Rich Howells

VIDEO: After 10 episodes, Plains tattoo artist Derek Zielinski eliminated in ‘Ink Master’ competition

VIDEO: After 10 episodes, Plains tattoo artist Derek Zielinski eliminated in ‘Ink Master’ competition
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After surviving nine episodes of grueling competition, with new competitors entering the fray each week, local tattoo artist Derek Zielinski of Plains and his friend Thom Bulman, who he works with at Classic Trilogy Tattoos, were eliminated in the 10th episode of Season 9 of “Ink Master.”

Premiering on June 6, the new “Shop Wars” season of the Spike TV show has artists working in pairs each week towards the $200,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked magazine, and the new title of “Master Shop.” While Zielinski owns his own shop in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Glass Heart Tattooing & Arts (30 E. Carey St., Plains), he was representing Classic Trilogy in Mattydale, New York, bringing his 12 years of experience and realistic style to the competition, often impressing the judges.

When one shop was eliminated, artists who lost in previous seasons took their place, making it one of the most unique and difficult seasons of the show. In Episode 10, the flash challenge was to make artwork using drills to puncture a large wood canvas. Classic Trilogy held their own with classic geometric shapes:

Unfortunately, they didn’t make it through the next round where they had to create matching portrait tattoos on two different people, which was admittedly difficult for Bulman, who hadn’t done portrait work in a long time:

After the show aired, Zielinski expressed his gratitude to friends, family, and fans for cheering him on over the past few months on his Instagram.

“I am grateful for this experience and the chance to compete with such a stacked group of artists, on such a grand stage. Big thanks to my friend and tattoo brother, [Thom Bulman], for inviting me as part of your team and your shop family. Cheers to the other 34 tattooers we competed with. You are all a rowdy bunch, and I am happy to have met you. I hope we cross paths again,” he wrote.

“And because I love a great opportunity for some good Internet PDA, a huge thank you, and I love you to my lady [Michelle]! Not one person reading this will understand how amazing of a person you are for me, and what it took for us to be able to take this opportunity. Finally, a huge high five to the fans and supporters that are new, recent, or have been here from the start. You all rock, and you keep me motivated.”

NEPA was also well-represented in the last season of “Ink Master” – Shavertown resident and Kingston tattoo artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey not only won the reality competition, taking home $100,000, but she also became the first female Ink Master, even earning her own special, “Ink Master Angels,” due out this fall.

Listen to Zielinski talks about his “Ink Master” experience, what it’s like behind the scenes, how he developed his own artistic style, opening his shop, and much more in Episode 11 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: