Joshua Hibbard is one of the most competitive tattoo artists to grace episodes of Spike TV’s hit reality series “Ink Master.” Hibbard’s eye-catching talent mixed with his quickness to point out flaws in the work of his competitors earned him much attention during season three. Now Joshua Hibbard is back on season five for “Ink Master Rivals.” Hibbard has been a dominant force in newest “Ink Master” season and is looking like the one to beat. The seasoned tattoo artist and studio owner took a few moments to speak to Examiner so be sure to check out what Joshua Hibbard had to say.
SF: How is season 5 different for you than season 3 now that you’re a seasoned veteran?
JH: Well it’s different because of my perspective. I have experience now and I’ve been through the craziness. I now know more about what to expect. Personally, mentally and emotionally I’ve already been through this competition. When you get into a situation that is new, you see things a certain way. The reality TV mental warfare game worked a lot less on me this time because I knew what to expect.
SF: Is there more competition this season than in season 3 of “Ink Master?”
JH: I think that there are a lot more people in season 5. I think that the top artists in season 3 were better than the top artists in season 5. I think this season is less challenging. I really wanted to win season 3 because I thought it was a good competition and there were good artists. If I would have won, I would have felt really great about that. This season is not like that. Win or lose, it’s not going to say anything about me to win. It’s not a strong test of my talent to go against these f***ing idiots. I had to find a whole reason within myself to try. I wanted to see what I was capable of. You’ll see the change where it’s me doing what I need to do for tattoos then there’s a moment where I just say I am done and I start to do the biggest, craziest s*** that I could do. I decided to stop caring that there were other people there and started competing against myself.
SF: Do you and Jason (Clay Dunn) really hate each other or are you buying each other beers after the show tapes?
JH: We’re definitely not long term friends or anything like that. He fueled some of the crap that happened and arguments that happened during season 3. Did we leave hating each other? I don’t know. The reality of it is that they wanted to bring me back for the show. They said this is f****** rivals and I said ‘Please don’t make it be Jimi.’ He’s not an intelligent debater. Please let it not be Jimi. When they called me back they said my rival would be Jason.
SF: You’re one of the artists that fans love to hate. You’ve been an instigator in season 3 especially and somewhat in season 5 so far. How do you feel about that?
JH: In that environment only… When you’re in a competition and the other guy is saying ‘Hey f*** you’ then you have to be able to say f*** you back and you have to have the talent to back it up. In the studio I’m a normal person but I’m really good at certain things. One of those would be debating. I’m not going to stutter and worry about what I’m going to say.
SF:Who is your biggest competition this season?
JH: I really like Cleen’s work but he doesn’t see the competition in the same way that I do. I think he has a really good ability but he’s never seen the show before. There have been a couple times he’s been really nervous and then at the last minute did a really great tattoo.
SF: Would you let him tattoo you?
JH: Oh yeah…
SF: Tell me about your new shop, do you like running your own place?
JH: It’s awesome! It’s really private. I call it a speak easy because I don’t even have a sign. I just spray paint stenciled the word ‘inspired’ on my front door. It looks kind of crappy on the outside but when you walk in it has really, really high ceilings and beautiful lighting with art on the walls. I’ve had probably 7 or 8 studios in my career and this is definitely the nicest one I’ve had.
SF: You seem to be a lot more quiet this season, why? Emily seems to have taken your place as the master of smack talk.
JH: Ok but she didn’t take my place as the s*** talker on the show. What she did is she reacted to my controversy and my ability to start things. What I did is to talk about things that are legitimately part of the competition. She’s just a b****. There’s a total difference. My attitude is just to shut the f*** up and do some tattoos.
Joshua Hibbard can be seen competing on season 5 of Spike’s “Ink Master.” Be sure to cheer him on as he continues to dominate challenge after challenge. New episodes air on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.