It was either the beginning of last year or the end of 2010 when I first began hearing about The Worst Tattoo in Austin competition. Posts about the event were coming from the Facebook account of an old friend of mine named Devon Tincknell, who I first met back in my Olympia, Washington days. Devon now lives in Austin where he’s written for the Onion‘s A.V. Club and runs a sex blog called F*BOMB, (also a column of the same name for the University of Texas paper, UWeekly) which is primarily about wieners and vaginas grinding (on each other, as well as on just about anything/everything else). At the time of those first posts, I’m not sure if it was even a fully developed idea yet. Apparently, Tincknell had already thought up the basic concept for the contest a couple of years earlier–something he’d originally pitched to the Onion–but it had been put on the back burner. The greatest part about the idea is that it was eventually realized last year and turned out to be fairly successful. The second greatest part is that the contest recently just went down for the second consecutive year and is, arguably, becoming even more successful.
A lot of people post and/or say a lot of shit and a lot of people come up with a lot of ideas, but only a fraction of them ever follow through with anything. It’s hard to deny that organizing an actual “worst tattoo” competition is a great idea, but it’s probably not as original as the guy who first combined a clock and a radio into one convenient digital time-telling jam machine. I would put money on it that it’s not even Devon‘s most groundbreaking or original idea either, but that’s not really the point. The point is that a really solid concept with follow through is worth more than 37 really cool sounding pipe-dreams without any real foundation, which will never come to fruition. So go ahead and tell everyone about how your “really cool” friend had a way cooler idea that involves hosting a live tattooing competition with the use of hang gliders and night vision, because nobody really gives a fuck. Similarly, if you live in Austin and have a tattoo that’s much worse than the winners or know someone who does and you, subsequently, believe that “fact” makes this entire competition a total sham, then you can keep that shit to yourself too. You’ve got to show up to win and you/they didn’t. As far as the idea for The Worst Tattoo in Austin is concerned, in general, Devon really showed up with that idea and now something amazing and awesome exists that previously didn’t. To quote another awesome show that we’re huge fans of here at Monster Fresh, “Great job!“
The following run down of this year’s festivities is being reprinted courtesy of F*BOMB magazine. All photo credits go to Jessie Pages.
*NOTE: While the following photos include both Dave Mathews-related content and one piece where a group of people are having human fecal matter dumped all over them from above, the most surprising part is that each of those images actually exist in 2 separate tattoos.
And the Worst Tattoos for 2012 are…
The inky squiggle you see on this man’s belly is supposedly two mosquitoes smoking weed. That this Rorshachian cum stain didn’t even place at the Worst Tattoo in Austin II is a testament to how brain-poppingly terrible the competition was this year. In almost every way, this year’s contest outdid 2011′s trial run. There were way more pants dropped on stage, less contestants got so wasted they wandered off before collecting their prize (though some were certainly drunk enough to make climbing onto the stage to claim their prize look daunting), and the tattoos were worse. So much worse.
Since Worst Tattoo in Austin is made possible by the generous shops who donate prize bait to lure contestants to the stage with, we should probably thank them before announcing the winners. Bijou Studios, Shaman Modification, Sailor’s Grave, Austin Tattoo Company, and Atomic Tattoo… thanks for your support. You guys rock. Also big thanks to Michael Foulk, Zack Carlson, and Mike Wiebe who served as judges and helped F*Bomb editor-in-chief/host Devon Tincknell heap scorn upon the competitors.
Anyways, on to the winners. Since we had a ton of tattoo prizes to give out and had previously decided categories were for chumps, all of the categories were created in hindsight and awarded accordingly. All photos were taken by the excellent and amazing Jessie Pages.
Most Legitimately Rad Tattoo
Tattoos like this are what make explaining Worst Tattoo in Austin to people so frustrating. It’s a pizza fighting a taco. That is simultaneously idiotic… AND FUCKING BAD ASS! We saluted this dude for having such a radical and well done tattoo by giving him a big ole gift certificate to Bijou Studios. People with tattoos like this need to understand that when we say “worst” we really just mean “epically strange and weird,” and that we’re trying to give them a prize.
Best Metal As Fuck Tattoo
It’s Jesus Christ with King Diamond style corpse paint. When this dude got his prize he announced that his next tattoo was going to be a black power Jesus. “Another brother from the Holy Mother.” Fuck yes, we sincerely hope he follows through and comes back next year and wins with it.
Drunkest Contestant With Most Well Done Tattoo
This girl probably would have faired better with the judges and audience if she hadn’t been so unbelievably wasted. Her tattoo is a portrait of Bruce Willis with a quote from Last Boy Scout (the second best action movie of the nineties), which is awesome. However, she was so drunk she kept trying to quote a different line from the movie over and over, which just confused everybody and made them think she was talking shit to a friend in the crowd.
Best Tattoo Explanation
This metal warrior was also bartending the event. The Ace Frehley with pizza shooting out of his eyes (his eyes aren’t being gouged out with pizza. We asked.) is pretty epic but this dude definitely won for the simple rationale he gave for his shitty tattoo. It’s a girl shooting up spray paint and when asked to justify it, he just muttered, “It was the mid-nineties…” which was a more than good enough reason for the judges.
Most Horrifying Tattoo
This guy has two kids. We pray that they rarely come face to face with the nightmare on his lower back. If you’re thinking that it looks like some prison rendered cross between the Joker and Alex from A Clockwork Orange, that’s because it pretty much is. The guy said he explained his concept to the guy at the shop and then gave him artistic license. Bad call, bro.
Worst High School Relic Tattoo
A lot of people justify their shitty tattoos by saying, “It was a reminder of a period in my life.” Well, that sucks for you if what you chose to remember was being a high school emo kid. You could have done what most folks did and thrown away your Saves the Day and New Found Glory CDs as soon as you got out of high school and written the thing off as a bad memory, but no, you got “emo kid” tattooed in a heart on your butt. Yeesh.
Best Dick Tattoo
This guy was a walking talking worst tattoo competition. In addition to having 666 in Roman numerals on his dong, he had like 14 different shit tattoos including a dung beetle and a “retard shitting his pants.” This guy will probably be a real estate agent some day.
Clint Howard Portrait Tattoo
The judges narrowed the competition down to three finalists and then let the audience scream loudly to determine the overall winner. Clint Howard portrait tattoo was an obvious contender because the guy got it on a dare and it’s a fucking tattoo of Clint Howard so come on! Also, judge Zack Carlson happened to have Clint’s personal phone number which he gave to this guy so he could call Clint up and tell him he won a prize.
It’s a story as old as time. Drunk and crusty teenagers and some home tattoo supplies. This tattoo is what Worst Tattoo is all about. The crowd really wanted him to use his prize money for a Chris Gaines tattoo. No pain, no Chris Gaines.
Okay so spoiler alert: This chick won. Not for this arm tattoo on her arm but for a different tattoo which we will get to in a minute. We just wanted to say, umm, it was one of those “you had to be there” sort of things. Her tattoo isn’t as terrible as many of the others bared onstage that evening, but she also had a Precious Moments Jesus tattoo and some Fleetwood Mac lyrics and the sum total really earned her a lot of points with the crowd. Anyways, here is the…
Worst Tattoo in Austin II
While we at F*Bomb in no way seek to downgrade and diminish Dana’s victory, it’s a fucking cigarette and we can understand how some readers might be confused. After last year’s contest, people kept coming up to us and going, “Chili Cook Off 09?! That’s bullshit. My friend ____ has a way worse tattoo.” Well guess what? Your friend _____ didn’t come and compete and this chick did so she won a bad ass prize for her cigarette tattoo. She won $200 worth of free tattooing at Shaman Modification (so did the runners up… shhh!) and now has the honor of possessing the Worst Tattoo in Austin 2012.
However, all things being equal, there were some worse tattoos. Of course, many different qualities get factored into the competition and these folks didn’t take home top prize for several reasons (the primary one being a concern that they would trade their prize for meth money) but these tattoos are truly fucking awful and need some recognition.
The (Actual) Worst Tattoos in Austin
On the left is a Dave Mathews Band tattoo. On the right is a toilet full of cops being shit upon. The DMB tattoo was on a girl who the judges were convinced was on meth. The police toilet is proudly worn by a 50 year old crust punk (maybe he’s just in his thirties. Crust punks tend to age more rapidly than normals) named Dumpster. Dumpy for short.
Ugh, God those are awful tattoos. Anyways, congratulations to all our winners, except maybe those last two, and thanks to all the sponsors and judges and 29th Street Ballroom and everyone who came out.