Miami Ink – May 16, 2006 – Best Tatts:

The first client of the show is Bianca – a friend of Darren’s he met when he first moved to Miami Beach. Bianca is sure she must have been a pirate in a past life – she travels the world and chases the wind with the same freedom. She has always wanted a pirate ship and finally gets one on her left side, right over her ribs. Darren’s impressed how tough she is through it all – she takes it like a pirate.

DJ Skribble – the fellow graffiti artist that told Darren to give him something with “cosmic, futuristic energy”. Darren took off with the basic idea and created a great tattoo across Skribble’s upper back. Darren said this project really took him back as he hadn’t done graffiti art in years – that was before his tattooing days began.

Tanya – the model who got her magazine debut as a Geisha Girl and wanted an anime geisha tattoo to commemorate it. Darren says anime appeals to him like American traditional – simple elements, simple colors and bold lines that create a very graphic image.

Ryan – this guy was such a trip. First he comes in with his girlfriend wanting a heart with a key that represents her holding the key to his heart. When he comes back to get the tattoo – they’ve broken up. He decides to get the heart anyway, sans key. While lifting up his shirt to show Darren where he wants it, he reveals a tattoo of a G-string across his lower back! The guys think it will be great if Ryan actually wears a thong to get tattooed in and he says he would if only he had one! So Nuñez goes out and buys one! Ryan actually puts the thing on, which results in poor Darren begging him to put his pants back on while the other guys are doubled over laughing. Ryan is just kind of aloof through the whole thing – I’m not sure he even realized the guys were totally making fun of him.

Another Ryan – a friend of Darren’s whose brother, Mark (also a friend of Darren), passed away and wanted an appropriate memorial tattoo. Since Darren knew him, he helps Ryan create the perfect design for the hard-core skateboarder. Darren says he’s never done a tattoo that meant more to him personally than this one.

Ozzie – a very talented graphic artist. He designed a pair of knotted pencils that he wanted wrapped around his arm. Darren partied too hard the night before Ozzie’s appointment and it affected his blood sugar badly and he couldn’t come in to work. Ozzie didn’t even get upset – he just came back another day and got his first tattoo – he says it was well worth the wait.

Adam – from the hardcore band, H2O. Adam gets the words, “One life, one chance” tattooed on his arms and gets them strategically placed so they will be visible when he’s playing bass guitar with the band. Most of the band members are straight edge, which Darren himself practiced for about 6 years of his life. “One life, one chance” is the name of one of their songs on their FTTW album, and it’s very similar to the “Carpe Diem” motto that Darren fashions his own life after.

Alex – Darren just got over his broken arm and wasn’t sure just how long he’d be able to work, so he calls in a friend to continue a project on his leg they’ve been working on. Alex has also been in a car accident and is still in a lot of pain himself. Darren said he could actually feel the plates and screws in Alex’s leg while he was tattooing him. They were both in pain, but they kept each other going.

Diablo Dimes – the musician who got a gypsy head for good luck while pursuing his music career. Darren was just beaming talking about this tattoo, as American traditional art is definitely his favorite. He really loves the look of the classic gypsy and the meaning behind it.

Phil Varone – former drummer but now he’s focusing more on being a dad, because they didn’t see him much when he was always on tour. He got his daughter’s name tattooed on his chest when she was born, but now it’s time to get his son’s name – which is to be his last tattoo (he’s out of room anyway). The cute thing about this is he has Philip write his own name with a marker on his chest, and then Darren tattoos over it exactly as Philip wrote it. Darren says it may not be a masterpiece artistically, but it’s probably one of Phil’s most special tattoos.

Richard – Darren’s father. Richard and Darren’s brother, Ryan (Ryan number three for this show), have come to the shop with a surprise. Richard wants his first tattoo. Darren is stunned – his dad had talked for years about wanting a tattoo but Darren figured he was just blowing smoke. And then, there he is – with an adorable figurine of 3 penguins Ryan had given him – wanting it reproduced in ink to represent dad and his 2 sons. Darren says this was true affirmation that his father is obviously proud of him and that he shows off the tattoo to everyone.

Darren says moving to Miami from his home and wife were difficult and trying to get Carolina to join him was a battle. But things finally worked out and he’s really glad to be part of the Miami Ink success story.

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