Sarah Miller INK Master Runner Up Season 2
We caught up with Sarah after she cleaned house at Ink Life Tour in Oklahoma City winning Best of Day and Best Color Portrait.
AnoTat2: We know you have been working in the Art Industry since 2005 and about 4 years later began tattooing? Tell us what brought you into tattooing? Was it a big leap going from paper to skin?
Sarah: I actually started tattooing in 2006, when I was still in school. My roommate was a tattoo artist, Ashley Claypool, and she saw my paintings. It took her a few months to convince me but she did and she taught me how to tattoo. I did my apprenticeship with her. It wasn’t a huge jump for me to start using skin instead of paper, but it took awhile to learn how to use the new materials.
AnoTat2: How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was the meaning behind it?
Sarah: I was 20 and I got a dragon on my back. It was a spur of the moment tattoo, and Ashley was the one who tattooed it on me. I didn’t really have a meaning behind it, I just really wanted to get something cool.
AnoTat2: You have a long list of tattoo awards from different conventions and just recently you won 1st place all 3 days at the Tattoos By The Bay convention; any one of your awards mean more to you than the others? When you started winning award did you think you finally made it as a top tattoo artist?
Sarah: Winning the awards are awesome – but I don’t think that they make you a top tattoo artist. The biggest award I won was in Frankfurt – I got 3rd place for the tattoo of the day. The field was tough, there were amazing world famous artists working there so to have even placed is an honor. Same this past weekend at Corpus Christi and at Baltimore the weekend before. The people that are working at the conventions push you to do better because you know they are going to be bringing their best efforts. At the end of the day, the person getting the tattoo I think walks away with the best prize, something they will treasure for the rest of their life.
AnoTat2: Making it down to the last 2 artists on season 2 of Ink Master is a big accomplishment, the judges were very particular on each tattoo challenge – how nerve racking was it each week during the judging? What feelings did you have when you found out you and Steven (Tefft) were going head to head for 100k?
Sarah: Making it to the final 2 contestants on the show is a huge accomplishment. Being on the show wasn’t as nerve-wracking as people may think, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure the first few challenges. The hardest part was trying to design a tattoo that would please both the canvas and the judges. Towards the end, I was frustrated because I really wanted to impress the judges, and I was trying to give them what they wanted and it seemed like nothing I did was good enough. Looking back at it, however, it was just what I needed. Because they were critical of my work it pushed me to do better and better, and I wouldn’t be the artist I am now without them. By the point that I found out it was just me and Steve, the tattoos had already been inked, and the only thing I could do is wait for the judges. I’ll admit that I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach!
Sarah: I did my apprenticeship with Ashley Claypool, who was from Elmira, New York.
AnoTat2: There are so many different styles of tattoos; what is your favorite style to do?
Sarah: I love to tattoo illustrative realism, something photo realistic with painterly qualities. I like painters like Alphonse Mucha or Jaques Louis David – and more so the way they were able to capture a moment of time and tell a story with it. I want to do that with my tattoos.
AnoTat2: What artists have influenced your work, both tattoo, and non-tattoo?
Sarah: It started with comic books when I was younger, Michael Turner was the first person I remember being amazed by. Stan Lee, Mark Brooks, and a few others followed but I didn’t really start to appreciate art until I went to college. Alphonse Mucha is one of my favorite painters from the Art Nouveau period but I was really drawn to an earlier time in the 1800’s. The Neo-Classical period of art had painters like Jaques Louis David and the Romantic period was amazing too. Outside of tattooing, modern artists like Jennifer Healy and Schin Loong are my biggest influences. Seeing other people create drives me to to the same and inspires me.
AnoTat2: What have you been up to since the end of Ink Master?
Sarah: I’ve been focusing on improving my shop and my art – traveling to conventions started in January this year and I have a full ticket to attend as the year goes on. Pretty much just working all the time. There are some upcoming projects that I’ve had the pleasure to work on, including designing a label for a local brewing company.
AnoTat2: What tattoo conventions will you be attending in the future? Any favorites?
Sarah: Right now I’ve got the Ink Life Tour in my future, I’m going to Oklahoma City this weekend for a stop on it. I’m going to be doing a lot of other shows too, and I’ve uploaded my tour schedule to my Facebook. If anyone is interested in attending and possibly getting tattooed feel free to go check!
AnoTat2: What can we expect from you in the upcoming future?
Sarah: Big things. I’m not the kind of person to rest on my laurels, and I have some exciting things coming up. You’ll have to stay tuned!
Go follow Sarah on twitter @valkyriesbard, on Facebook and on the Web. Want to book an appointment with this award winning artist you can call (412) 668-2263 – don’t be surprised if there is a waiting list.
Sarah and her business partner have a total of 5 shops. They are in Merrick, Brooklyn, Queens NY, Puerto Rico, and Pittsburgh PA; visit their site at http://www.wyldchyldtattoo.com/ for contact information and booking an appointment.
~ ☠ AnoTat2 ∴