was Scott Marshall, hands down.”
It’s nearly impossible to single out a single one of Marshall’s tattoos as the best, although his successful collaboration is a special case. When it comes to just Marshall alone, it becomes much more difficult to figure out which piece is at the top. The late tattooer was truly a one-of-a-kind artist, and we’re lucky to have been able to watch him on Ink Master.
“I would say that Scott Marshall’s body of work speaks for itself,” Dave Navarro explained. “I mean, no matter what the challenge was, no matter what we asked of him stylistically, he delivered every single time.”