Ink Master is back baby and this season, the name of the game is Turf War. The competing artists have been split up into four teams based on region: East, West, Midwest and South. And while each of the 20 contestants will begin the game on equal footing, we were curious to see how each of the four regions have fared in past seasons.
To do this, we went through each of the past 12 seasons and looked at the winner's hometowns. From this we learned that half of the winners hailed from the East: Shane O'Neill, Steve Tefft, Dave Kruseman, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Josh Payne and Laura Marie). West was close behind with five winners: Joey Hamilton, Jason Clay Dunn, Anthony Michaels, Old Town Ink and Tony Medellin. One winner, Scott Marshall, comes from the Midwest and the show has yet to have a winner from the South.
But here's where things get interesting. Despite not having a winner, the South had an overwhelming number of second and third place finalists. Over the past 12 seasons, the South brought 11 contestants to the finale—including many fan favorites like Jime Litwalk, Tatu Baby and Katie McGowan.
So when it comes to picking a winner, we believe that there are two different ways to go about it. You could approach it conventionally, by assuming that an East Coast artist will take the title. Or you could go wildcard and place your bets on the South. And who knows, maybe our theory is totally off and a West or Midwest artist has it in the bag.
The only way to find out who's got what it takes to be the next Ink Master is to tune in to the season 13 premiere on Tuesday, January 7th at 10/9c. We can't wait to see the amazing art and inevitable drama that ensues this season.