10 Questions With Tommy Helm

NYC's Tommy Helm has some unusual tattoo advice for you. Find out what it is in our interview with the "Ink Master" star, then check out the show when it premieres Tuesday, January 17 at 10/9c.

January 9, 2012

Name: Tommy Helm
Age: 38
Shop: Empire State Studio in Oceanside, New York

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.


What drew you into the world of tattooing? What inspired you?

I began tattooing because of my love for art in general. I picked it up thinking it would just be another medium, such as oil painting. To my surprise, tattooing consumed my life, my everything. I am so lucky to have ever got involved in this art form.

When did you get your first tattoo? What was it?

1991, I was seventeen years old. It was a piece of tribal art from a Bernie Luther flash sheet. I got it from this old biker named Florida Frank at Peter Tattoos on Long Island, New York.

How many tattoos have you inked total?

Uhhh??? One million? Ahahaha, you can't estimate that!!! LOL.

Have you won any awards?

In 8th grade, I won an all-state art award for a "no smoking" ad.

What's your signature style?

Big, fatty, bold-lined, heavy shading tattoos with heavy color! "Go big or go home!"

What advice do you give to someone who's looking to get their first tattoo?

Be different, and don't do it. Everyone has one...

Who do you think is your biggest competition on the show?

Everybody! When you factor in the luck of the draw and how talented everyone is... Can't sleep on the competition.

What is the hardest part of being on Ink Master?

Producing your best piece of work every single day.

Why do you think you are the Ink Master?

Beyond the competition, I, as a professional artist, try to create the exact vision of the client. I am also an all-around accomplished artist (working in many mediums), which helps me bring to the surface the client's dream. As we all know, it is not my tattoo, it is the wearer's.

Check out Tommy Helm's portfolio here, and get more Ink Master at inkmaster.spike.com.