Local brothers Jimmy and Kyle Mackenzie will represent the Boston tattoo scene when Ink Master season 11 premieres on the Paramount Network Tuesday night.
If you haven’t seen the series before, it’s basically like a Project Runway for tattoo lovers, where a group of artists show off their skills and compete in challenges in hopes of impressing judges Chris Núñez and Oliver Peck, as well as rocker turned host Dave Navarro. Each week, one or more contestants is eliminated until only a single person is left. Not only does the winner take home the title of Ink Master, but he or she also receives a feature in Inked magazine, as well as a $100,000 prize.
The Mackenzie brothers hope to the make the Hub proud by winning it all on Ink Master season 11. Jimmy, who goes by the nickname “Snaz” and works as an artist at Boston Tattoo Company, tells Metro that he thoroughly enjoyed his experience on the show and was especially thrilled to compete alongside his sibling Kyle, of Malden’s Visible Ink Tattoo.
“It was great,” says Jimmy. “I was very fortunate to have him on the show with me.”
Boston tattoo artist talks Ink Master season 11
In celebration of Ink Master season 11, John Brewer’s Tavern in Malden will host a special viewing party with Jimmy, beginning at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. The homecoming means a lot to “Snaz,” who credits the support of the Boston tattoo community with helping him overcome his issue with addiction.
“Everybody knows each other in the tattoo community in Boston,” says Jimmy. “I’m fortunate enough that I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people here.”
THIS TUESDAY!! Come join us for the #inkmasterseason11 premier party! Don’t have cable? All good cause #johnbrewerstavern in Malden does!! So come through and party with us starting at 9pm. @inkmaster airs at 10! 7 highland Ave, Malden Ma. All are welcome and there’s plenty of parking. #bostontattoocompany #inkmaster #paramountnetwork
Prior to getting involved in the world of tattoos, Jimmy honed his creative skills by taking part in the local graffiti scene, which is how he earned the nickname “Snaz.” Jimmy recalls riding the T all over town in search of the perfect spot to showcase his street artwork.
“That’s how I learned about my surroundings,” explains Jimmy. “Hopping on the train with a couple of my friends and just riding the train to the last stop.”
Inspired by both the “bright bold colors” of graffiti and vintage American tattoo styles, “Snaz” decided to become a tattoo artist in 2007. While he enjoyed using bodies instead of bricks as his canvas, that didn’t stop him from going down a few “dark, dingy roads” due to his struggle with drugs. However, with the help of his friends in the community, he was able to use his passion for the craft as a way to free himself from addiction.
“When I first got off of drugs and everything, I had a really hard time,” says Jimmy. “I was afraid to get back into tattooing.”
“Once I did, that was definitely my saving grace,” he adds. “Having something that I could throw myself back into and feel like myself again, that was the best feeling in the world.”
Ink Master season 11 premieres Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 10 p.m. on the Paramount Network.