Jesse Smith, owner of Carytown's Loose Screw Tattoo, debuts this month on the latest season of Ink Master, a sort of Project Runway for tattoo artists airing on Spike. Smith will be one of 15 contestants vying for a grand prize of $100,000 and an editorial feature in the magazine Inked.
Smith explains that Ink Master contacted him about being a contestant on the show. "The thing that ended up swaying my decision in the end was that I knew that if I didn't do it, I would always wonder what it would have been like," says Smith, who realized that this could make his art visible to audiences across the country.
While on the show, Smith had the opportunity to speak with the host, former Jane's Addiction guitarist — and tattoo enthusiast — Dave Navarro. Smith says he was surprised by how nice Navarro was. "He showed a lot of respect towards the artists and made it clear that all of his criticism stemmed from a collector's perspective," Smith says. "He left the technical critiques up to the other two judges."
The new season starts Oct. 9 with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. on Spike.