10 Questions With Shane O’Neill

Many of the Ink Master artists consider Shane O'Neill their fiercest competition. So what's he all about? Read a little bit more about him in this interview before the series premieres, Tuesday, January 17 at 10/9c.

January 11, 2012

Name: Shane O' Neill
Age: 39
City: Middleton, Delaware
Shop: Shane O'Neill's Infamous Tattoos

What drew you into the world of tattooing?

I didn't have an interest until my brother encouraged me [to get into it] -->. I was an illustrator before tattooing, and I tried it out. And I liked it.

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

I was 15, and it was a Kanji symbol.

Were you trained formally?

I was not technically trained. I graduated from University of Arts in Philadelphia with a Bachelors of Fine Arts after majoring in Illustration.

How many tattoos have you inked total?

At least 10,000.

Have you won any awards?

Yes, I've won hundreds of awards at conventions, one in particular from a magazine called Tattoo Society. One of my pieces was named Best Tattoo of the Year.

What's your signature style?

Realism; portraits; black and grey.

What was the worst tattoo you've ever seen?

Massacres that shouldn't even be called tattoos! Many portraits in need of fixing, look like blobs. I've seen many bad tattoos.

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

Tommy Helm and Josh Woods were my biggest competition at the beginning, and then I saw James Vaughn and Bili Vegas' work was also good...

What is the hardest part of being on Ink Master?

Being away from my wife and kids, although they were very supportive of me being on the show.

Why do you think you are the Ink Master?

I'm the most versatile; I can do any style well. And no situations can put me out of my zone. All the difficult situations in the house didn't bother me.

Check out Shane O'Neill's portfolio here, and get more Ink Master at inkmaster.spike.com.