Local tattoo artist Anthony Michaels was recently named the Season 7 winner of Spike TV's Ink Master. He competed against 15 of the top tattoo artists from across the country for $100,000, a spread in Inked Magazine and the title of Ink Master. Originally from Yuma, he has been tattooing for five years and currently works at Metro Tattoo on Speedway Boulevard.
How do you feel about winning?
For me it hasn't sunk in and I'm concerned that I don't think it will. I didn't do this for the money, for the fame or any special treatment, I wanted to get better and I wanted to push myself personally. Getting critiqued and being in the situations I was in, I accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish. I've grown as a person, I'm a little bit more comfortable in social situations and I gained a little bit of confidence in myself. Personally as far as my craft, I'm faster and more efficient, I notice things now before they happen or while I'm even creating a tattoo. I've gotten better, and it's helped me out tremendously.
Best and worst moments on the show?
The best moment, Winning. The worst moment was probably doing the interviews, the commentary was the hardest part for me. That was the only time I really noticed the camera. I think the other toss up was the mental battle I had on a daily basis, wanting to come home because of the circumstances we were in. I'm not a quitter but I guess I was thinking like a quitter. I was over it, it was stressful, I didn't like somebody younger than me telling me what to do, the windows were boarded up, it was like 60 degrees in the house all the time, and they were long days, 16-hour minimum days. I'm a tattoo artist, not a circus monkey. I wanted to go home, it wasn't easy. Yes it was hard and I hated it during, but it was fun and now I can say I was a part of that. I was there to compete and I was there for a reason, to come back with the title, and it didn't make sense to me to just leave and come back home.
What's next for you and what are you going to do with the money?
Act like I don't have it, first and foremost work harder to get better. I think that it's always been my goal to be the best I can be. The industry's watered down, there's a tattoo artist on every corner. So what can you do to set yourself apart? I think staying true to myself and who I am is definitely going to help me get to that point, and keep me hungry. I've always had plans of starting my own business, but I'm not going to jump ship now that I have money because that's what expected. I need to have everything lined up, we're renting a home right now and I'm tired of wasting money. So I'm going to buy a home, I'm paying off my mom's debt, paying off my car and I won't have any bills after that. I need my family to be comfortable, I don't want to be rich, I just want to be comfortable. I don't want to get caught up in the hype, but I'm also not going to let it go to waste.
What first inspired you to become a tattoo artist?
In 7th grade I saw a PE teacher and he had a tattoo that was poking out from underneath his sleeve, and I asked him about it. He explained the process to me and what intrigued me is that somebody can draw something and create something that another person can have for the rest of their lives. That was it. I decided that is how I can impact and inspire people through my art, and I never looked back.
What is your favorite tattoo that you have?
Probably the huge werewolf I have on my ribs. The people who know me best know I'm obsessed with werewolves. To me it's not this mythical being, it's a way of life. Being able to change, adapt and come out of a situation. Coming out triumphant and doing it to the best of your ability is what the whole werewolf thing is to me. I live life that way. Whether it's parenting, in the gym or work, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it with purpose.