A tattoo artist and shop owner from Bergen County is fulfilling her chance to shine as a new competitor on this season Paramount Network series "Ink Master."
Jessa Bigelow, co-owner of Gallery of Ink in Harrison, is one of 20 contestants on Season 13 of "Ink Master," a series that pits tattoo artists nationwide against each other for the title of "Ink Master" and grand prize of $100,000.
This season, "Ink Master: Turf War," features contestants representing different parts of the country. Bigelow, of course, is one of five competitors representing the East Coast.
Bergen County residents might recognize Bigelow from her years working at Under Skin Art in Bergenfield.
The 27-year-old, who grew up in Elmwood Park, discovered her calling of tattoo artistry at a younger age than most.
She recalls coloring in her father’s tattoos with markers and gel pens and feeling "intimidated and equally intrigued" during her first visit to an actual shop.
"The first time I really realized tattooing was something I wanted to pursue was around eight years old," she said.
"I went into a tattoo shop with my dad. The energy and the buzz of the tattoo shop totally consumed me.
"I was blown away by all of these people putting beautiful art on their skin.”
Bigelow describes her journey on Ink Master as "an experience unlike any other."
"It’s very different tattooing in front of 19 other tattooers you've never met, being filmed, knowing a large audience will see it, and then being critiqued on every piece of your tattoo," Bigelow said.
"It has tested me and allowed me to meet many great artists who've helped me push myself further in my career."
Despite the excitement and chaos of her Ink Master adventure, Bigelow remains grounded and continues to show gratitude to all who've supported her.
“I just want to say a huge thanks to each and every person who has supported me in my journey tattooing and continues to support me!” said Bigelow. “From getting tattooed to buying artwork or rooting for me on the show, you're all a huge part of where I am today, and I'm super grateful for all of you!"
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