On Tuesday morning, Jason Lynn — also known as Creepy Jason, a tattoo artist from Hampstead — was being rather un-creepy as he texted an apology to his friend and fellow artist. Their disagreement started while both were working on a project together. Time ran short, tensions rose high, and Creepy Jason’s temper went off.
This beef was long since past. The problem was, the argument was about to be broadcast to a few million people.
Creepy Jason is a contestant on Season 12 of the Paramount Network show “Ink Master.” Season 12 is dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes,” and contestants are split into teams by gender even as they ultimately compete for $100,000, a feature in Inked magazine and the tile of Ink Master.
The show premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Paramount Network and online streaming platforms.
In a short sneak-peak released Tuesday, Lynn and his fellow contestant Pon get into conflict after they are placed on the same team for a collaboration tattoo.
“He's a friend of mine now. I kind of feel bad because I dogged him out on the first episode,” he said.
There is a lot Lynn can’t say about the show. Number one, he’s sworn to secrecy until each episode airs. Number two, he hasn’t seen the show in its finished form yet himself.
“I don't know how they're going to edit me. I don't know how it's going to look. So I think I'm more excited to see what's going to happen on that first episode than anybody else is,” he said.
According to the network, “Throughout the competition, the artists will be tested on their technical skills along with their on-the-spot creativity, as they must conceive and execute original tattoos on ‘human canvases.’ Each episode will focus on a different and distinct style of tattooing and, as always, while the artists’ masterpieces will last a lifetime, so will their mistakes.”
After being cast, he went back and watched past seasons of the show.
“I went into it knowing that it is just as much about the reality and the competition as it is about tattooing. I wanted to go into it more than just being a competent tattooer, but being kind of like a strategist as well.”
He turned to his rural roots as an advantage for the competition.
“I don't really have much of a style of tattooing. So I'm pretty well-rounded,” he said. “Just being in this small town environment and working by myself for a long time, I took everything that walked in the door … whatever it was, and I tried to give the client what they wanted,” he said. “I think that's one of the reasons why they liked me on the show because I'm not a one-trick-pony tattooer.”
Unfortunately, in order to keep things secret, he had to tell everyone back home that he was going on a “sabbatical” for “personal reasons” while the show was filmed.
“And everybody's sending me like, like prayers and wishes and everything and thinking something's wrong,” he said, shaking his head.
On camera, his signature look includes a tie, suspenders and a bowler hat, a rather dapper image that contrasts with his “creepy” title.
Between his style and his nickname, “That almost becomes like an alter ego. When I wear the tie, the suspenders, I can be Creepy Jason. And when I don't want to wear it … It almost allows me to kind of be incognito when I just want to be myself.”
Plenty of his friends and fellow tattooers have made fun of him for his newfound TV notoriety, but it doesn’t bother him much.
“I'm putting myself on a podium, you know, and just letting people poke fun at me,” he said.
He also used to be the type of tattooer who said he’d never be on the show. But when they reached out to him and he started watching episodes, “I was like, ‘You know what? I could kind of get into this. It looks like it's a lot of fun,’ ” he said. “I like adventure. And I like to try new things out. Why the hell not?”
Many of his competitors on the show have become friends, and they’ve seen one another at tattoo conventions around the country even though they’ve had to keep secret how they met.
Some people have the misconception that he has celebrity status now and is booked out for months, which isn’t the case, he said. It has brought in a new base of clientele, letting him be more choosy and do a lot more of the “weirdo new school and neo-traditional” tattoos that he said he wants to do.
“That’s a win-win situation for everybody, you know, except for the guy that wants to get the little tribal tattoo that I don’t want to do,” he said.