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Local Tucson tattoo artist competes on "Ink Master" as a coach to contestants

Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 21:28:48-04

Tucson's very own tattoo artist Anthony Michaels is competing for a second time on the hit Spike TV show "Ink Master." Michaels won Season seven of the show, but is back this year as a coach.

"Going into this season, I was hoping I would go into the competition knowing what the competition would bring," said Michaels, who works at Metro Tattoo on Speedway. Michaels said this time around has been challenging in a whole new way. "We're doing stuff that we never normally do, but it tests our creativity," said Michaels.

This season, he is coaching a team of several artists from around the country all competing for a $100,000 prize.

"The funnest part is when I'm not having to tattoo," Michaels said of being a coach. "At the same time its pretty stressful because you're giving your artists the answers to the perfect tattoo, and they're not listening. So, the first thing you wanna do is grab their pencil or grab their tattoo machine and just do what's being asked, but you can't do that," said Michaels.

Michaels says the biggest challenge has been working with his artists to trust his opinion and let go of what they think they know. 

Being on the show twice brought quite a bit of attention to Michaels and his art. He now gets recognized all over Tucson, and is busier than ever at Metro Tattoo. Getting used to the spotlight has been a big adjustment.

"I'm an introvert," Michaels said. "I like to be in my own space and mind my own business. I don't really pay attention to all of the hustle and bustle that comes along with this exposure. At the same time, I understand people are excited, and to see people get excited makes me only want to work harder so they can continue to be inspired and excited," Michaels said.

His time on the show has been an experience he doesn't regret. "The biggest thing I have taken from journey is that there is strength in humility.I didn't realize how tough the path was to become a leader.I always wanted to be someone to impact and inspire the masses, but I just didn't know how I was going to do it," Michaels said.

With only a few weeks until the finale, Michaels said he's preparing for a wild ride. "Every episode is a surprise. Every challenge we face was a surprise for me, and you get to experience that with me every episode. I express my anxiety, I express my stress, and I express moments of joy and confidence. With this competition you just never know what to expect, and I think that alone is exciting."

Michaels said he enjoys being part of the show that is helping show the true artistry behind the tattoo industry. You can catch Michaels and his team competing on "ink Master" Tuesdays at 10 p.m. On Spike TV.