Dave Navarro revealed the winner of Spike TV’s “Ink Master” at the end of Tuesday’s live finale, but not before dragging out the announcement with overly dramatic pauses, as is now mandatory during reality TV competitions. Walter “Sausage” Frank patted Glenbard North High School alum and fellow finalist Scott Marshall on the back and then laughed as the big reveal was happening. Marshall didn’t crack a smile. He looked tense and almost soldier-like in his posture, except when the Jane’s Addiction guitarist announced him as the winner.
Marshall let out a hearty “Woo!” and a sigh of relief, all in one. Now he could begin the next chapter in his career.
“The goal of a tattoo artist used to be to make a living off of it and then some day own your own shop,” said Marshall — a tattoo artist at Roselle Tattoo Company in Roselle — over the phone Wednesday. “But that’s changed with the introduction of (tattoo TV shows). Now you can do so much more. You can reach rock star status with TV and have a fan base around the world. You can go to different countries and work with other talented artists. I think this will open doors that never existed in my career.”
The $100,000 grand prize and a feature article in “Inked” magazine are a nice bonus as well.
Marshall called Tuesday the best night of his life. There were tears involved and a celebration that lasted until five or six in the morning. He said it was a “dream come true” and a culmination of 15 years of hard work. And to think, Marshall is the same guy who used to shun the show and tell people he would never take part.
“Everybody the last three years told me I should try out for the show,” Marshall said. “I was like most tattoo artists who say ‘I’ll never go on those tattoo shows, blah, blah, blah.’ People say these things because they’re not pushing themselves or don’t have the opportunity. I looked inward and said if I had the chance to do that, I think it would be great to compete on that level. It got to the point where I felt like it was my destiny to win it from the time I went on my first casting call (in Detroit) until I won it.”
Some viewers saw Marshall’s confidence as arrogance. During the finale, there was a chorus of boos coming from the studio audience when Marshall was named the winner.
“There was a section in the crowd that were ‘Sausage’ followers who were disrespectful,” Marshall said. “It didn’t bother me. Even if ‘Sausage’ might have had the better Internet fan base, the judges had the final say and believed my piece was better. ‘Sausage’ and I squashed our rivalry afterward. He congratulated me and was a gentleman. We respect each other greatly. He definitely was a fire under my (butt) and kept me on my toes. Matti (Hixson) was also phenomenal.”
The three finalists (Marshall, Frank, Hixson) were asked to complete an extensive tattoo over a 35-hour period as part of their final challenge. Marshall’s tattoo? A female with a snake coiled around her hand holding a heart with arrows piercing through it, which he said represented love and heartache.
“I knew I was going against the two strongest competitors in the house,” Marshall said. “I was just hoping the judges would see I was the better artist. I believe that my style shined a little brighter and was a little more unique. I think that’s what the judges appreciated most about me — every piece I did looked like Scott Marshall did it.
“I believed in my heart from day one I would win this. I just had blind faith in it.”
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