Judge Kent Dixon gets his ink from Paper Mate.
"I've got you…under my skin…"—Frank Sinatra
"I never wanted to be on TV, but felt an obligation, not as someone who was driven by money or status, but as a tattooer who honestly and sincerely loves tattooing. If I didn't take this opportunity, someone else would. For me, the thought of a mediocre female tattooer representing everything I love and worked for since I was 14 years old, was blasphemy, and did not sit well with me. This was my opportunity to show tattooing in a positive light, and give it all I have."—Kat Von D, on why she accepted the challenge of telling her story on TV
Facts of the Case
Kat Von D has the hottest tattoo shop in LA. Join Kat and her talented crew Corey Miller, Hannah Aitchison, Kim Saigh, and Kat's best friend Pixie as they experience all the wild opportunities that a successful tattoo shop has to offer, including superstar clients, rock-n-roll lifestyles, and setting a world record.
Tempers flared and fur flew, ending in Kat Von D's dramatic exit from the popular TLC show Miami Ink, only to have her resurface in sunny California with plans to build a shop of her own. But do we really need another pseudo reality show about prima donna tattoo artists?
Family, tattooing, music, romance, and tequila. In her own words, these are the five things that matter most to Kat Von D. Fitting then that she has created her own family of world-class tattoo artists, is making a living at her chosen art, gets to tattoo rock stars and actors, falls in love (with Roy Orbison's son no less!), and finds herself staring alcohol abuse right in the face. As staged as I'm sure much of LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 2 must be, I find that many of the interactions and personal relationships ring true, and certainly more so than anything you'll see in Survivor. I find it easy to get caught up in the drama of the shop, and I'm fascinated by the skill and natural talent that come together to make the tightly-knit LA Ink tattoo family.
And speaking of Kat and her team, let's meet them, shall we?
Kat Von D
At just 14 years old, Kat made her first tattoo of an old English "J" on her ankle with a homemade rig, a memento of a past love. In 1998, she began working in her first professional shop, Sin City Tattoo. Her hard work paid off and her skill grew, eventually leading her to True Tattoo for a chance to work with legendary tattoo artists Clay Decker and Chris Garver. Her relationship with Garver led to appearances on TLC's Miami Ink and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ask premier tattoo artist Corey Miller how he got into the tattoo business, and he will probably tell you it was "by hanging around the wrong people." When he's not running his own tattoo parlour in Upland, CA, Miller is LA Ink's token male.
Mainly based in Chicago at Deluxe Tattoo, Hannah is best known for her recurring appearances on LA Ink. Her pin-up work, portraits, and vibrant color are world-renowned, and she recently gave a standing-room-only seminar on drawing and tattooing pin-ups at Musink, Kat Von D's tattoo and music festival.
Becoming a tattoo artist was inevitable for Kim Saigh, whose interest began at age 16, moments before receiving her first one. Skilled in a broad range of illustrative styles and influenced by diverse subject areas from fairy tales to world religions, Kim joined the LA Ink team, bringing her unique skill and experience to the table.
Kat's best friend and LA Ink's office manager, Pixie has no shortage of spunk, drama, piercings, or tattoos of her own to add to the mix.
With Miami Ink, London Ink, and LA Ink all still on the air, it seems the worldwide appetite for all things tattooed hasn't waned yet. One of the attractions of LA Ink is the often touching or humorous stories that come with every new client. From desires to commemorate loved ones or pets who have passed away, to marking milestones in people's lives, every tattoo has a story to tell.
The 13 episodes of LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 2 are distributed over three discs as follows:
Funky full motion video segments launch when each disc is played, quickly introducing viewers to the show's core cast, before reaching a static episode menu. Individual episodes can be accessed, but there is no "play all" feature, so you'll find yourself bumped back to the main menu at the end of every episode. While certainly not reference quality on either front, both the audio and picture quality are solid and definitely above average for a TV series. TLC and Genius Products have done a commendable job.
There are no extra features of any kind on this release. I was disappointed to find that with as many outtakes as they must have, and all the colorful characters on the show, that they couldn't manage to pull at least something together here. And if you're a fan of the show, imagine for just a second how cool episode audio commentaries by Kat and the gang would have been. Or what about a documentary on this history of tattooing? A missed opportunity for sure.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Although I didn't have LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 1 for reference, at first I assumed this release would be picking up where the first left off, rounding out the first season's episodes. It didn't take long for me to discover that this release actually includes the 13 episodes of season two that aired on TLC between January and April of this year, and every episode guide I could find seemed to confirm this. So why is the set labeled as LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 2 and not LA Ink: Season 2? Who knows?
The cardboard foldout case rears its ugly head again! Similar to Miami Ink: Season One, each of the discs in this set simply slides into a cardboard slot; there are no plastic trays or other elements to protect the discs from potentially scratching every time you remove them or put them back after viewing. Was this done to save on packaging cost? Again, this won't save costs for the unfortunate consumer who needs to replace the discs after they've been soundly scoured by the cardboard sleeves. I'd suggest folks invest in an empty three-disc DVD case from Ebay to store this set and save the risk of potential damage to your investment.
If you're a first time viewer who's already familiar with the format of Miami Ink, you'll find more of the same with LA Ink. But as someone who has watched both shows, LA Ink has a lighter tone and a broader range of tattooing styles that together, amount to a more enjoyable show overall, in my humble opinion.
I'd gladly make the trek to California for a tattoo from any of the LA Ink artists, and LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 2 is the perfect way to get a close look at tattoos with all the pleasure and none of the pain. Not guilty!
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