Don't say "tornado" around 'Money' Mike Thornton anytime soon.
It was a tornado tattoo that swept the Baton Rouge artist right out of the "Ink Master" competition midway through Tuesday night's episode.
With the "flash" or warm-up challenge scrapped for this episode titled "Out of Your Element," the 15 remaining contestants had to immediately dive into the elimination tattoo phase.
Host/judge Dave Navarro explained that the four teams were to collaborate on a series of tattoos, all working on their individual tattoos on the same canvas (person's body) at the same time. Each team randomly chose from themes of earth, wind, water and fire. The judges would be looking for consistency in theme and technique, Navarro said, and had six hours to complete their pieces.
With its wind theme, Team South agreed to create three versions of a tornado, Thornton's being a tornado as seen from a distance, drawn within a square frame.
"In Louisiana, man, we get hurricanes, we don't get tornadoes," Thornton said. "Never seen one, never tattooed one, so it was an all-around new experience for me."
During critiques, the judges criticized the imperfect shape of Thornton's square and the tattoo's visible brush strokes.
"The judges have decided you do not have what it takes to be Ink Master. Please pack your machines and close shop," Navarro announced.
"In this competition, you've got to be 100% every time you pick up those machines," Thornton said as he exited backstage. "You know, it just took me a little longer to settle in and it bit me in the ass."
In a double-elimination night social media described as "shocking," Jake Parsons (Team Midwest) also was sent home.
The 13th season of "Ink Master" was shot last summer in New York. In December, Thornton told The Advocate that he returned to Baton Rouge after the show with a renewed passion for his art and his work at The Code Fine Art Gallery & Tattoo studio.
"It made me mentally tougher, a better all-around artist to just go back and focus on my craft, and go back to the drawing board and get that hunger back in me."