Tattoo Tv Shows | Worst VS Best


There seems to be an even bigger increase in the amount of talk about tattoos lately, and I think this may be due to the rise of tattoo related tv shows. Whether it's the reality of how bad Tattoo Fixers is or the latest winner of Ink Master, there seems to be a lot going on. It's a topic that comes up when we're at the tattoo studio, either discussing the latest show to be released or the work produced on last weeks episode of a tattoo competition.

I personally enjoy tattoo tv programmes very much, and whether they are good or bad, I tend to end up watching them either way. I have chosen some of the most popular tattoo tv shows to give my thoughts on, split into the worst and the best. This way you can get some suggestions on the ones worth watching, and the ones to avoid. I'd also like to hear your opinions on these particular shows!


1. Just Tattoo Of Us

As anticipated from the title, this show is pretty terrible. If you're interested in tattoo culture and educating yourself on the art, then this show is definitely not for you. A basic synopsis of this show is for two people to design tattoos for each other, have them done, while having no idea what they have just had permanently etched into their skin. The process is covered up and revealed with hosts Charlotte Crosby and Stephen Bear. Yep, if it couldn't get more ridiculous, they then have Bear to host it. While they do seem to have good artists on the show, little is spoken about them and they amp the guests up to design the worst tattoos possible to 'stitch' the other one up. I would say a good 90% of them will later on be covered up or removed, if possible. The first few episodes also star other Geordie Shore members, which I can only assume is because not enough people applied to be on the show. They even advertised getting to meet Charlotte and Bear, as a reason to go on the show. While some of the designs are not awful, others seem like a long way to go for a practical joke. The worst part of it all I think is just how uncomfortable it makes me feel. They do that awkward laugh, trying to make light of the situation when the person with the tattoo breaks down, and it's just not something that puts tattooing in a good light. 

2. Tattoo Fixers

I'm not going to go to into it with this one because you've probably already heard all of the uproar caused from this show. Some how it seems to keep on going, creating bad tattoos in a warehouse to cover up even worse tattoos. At first glimpses the show is okay, but they end up tattooing about three people per episode, and fill the gaps with boring and dull backstories for the guests and their current tattoos. So much of it is clearly set up, and it's just not a very interesting show at all. They can occasionally create some nice work, but it's not hard to google image some of the terrible inkings they've given people. 

3. E4's Tattoo Artist of the Year

While this isn't the worst of the three shows listed here, it's basically just an E4 rip off of Ink Master. It's less impressive and entertaining, has less critiques and actual information on tattooing and different styles with mediocre challenges. They do have guest judges that are 'some of the best', but it's hard to take it seriously when they have Jay Hutton (Tattoo Fixers) as an esteemed judge throughout. Some of the contestants do have some good work, and it can be entertaining when watching and discussing it with your tattoo artist and friend in the studio, but I found watching it by myself got dull fast. I don't think it is filmed very well at all, with most of the tattooing process just showing clips of the artists stressing out, panicking, and those slow motion shots of the ink being washed into a fresh cup of water. I did like self-taught artist Cookie's work though. 


4. LA/Miami Ink

I'm going to count these two together as they basically have the same concept. They're basically reality shows, that observe the running of a tattoo studio, showcasing the work, with a bit of extra drama thrown in. I remember discovering these shows one day, and I instantly became hooked. I was roughly 14 and becoming highly interested in tattoos, and fell in love with Kat Von D very quickly. For me this was the perfect show of combining educating myself on tattoos with my love for terrible drama. I can't remember a lot of the drama that went down exactly, but I was very into it. I think watching the show back these days, the quality of the work isn't as great as higher standards have since been set, and the shows do seem rather messy. However, I still like the concept and filming of the show, the backstories for the customers are not too long and dull, and I think for shows that are around 10 years old, they're pretty entertaining.

5. Ink Master

It surprisingly took me a while to check out this show as I didn't have access to it, and after being reminded of it recently, I decided to give it a watch and thoroughly enjoyed it. Finally getting round to watching it actually reminded me of intriguing billboards for the show, that I saw around Los Angeles. It's a tattoo competition with artists competing for $100,000 and the title of Ink Master. Kind of like the tattoo version of Drag Race I guess. The challenges are interesting and there is a lot of conflict and drama caused from the contestants living together, which adds a little reality to the show. They seem to mix it up a bit more in the recent seasons, turning up the heat and I've recently finished watching Season 8 which I enjoyed a lot. The drama can get tedious, but they critique the artists thoroughly which educates you on what makes a good tattoo, and showcases good artists. They also give challenges based on various techniques and styles which I liked. Hosted by Dave Navarro and judged by Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck, it's definitely one to to check out. 

6. Needles & Pins

I am one of those people that relish in alternative documentaries with dominantly negative/controversial topics such as drugs, prison, murder, extremism etc, and that includes tattoos also. Needles & Pins is a documentary programme following tattoo artist Grace Neutral across the world to explore the tattoo subculture in a positive light. I'm a fan of Grace Neutral and her work, so I was intrigued when I heard about this programme, and it is possibly my favourite tattoo show to date. There are 6 episodes in total, with each episode based on a particular destination; UK, Las Vegas, Japan, Los Angeles, New Zealand and Korea. Personally, I think it has been beautifully filmed, with a lot of insight and interesting topics raised around tattooing and it's origins. I found it very educational and enjoyed the approach to the show and Grace's interview style in particular. It is heart warming and intriguing, and increases my love and interest for the subculture.

"I'm traveling the globe to meet the artists, the rebels and the weirdos who made this niche hobby a global industry"

This film based on Korea's Illegal Beauty Scene with Grace Neutral contains scenes used in some episodes, and so is shot and produced in the same way. So if you enjoy this, you'll probably enjoy Needles & Pins. All episodes of N&P are available to watch on NowTV. If you still have 10 McDonalds monopoly stickers lying around you can get a free pass for a month. 

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed some of my insights into some tattoo tv shows. Let me know what you think of these shows, and if you have any other shows I should check out? April.

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  1. I've seen a few photos from Just Tattoo Of Us and it looks horrific, definitely not a good idea for a show, just setting people up for upset & cover ups really. Tattoo Fixers is horrible & the amount of people in the general public with no knowledge of what a good tattoo actually is are made to think really rubbish tattoos are of good quality because they're bouncing around telling people these guys are the best! I can't comment on E4's Tattoo Artist Of The Year or Ink Master, as I've not seen either of them but I agree that Miami/LA Ink is alright & all the documentaries Grace Neutral does are amazing.

    PS. Also a huge fan of all documentaries on the darker, weirder & crazier side of life. Ie. drugs, prison, murder, extremism etc. *high five*

    1. It's just so cringe! You should definitely watch Ink Master season 8, it was pretty enjoyable. Woo darker, weirder, crazier documentaries are awesome *high five*


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I'm April, a lifestyle blogger that adores going to concerts, getting tattooed and drinking coffee. Here you can find various posts all about adventures, thoughts and doings from a rock/metal enthusiast.

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