On October 9, if you turn on Spike TV at 10:00 p.m., you might just see a familiar Pittsburgh face on the tube – Ms. Sarah Miller of Wyld Chyld Tattoo in Pittsburgh – who will be competing with 15 other contestants on Season 2 of “Ink Master.”
After rave reviews from Season 1, “Ink Master” returns with a new cast of amazing tattoo artists and a few twists to the competition. Miller will be among some of the best artists from around the country battling for a $100,000 cash prize and the bragging rights title of “Ink Master.” And this year, America gets a say in the winner!
“It was really a great experience,” said Miller. “But it’s cutthroat with the competition. You really compete against the best. We encouraged and helped each other though.”
With six years of tattoo experience under her belt, Miller has a background and passion for classical art. Prior to tattooing, Miller had a thriving career in graphic design and illustration. As a tattoo artist, her true love and specialty is realistic art portraits and pin-ups. Although the competition was grueling, Miller took many lessons learned and applied them to her daily life at her studio.
“On the show, I found tattooing less stressful because I only had to concentrate on one tattoo at a time,” said Miller. “I felt it took my art to a whole new level and allowed me to focus on every little detail. Now that I’m home with distractions, I’m still tattooing at a higher level.”
In true reality television competition, “Ink Master” puts tattoo artists to the test with weekly challenges and themes that could have these veterans of the needles shaking, squirming and complaining week after week. Thrown together to live under one roof, naturally tempers flare and words are thrown as the pushes people’s mental and physical abilities.
“The show challenged me more than I ever thought,” said Miller. “Tempers wear thin when you’re going day to day and pushing you to the limit. You either have to deal or you break.”
This year’s challenges focus on techniques such as shading, lines and proportion, styles including photorealism, tribal and even Miller’s specialty, Pin-Up on a variety of canvas types and ideas. Each tattoo is critiqued by a panel of judges ready to make the artists squirm such as Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, renowned tattoo artist Chris Nunez of “Miami Ink” and Oliver Peck of Elm Street Tattoo.”
“Chris picked on me the most,” said Miller. “Dave was very mellow and very much like a customer – either he liked it or not. Oliver was the one I clashed with the most. He saw my potential. When he pointed out things he didn’t like, he was only trying to push us to do better.”
Of course, tattoos aren’t just pencil drawings you can erase when you’re not happy – these masterpieces last a lifetime. When faced with grilling competition and lengthy hours filming, it’s no surprise a few mistakes will be made. Even with mistakes though, lessons for her business continue to remain present.
“Before I was working every day for 12-hours a day when I opened the shop,” said Miller. “I poured myself into the business and this show made me realize I needed some time off. The show taught me to slow down. You can be fast and awesome or you can slow down and be amazing.
Tattoos change people’s lives quite literally by adding things to their body. The show taught me to slow down,” said Miller. “You can be fast and awesome or slow down and be amazing.”
While it’s business as usual for Miller in her studio working with clients, with the premiere upon us life is likely going to change. Although she couldn’t elaborate greatly, Miller did hint that she had an arch nemesis on the show, who despite amazing talent just really clashed with her. Whether it was the heat of the competition or just sheer personality clashes, you can be the judge as the season unfolds tonight with a premiere of epic proportions.
“The first show will blow the entire first season out of the water,” said Miller. “It’s really sink or swim. This is extreme tattooing.”
Unfortunately Miller can’t spill all the dirty little secrets before the show premiere so we’ll just need to watch and wait. Though premiere trailers on the website have landed the cast at a morgue for their first flash challenge because quite frankly, bodies don’t move!
For those in the area, Miller will be hosting a viewing party for the show premiere on October 9 at the Brookline Pub next to her studio. There will be drink specials, meet and greets with all the artists of Wyld Chyld and the first two episodes airing back to back. The event will also features raffles and a 50/50 benefitting Children’s Hospital with prizes, gift certificates, t-shirts and much more from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Set those DVR’s to record “Ink Masters” this week and every week so we can cheer on our home town girl, Sarah Miller, and watch as she puts Pittsburgh on the tattoo map and falls head over heels for Rock Star Energy Drink during the show. If you like what you see, Miller is currently booking appointments but I encourage you to call quickly because she’s already scheduled into January and once the premiere hits that waiting list will just continue to grow.
Check back each week because I’ll be bringing you all the dirt from behind the scenes from Miller herself after each episode and rallying fan votes if she makes it to the finale. You won’t want to miss a story!