Ink Master has been around the block a few times, but the reality series took the competition to a whole new level this season.
Rather than pitting individual artists against one another, Ink Master: Shop Wars has brought in pairs of competitors from the best shops around the country.
While two artists can mean double the creativity — not to mention an extra pair of hands — it can also prove to be a difficult challenge. Meshing two styles into one piece is never an easy task.
For most of the season, however, these teams have risen to the occasion, creating some beautiful tattoos to wow the judges.
Many of the pieces this season have been phenomenal, but there are definitely a few that stand out from the crowd.
Here are our picks for the five best tattoos (so far) from Ink Master: Shop Wars.
Artistic Skin Designs' Owl
The elimination challenge in the Season 9 premiere tasked the artists with drawing up a design based on a live animal in the studio.
Teams were given the choice between an owl, alligator and a snake, and they had to capture the essence of the specific creature.
Artistic Skin Designs went with the owl and crushed the competition. With incredible detail from top to bottom, it was no surprise when the judges revealed that this piece became the first Tattoo of the Day.prevnext
Old Town Ink's Blackwork Hand
In the second episode, the shop teams had to craft a beautiful piece using only shades of black.
The judges again chose Artistic Skin Designs as the Tattoo of the Day, but it was a close contest. Old Town Ink, the first veteran shop to return to competition, put up a fight with an impressive tattoo of a hand holding a knife.
While it didn't win, we think that Old Town's piece was a notch above the rest of the competition — the detail in this simple tattoo is extraordinary.prevnext
Pinz & Needlez' Natural Disaster
During one elimination challenge, the tattoo shops were asked to turn tragedy into beauty by tattooing depictions of natural disasters.
The ladies of Pinz & Needlez rocked the competition by creating a realistic take on a devastating tornado.
There's no doubt that the coloring in the piece was simple, but that only added to its beauty. The detail incorporated into this tattoo is what gave the Baltimore shop its first Tattoo of the Day.prevnext
Old Town Ink's Pearl Harbor
One episode saw the shop teams attempt to turn actual warfare into color-realistic battle scenes.
Old Town Ink brought their A-game once again and this time, they were rewarded by winning Tattoo of the Day.
The veteran shop turned the bombing of Pearl Harbor into a masterpiece, bringing the colors of the event to life on their canvas' arm.prevnext
Unkindness Art's Head Tattoo
In one of the most recent episodes, the tattoo shops went to war over new school pieces, and one stood out among the rest.
The folks at Unkindness Art brought the house down with their colorful mad scientist tattoo.0comments
While the piece would have been impressive on any part of the body, the artists were able to work it onto the head of their canvas.
This was easily one of the most colorful and exciting pieces of the entire competition.prev