Thursday, September 18, 2014

Behind the Scenes of 'Epic Ink'- 'Friday the 13th'

Photo Courtesy A&E

A few months ago, Deanna Uutela, creator of Living Dead Magazine, friend and boss, approached me to be a part of a new tattoo reality tv show. "Epic Ink," centers around Area 51 Tattoo, where shop owner/Captain, Chris 51, has made an inked nerd oasis in the small town of Springfield, Oregon. Naturally, she said, that I was the first person that sprang to mind when they requested a paranormal themed piece, as I am the "paranormal expert" for Living Dead Magazine. When Harold Ramis passed away, I wanted to get a memorial tattoo of him as Dr. Egon Spengler, which was perfect.

I went to the Area 51 website to check out their artists, because getting a portrait tattoo requires a seriously talented artist. While browsing through each artists portfolio, my eyes nearly exploded out of their sockets. These guys (and gal, Heather Maranda!) are like the X-Men of tattoo artists: EFFING BAD ASS. They are also part of an elite group of artists worldwide, that are licensed by LucasFilm. However, there was no question in my mind as to who would be tattooing me. None. Chris Jones was my dude. He eeked out the others because he actually had a "Ghostbusters" piece in his portfolio, so I knew what his Egon looked like and I needed it. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want and my original idea wasn't going to be able to air on the network. Serious case of the sads. After tossing around a few ideas, since I thought it had to be paranormal in theme, I was asked if I had any other ideas for a piece...something I had been wanting for awhile. Why, yes I did!

Parafest 2013, the staff that dresses up like zombies together...
Now, many of you may know me as ZeeGee, which is a shortened version of another nickname, "Zombie Girl." When it was originally bestowed upon me, I wasn't actually a huge zombie fan. Then I met my boss, and dear friend, Aaron Sagers, who became my "Zombie-Wan Kenobi." So fast forward many articles, movies, geek out sessions and there I was, pitching my zombie tattoo. It was a hit and I was officially getting Bub, my favorite zombie in cinema, tattooed on my thigh.

After weeks of emails, phone conversations and contracts, I was finally on my way to get tattooed for A&E's "Epic Ink." When I arrived, everyone was busy bustling around the shop, but I probably wouldn't have noticed anyone speaking to me because I was in awe. Everywhere you turn there is some rad piece of nerdy pop-culture; whether it be the custom Area 51 arcade games, action figures or amazing art, just overloading your brain meats. Eventually, my eyes and brain became accustomed to their surroundings and I took a seat on a leather, Nickelodeon orange couch.

My friends Mandy and Deanna of Living Dead Magazine, for which I also write, arrived and we gathered together like a group of nervous school girls and chatted while we waited for things to begin. One by one, our artists came out to show us their sketches. Deanna was getting her idol, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark done by trivia guru, Josh Bodwell. Miss Mandy was getting a super cool sci-fi ray gun by space wizard, Jeff Wortham. Lastly, there was my tattoo of George Romero's Bub by Welsh bad-ass, Chris Jones. (Mind you, I did not research my artist beforehand and had NO clue that he was from Wales.)

Elvira, Deanna and Josh Bodwell, Courtesy A&E
After our initial sit down, we went back to start the magical ten hour process of inking Bub onto my thigh forever. We had a lot of time to get to know each other, so we ended up talking a lot about "Doctor Who." Of course, we also talked about my collection of teeth quite a bit. I jokingly asked if I could have one of his, but unfortunately, he wasn't willing to give me one. This time. While we were filming, the shop was set for a Friday the 13th party. I felt right at home amongst the cob-webs and creepy, twerking demon babies.

What would a spooky party be without the Prince of Munsters, Butch Patrick? Yes, you read that correctly. Butch "Eddie Munster" Patrick stopped by the shop to get tattooed by friend, Chris 51. Sadly, his bit was cut from the episode, but I guarantee that his tattoo matches his awesome personality! While the three of us from Living Dead Magazine were quietly nerd-girling, Josh gets Deanna up to reveal her tattoo. Obviously, she loves it, but he has one last surprise for her: Mistress of the Dark, Elvira. Yes, friends. Elvira came to Area 51, not only to give her stamp of approval, but to get her very first tattoo. She also told me that she loved my shoes, which I hand-glued red jewels to in a blood spatter pattern, so now we're obviously besties and she is a DOLL. Though, I'm still not convinced that she isn't a Daywalker. She has not aged a single day!

Left: Chris Jones tattooing Bub, Courtesy A&E
Right: My masterpiece, Courtesy my iPhone
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and after spending a LOT of time together, it was time for us to head home. After going our separate ways, everyone became friends on social media, praise the sweet baby Pinhead Jesus! The entire crew of Epic Ink, both on-screen and behind the scenes, are some of the most amazing people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with and getting to know.

While I didn't spend much time with Heather and Caroline at the shop, we love to joke around with each other on Twitter. I would LOVE to compete in a trivia night with Josh Bodwell and Jeff Wortham's science is my favorite kind of science. This weekend at the Rose City Comic Con, I will get to see the Area 51 Ringleader, Chris 51, and I couldn't be more excited if I tried. I keep in touch with Chris "Jonesy" Jones and have told him, probably too many times now, that he has to add more zombies to my thigh because Bub is lonely. Next time, he gets to choose which shambler I get, because I didn't opt for the bloody Bub he wanted to do originally. Sorry if I was a brat!

"Epic Ink" is truly unlike any other show out there. It is the most real reality tv show that exists, and that's not just me saying it; it is 100% true. Trust me, I was there. So, if you haven't tuned in yet, shame on you. Be sure to catch up with it on Hulu Plus or through the official A&E website and make sure to watch next Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET for some seriously epic ink.


Mia said...

It was a great episode and the Area 51 artists are just amazing. Love seeing what awesome creations they are putting out week after week!


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