Inside Scoop: EPIC INK Artists Preview New Show

Area 51 - A+E

Tonight’s the premiere of A&E’s new show Epic Ink. OHSOGRAY chatted with the tattoo artists behind some of the coolest, geekiest tattoos you’ll ever see.

What was the process for creating Epic Ink?

Chris 51: The process was very fun and exciting and it kind of just started with an idea. We met up with a production company who shared the same idea and we took it from there.

We have seen some tattoo shows before, how is Epic Ink different and what can we expect to see?

Chris 51: You can expect to see everything that you’ve never seen before in a tattoo show. I can tell you that. There’s zero drama.

Heather Maranda: Zero drama, all fuckery.

Chris 51: We take the artwork very seriously, but we do not take ourselves seriously. We’re full of shenanigans and craziness and fun. It’s very positive and enlightening. I think you’ll really get a kick out it. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. For reality television, it is literally as real as it gets. Every conversation you see, every topic we talk about, is our idea – straight from us. Just stuff that we started talking about and they just happened to catch us in the process. No sob stories. No dead portraits of people, nothing like that at all. It’s all fun, positive, stuff you grew up on loving, laughing over, and everyone will be able to relate to it on a fun level, maybe even an immature level. But, a level nonetheless.

Heather Maranda: We’re all a bunch of geeks and we all do a bunch of geeky stuff.

Has anyone come into the store and wanted a certain tattoo and you guys have just said, “No way”?

Multiple: All the time!

Chris 51: I refuse a lot of shit. We have careers, we’ve been doing this a long time and I, myself, feel like I’ve earned the right to do stuff that I’m motivated to do. Do you want someone putting art on you [in] a subject matter that they’re not totally motivated to do their best work? I wouldn’t. I want someone who’s going to be all pumped up and excited about what they’re going to do. I just tell people honestly, “Hey, I’m excited to do this” or “this really isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe so-and-so would be better at it. Maybe this guy down the street – he specializes in this thing.” I think there’s professional ways – we’re not dicks – there’s professional ways to say basically, “hey, this isn’t really my thing, I think so-and-so would be better.”

Heather Maranda: I’m terrible about turning people away. I’m awful at it. I’m the diplomat who tries to convince them to do something else that I want to do, and I don’t have to turn them away. But sometimes, you’re like, “I really don’t want to do your infinity symbol floating into a feather with a break-away fucking bird.” I really don’t want to do that.

Chris Jones: I pretty much turn away anything that is not a portrait.

Heather Maranda: I know you do, you’re like the worst at it!

Chris Jones: In a diplomatic, friendly kind of way. I turned away four people today.

Chris 51: I don’t believe that, Jones. I just don’t believe it’s diplomatic.

Chris Jones: Depends on my mood.

Maranda: Me, I get stuck doing all kinds of ridiculous shit, cause I’m just …I just can’t turn [them] away…like, “I will do your art for you. Ok.”

Chris 51: That’s why there’s younger artists in the shop. They can do all the shit work. We touch on that on the show, as well, a little bit. We do touch a bit on the fact that there are specialties and there’s things people are going to be better at and better apt to do for the client.

Epic Ink premieres tonight on A&E at 10:30/9:30c.