Tuesday night was one for the books, as crowds of people gathered in New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom to watch the finale of Spike’s Ink Master. Now that the season has come to an end, and the show has officially crowned a new winner, fine lined black and grey artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey, we thought it would be fun to take a trip down Malarkey lane and get a closer look at her work.
Malarkey has made a name for herself amongst the tattoo community by having one foot firmly rooted in the “strange and unusual.” Hell, she’s even opened a pair of oddities parlors aptly named The Strange and Unusual, so it comes as no surprise that Malarkey’s lady heads would be cut from the same cloth. Drawing on realistic elements, her ladies tend to display a beautiful combination of both realism and illustrative details that teeter the line, rendering them unable to be pigeon holed, much like Malarkey herself. Using unique elements like her signature jewels, as well as bespoke lace, and an element of sensual mystery, she creates complete characters. Fortune tellers, dancers, and warriors alike, each lady head is alive with her own distinct persona, which can best be seen in the cloaked rider.
Careful to never reveal her eyes, Malarkey’s rendition of a rider is shrouded in mystery. Using sinister imagery like crows and skulls, she conveys a sense of danger from this malevolent and enigmatic woman, while jewels, lace and an absolutely stunning lower portion of her face invite the onlooker in — a femme fatale of sorts. As with everything she does, Malarkey’s attention to detail is what sets her pieces apart. Everything from the gradient in the crow’s wings to the teeth in the skull's head is taken into account, and it definitely shows.
Now that she’s won, Malarkey’s work is sure to be in extremely high demand, and with her full time residency at Oliver Peck’s Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, Texas to soon take effect, we’re incredibly interested to see what lies ahead for the young artist.