WILKES-BARRE — Only one taped episode of Spike TV’s “Ink Master” remains before fans of the hit reality series find out which three artists advance to the live Dec. 6 finale.
For now, Shavertown tattooer Ryan Ashley Malarkey remains.
Malarkey faces off against renowned artists Gian Karl Cruz, Nate Beavers and Kelly Doty at 10 p.m. Tuesday to decide who will compete for $100,000, an editorial feature in Inked magazine and the coveted title of Ink Master.
The Shavertown resident and co-owner of Kingston’s The Strange & Unusual oddities parlor, where she also tattoos, made her way through a pool of 30 contestants. Early in the season two teams were selected to be coached by respected artists and shop owners Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez.
Weekly challenges pit team against team to determine which squad faces elimination and teammate against teammate to see who goes home, but competition has progressed to the point every artist for himself or herself.
“You don’t know what they’re going to throw at you until you walk in that morning,” Malarkey said. “You need to be mentally prepared for anything. It’s a lot of pressure to have to perform that well for so long.”
Should Malarkey win, she’ll also earn a residency in the studio of her coach, Peck, who owns Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, Texas.
Malarkey will host a free and open viewing party at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Franklin’s, 53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, because she wants to be around those who pulled for her when the episode’s results are revealed, regardless of the outcome, she said.
“I think what’s most important is to pay homage to all of the people who’ve been so insanely supportive of me through this entire process, from my clients, who’ve been rooting for me since day one, to people I haven’t even met who are proud of me and supportive of me because we come from such a small area,” Malarkey said.