Reality Check: Local tattoo artist Sarah Miller just misses


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When it came time for the big reveal on the live finale of Spike TV's "Ink Master," it was all a blur for Pittsburgh tattoo artist Sarah Miller.

Literally.

"I actually wasn't able to see that well because I didn't have contacts in," said Ms. Miller, who reached the final two of the reality competition series Tuesday night.

"They took my glasses. They said 'No,' there was a certain image they wanted me to have all season. And I was dumb and didn't pack my contacts."

And yet her focus never wavered. Ms. Miller, who became a standout on the show, thanks to a combination of skill and her passionate responses to the judges' critiques, ultimately was runner-up to Steve Tefft of Groton, Conn.

The latter had been, week-in and week-out, one of the favorites in the competition. His macabre black-and-gray back tattoo wowed the judges. Ms. Miller said she couldn't resent second place: "I'm very happy, I'm fortunate, I'm blessed and being runner-up, I believe that's No. 1 in my eyes."

Ms. Miller went with a full-color depiction of Norse mythology on her human canvas' thighs. Artists were given four six-hour sessions over several months to design and execute their visions.

"I might have done a few things a little bit differently, but at the end of the day, it's an amazing tattoo," she said. "He [client Dave Fagan] is beyond happy, I'm happy, and everybody got to see a really amazing color portrait that a lot of people didn't think I could pull off."

Tattoo artists and human canvases can apply online to be part of Season 3 at www.inkmastercasting.com.

• Great American Country (GAC) has renewed "Farm Kings" for a second season. The program, which follows Butler County's King Family and their endeavors at Freedom Farms, features the nine King brothers, their sister and mom as they try to reinvent the family business.

"Viewers are relating in a big way to the hard-working, loving King family," said Sarah Trahern, GAC senior vice president and general manager. "With solid ratings and continual online buzz, we are all looking forward to Season 2."

A recent press release promised the new year would show a fundraiser for Special Olympics, a "Win a Date With a King" auction, and the hunky brothers shooting a calendar.

The season premiere is April 11.

• Season 11 of Lifetime's "Project Runway" gets a shake-up, with Zac Posen replacing Michael Kors as a regular judge and the designers competing each week in teams (cue ominous music).

The 16 contestants apparently were unaware that this would be a team competition, although one winner will eventually sashay away with the top prize of $100,000, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a Lexus car, $50,000 in HP technology and the chance to sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor.

A note here on the folly of team competitions. They work well if teams exist solely to create drama, as on "The Amazing Race." But not so much with shows that shine a spotlight on individual creativity.

When teamwork distracts from the goal at hand, whether it's designing a waterproof alien (Syfy's "Face Off") or making a music video in 6-inch heels (Logo's "RuPaul's Drag Race"), it's generally more annoying than fun.

• Open calls for Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?" begin Jan. 18 in Austin, Texas, with other tryout cities including Detroit (Feb. 11), Boston (Feb. 21), Memphis (March 14) and Los Angeles (March 22).

For more information: www.fox.com/dance.

tvradio

Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.


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