This week’s competition was the luck of the draw on TLC’s Tattoo Wars. The battle of the sexes between artists Michelle Myles of New York City and Seth Cifferi of Baltimore, MD was held at the 6th Annual Boston Tattoo Convention and showcased the style of American Traditional.
Both Seth and Michelle are well known for their talents in tattoo artistry and their mastery of this specific style. The pair met one week prior to hash out the details of the competition and ended up choosing three iconic symbols of Americana from a small pouch containing a total of 20.
Fortunately for Michelle’s client, her boyfriend Kevin, the symbols drawn from the bag were “snake”, “roses”, and “tiger” which mesh well together in this art style. Seth was not so pleased with his roll of the dice, vetoed his pick of “racing flag”, and ending up with “panther”, “butterfly”, and “buzzard”. Since Seth was not satisfied with his results, he vetoed the icons once again and did another drawing with his client, Chase, back at his shop, Read Street Tattoo.
To heighten the intensity, Chase and Seth also agreed to keep the final design a secret for as long as possible. It was not until the outline had been inked during the competition that he laid eyes on this piece of art.
Each artist gathered speed for the battle during the approaching week, ramping up with incoming clients. Michelle finished up an amazing backpiece depicting St. Sebastian, while Seth finished up traditional style tattoos on his own repeat clients.
The final designs that were chosen for the competition contained similar elements and highlighted the main aspects of the style: bold, colorful, and dynamic. Seth’s self-taught mastery of the genre developed in a Gibson Girl head framed with roses and snakes on Chase’s right thigh. Michelle drew inspiration from her love of old circus and carnival style art for her entry, which is enmeshed with both of her shops’ décor, at Dare Devil and Fun City Tattoo.
A tiger’s head surrounded by roses, a double headed snake, and topped off with a spider web and dagger on Kevin’s left thigh pushed her to the forefront of the competition and eventually to grab the trophy. Congratulations Michelle!