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Ink Master’s Chris Nunez Talks 9 Tattoo Clichés

Recently, we spoke with Chris Nunez from Miami Ink and judge on Spike TV’s new reality show Ink Master about some of our favorite tattoo clichés.  Chris, being a lifelong tattoo enthusiast and artist himself, has an appreciation for all tattoos and assured us from the get go that no matter what we had on our list, it’d be something that pays his bills that he’s happy to do or any and all customers.  He’s a good guy and didn’t even insult the matching Hello Kitty tattoos all of our editors have.

Not sure what Master Ink is?  Check out the trailer and tune in if you’re down with the idea of mixing the standard model of the reality competition with the awesome new dimension of permanent body modification and hot tattooed girls (there’s hot tattooed girls, right?).

Official Ink Master Series Trailer
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Anyway, seeing as Chris is judging Master ink, we thought we’d get him to judge some cliché tattoos and rattle off the first thing that pops into his head when you, un-inked customer you are, comes into his shop and asks for one of these.

Barbed Wire Arm Band

True story – we know a guy from college who got matching barbed wire armbands right around his biceps to show the world that his strength could overcome anything.  Too much cheese in your eye just then?  We thought so, too.  Let’s go to the expert and see what the first thing that pops into his head when someone wants this tat.

Chris Nunez:  “Pam Anderson.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Pam, Chris even sounded somewhat enthused when he said it.  But remember, she’s most famous for being boobs with a person attached.  A person who has hepatitis.

Tramp stamps

Statistics we are making up right now indicate 85% of all women with tattoos have a lower back tattoo, affectionately known as a “tramp stamp.”  If everyone has one, are you expressing your individuality by also getting one?  Hard to say.  Chris?

Nunez: “My favorite target from the 90’s.”

Don’t think us crass, ladies, we all still love them.  Plus, as Chris pointed out in our conversation, if you can take something and make it yours, make it unique, then it becomes special.  We agree with that, too.  Please send photos care of HolyTaco.com

Facial tattoos

Mike Tyson has a tattoo on his face.  In fact, the number of people who have facial tattoos who also have mugshots on file displaying those tattoos is likely a very high percentage, which brings us to our expert’s opinion of face tattoos.

Nunez: “It’s tough to make fun of something like that.  Anyone who has a face tattoo is tougher than me.”

You can’t argue with fact, people.  You may see a picture of someone with a face tattoo and think up a clever insult, but it’s probably extremely unlikely any of us would ever say the same words to that crazy as a shithouse rat person’s face.  We certainly wouldn’t, but that’s just because we think they’re awesome.  Please don’t hurt us.

Knuckle writing

As soft as porridge internet writers, the idea of knuckle tattoos is as foreign to us as common sense is to the cast of Jersey Shore.  Our managing editor is tattooed up like a sailor, but only on the flabbiest of parts.  What’s the deal with knuckle tattoos?

Nunez: “Great.  For someone who’s got a lot of tattoos, they let you know where you stand, really let you figure out what someone’s about.”

See, we didn’t know that but it may be because the last person we saw with knuckle tattoos had “Pork Pies” written across their hands.  What the hell does that mean?


At least one editor at Holy Taco actually has Asian characters tattooed on their person and no, they are not Asian nor do they speak any Asian dialects.  However, the tattoo was gotten as a joke and translates as “nothing” so when people ask what it means, you can say “nothing” and smugly smile as the person who asked doesn’t get it.

Nunez:”These are tricky.  Really big in the 90’s but a lot of them were done in the back room by apprentices and don’t mean what people think.  You should check first.”

Sound advice, kids.  If you don’t research it first and bring in what you want tattooed, you’re at the mercy of someone who could, for all you know, be doodling a stylized version of their wang on you.  Not that we’d know.  But seriously, avoid Gil’s Discount Tattoos in Jersey.

Genital tattoos

Right now, out in the world, are more people than any of us could imagine who have weiner tattoos.  Some have tattoos around their buttholes.  Ladies even tattoo their flowers we hear.  Ha.  Flower.  Anyway.  Chris?

Nunez:  “I stay away from that.  I’m not doing mine, so I’m definitely not doing yours.”

This is the most reasonable thing anyone has ever said.


Bat wings.  Bird wings.  Angel wings.  Your back isn’t doing anything, just riding your coattails, may as well use it as a canvas for something, right?

Nunez:  “I’m working on one of those as we speak.”

That’s the professional and diplomatic way of saying “I’m not making a joke about this, it’s my job, stop bothering me.”  We get it.  But for what it’s worth, I’m going to blow this whole thing wide open by getting a Rocketeer-style jetpack full back tattoo.  Good luck catching me with your fairy wings.  I’m rocket powered!

Nautical star

A favorite of pseudo punk musicians and their fans, the nautical star is currently permanently affixed to hands, collar bones and probably some faces all over the world.   No one needs this tattoo, do they?

Nunez:  “Unless you get lost all the time.”

I don’t think any of those people can use a nautical star to find their way home, though.


Old English Lettering

None of our staff have this font on us anywhere, possibly due to how pale and completely non-street we all are.  Most of us think the Warriors is a fairly accurate documentary on gangland New York.  Plus none of us can read anything written in Old English.  It’s very ostentatious.

Nunez:  “It’s the all time classic.”

It should be noted that this is not classic for rich suburban doctors, so our chiropodist’s “Bunion Bustin’ 4 Lyfe” tattoo is still pretty ridiculous in any font.

Anyway, we’re off to get that full back Hello Kitty having sex with a unicorn tattoo we’ve been looking at.  Check out Ink Master Tuesday night on Spike, yo. Later!

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