I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Eternal, contestant on the tattooing show “Ink Master” which this season has to do with rivals in the tattooing industry.
Igarin Idarraga: Hey Ryan how are you?
Ryan Eternal: I am great, and how are you?
Igarin Idarraga: Great, thank you for asking and I am sorry to see you go from the competition, let me just tell you that.
Ryan Eternal: No worries, it is not a big thing.
II: Well it is a pretty big competition, so I am sure you were somewhat disappointed?
RE: Yes, I was disappointed.
II: I can imagine, but can you explain what Ink Master Rivals is about, for those out there, can you refresh our memory?
RE: Ink Master is basically…well this year Ink Master is about rivals going head to head for $100 grand, winner take all, dog eat dog.
II: There is a lot of trash talking in the competition, is that something scripted, or is it something that just comes up because you guys are competing?
RE: You know what, there is a lot of trash talking and it just so happens that everybody this season, we all were naturally trash talkers. Me, myself was not too much into trash talking, I was more if you mess with me I will stand up and come at you. I was a little different than everyone, that’s why maybe I didn’t hang around…Other people were a little intimidated by me, so there was not that much talking coming my way.
II: And your rival is Mark, correct?
RE: Yes, Mark Longenecker.
II: And how did this rivalry come about?
RE: We always were friends I looked up to him, we did a lot of conventions and while we were at one convention, I ended up being a judge and he thought I did him dirty and did not judge fairly for which he lost. It has been a long time grudge that was not squashed at the time.
II: So you were a judge during a competition that he thought he should have won and wound up losing?
RE: Yes, he submitted a piece for which he felt he was judged unfairly.
II: How long have you been tattooing Ryan?
RE: Since I was fifteen.
II: Was that always you wanted to be, or had you opted for a different career?
RE: No ever since I was little, I knew what I wanted to be until I was dead in the box.
II: What is your specialty in tattooing?
RE: You what is funny, I do a lot of new school, but you never got to see my specialty, my specialty is black and gray. I never got to do that on television, I like to do color I would just say my specialty is black and gray.
II: What does new school tattooing for those of us not well versed in tattooing?
RE: New school is bright colors, cartoony objects, and just big bold bright pieces.
II: You guys live in the same house during the competition, how did that fair with you?
RE: Actually that did not affect me, it did affect everybody really badly a lot of people were going stir crazy from it. I was in the military, in the military we kind of live like that, so it did not affect me, but living with a lot of people in the same room you could see it was cracking a lot of people. There were only a few that did not cry the first week, yeah I was one, and it didn’t affect me.
II: What is your opinion of Emily is she is bad as she appears on television, or is she just playing the game and trying to get into people’s heads.
RE: I believe Emily is playing the game, she is doing what she needs to do, I can not hate her, like people come in and oh expect this, -competition-, is going to be fair, no man is a game, you got to remember it is not like tattooing at home where it is a business, this is a game show for a $100 thousand, you know. I cannot hate on her…I…never had a personal beef with her.
II: But don’t you think that can eventually affect you, talking so much smack about other people?
RE: I personally did not play that way, I, I, like if that is how you are talking s***, then that is how you are, but not everybody live by those rules.
II: It was disconcerting when Cris said he had pretty much given up; how did you feel about that?
RE: I was actually kind of bitter about that, like I have not given up, so hearing other people say they had given up and they were ahead of me, it was pretty upsetting, because I love what I do, with all my passion and here is someone giving up and not have passion for it, it hurts because I take a lot of pride in tattooing.
II: Yes, it was disconcerting when all of you are trying to tattoo as hard as possible and here come someone saying that they had given up.
RE: And it was just he alone, like the first week there was a lot of people, it was disheartening to have everyone around you giving up.
II: Did you kind of lost your way there for a moment that caused you to draw that tattoo that wound up eliminating you?
RE: I see…You know what I have PTSD and I get shaken by some things, I was not really prepare for all the cameras and the people standing, I am use to working in a very relaxed environment knowing now what I knew before, or if I had known then what I know now, I would have prepared, they put you in the worse possible situation, so you have to overcome that in order to move on.
II: The challenges are not something you would encounter on a day-to-day basis in the tattooing industry.
RE: People don’t understand that the situations you are put through are horrible, really horrible and hard to deal with, because everyone you know think it is easy sitting on the couch, but it is a lot more difficult than anything anyone would realize.
II: You say your specialty is black and gray, and that is just what it is black and gray right?
RE: I am originally from California and there black and gray is more common and then I moved out to the East Coast and started doing a lot of colors.
II: That is interesting that the West Coast prefers black and gray, whereas the East Coast goes for colors.
RE: Of course there are people in the West Coast that would like color and people in the East that want black and gray, but as a whole West Coast goes more for black and gray.
II: And where in Florida do you work?
RE: I work in Orlando at Hart & Huntington over by City walk.
II: How do you feel about Josh and Jason who were there on a previous season?
RE: I think Jason is focus on the work, whereas Josh is the same as he was before, he plays the game real well, but he…I just do not like his ethics when it comes to the game. Josh cares more about the game, finding loopholes, whereas Jason he stepped up his game, he came back this season to prove himself as a tattooer which I have a lot of respect for.
II: Well Ryan thank you for speaking with me today, do not want to take anymore of your time, it was a pleasure.
RE: Thank you and you take care.
A great artist who showed that he could talk the talk and walk the walk on Ink Master this season and his work can be found at www.instagram.com/ryaneternal