Take Five Q&A with Don Peddicord, tattoo artist

The Baltimore Sun

Reality TV makes strange bedfellows — especially on a tattoo competition show. Don Peddicord, 30, co-owner of Tattoo Dynasty in Joppa, met New York-based tattoo artist Erik Suida during a casting call for Season 2 of the Spike tat competition show, "Ink Master."

"We actually waited in line together for about six hours and he just kind of rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning," Peddicord said. "I just never really cared for his attitude about things."

But after several years of social media "bashing," Suida called on Peddicord to be his rival for the show's fifth season, "Ink Master Rivals," now airing at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The artists are competing for a $100,000 prize.

In a recent phone interview, Peddicord talked about his experience on the show so far, his tattooing career and more.

How did you get started in tattooing?

I started tattooing when I was a kid, like a young teenager. I went to a tattoo shop with my uncle to watch him get a tattoo and I fell in love with it. I got into tattooing just by getting tattooed and the artist that did all of my tattoos when I was young offered me an apprenticeship and I took it, jumped on it from there and have been tattooing ever since.

What's your favorite tattoo that you've ever done?

Probably my next one. I mean, every one I do I try to make it better than the one before and my favorite one from 10 years ago would be completely different than my favorite one this week. I constantly try to get better so each one is my new favorite.

What has the "Ink Master" experience been like for you?

The "Ink Master" experience is one of the most stressful things I've ever been through, but one of the most fun things I've ever been through. I had an absolute blast doing it and I hated doing it at the same time. Being there with the judges and their harsh criticism and then the criticism from my fellow contestants really made me question being a tattoo artist. Like, "Why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this? Do I have what it takes to really do this?" And it really made me question everything. But then in the end it gave me the confidence to be like, "I do belong. I belong in the contest and I belong in this craft."

What would you say is the biggest thing you've learned over your many years of tattooing?

Just having an open mind to different styles and people. It made me just look at people even more in all walks of life. And patience — to have patience [for] doing tattoos and to have patience developing as a tattoo artist.

Do you have a favorite tattoo of yours?

My favorite tattoo on my body is probably one of the smallest ones I have, but it's important to me because my daughter did it. When she was 9 years old, I let her tattoo me. It's just a little skull on my knee.

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