By Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Shavertown artist Ryan Malarkey advances to finale on Spike TV’s ‘Ink Master’

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Ryan Ashley Malarkey tattoos Mikey Henger at her studio inside of the Kingston oddities parlor, The Strange & Unusual, she owns with fiance Josh Balz. Malarkey advanced to the live finale of Spike TV’s ‘Ink Master’ and competes for the title Dec. 6.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Ryan Ashley Malarkey celebrated her advancement to the ‘Ink Master’ finale among friends and family Tuesday in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Malarkey has said she wants people in her community to know she couldn’t have succeeded without their support.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Ryan Ashley Malarkey tends to work in black and grey. She said her experience on ‘Ink Master’ has allowed her to prove to herself she can be versatile and work in an array of styles.
Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
Ryan Ashley Malarkey reacts to the news that she and the rest of the remaining contestants will have to tattoo the heads of their canvases in 12 hours.
Spike TV
Ryan Ashley Malarkey begins the first six of 12 hours of tattooing. Each contestant is required to tattoo the head of his or her canvas.
Spike TV
Ryan Ashley Malarkey tattoos the head of human canvas. Her tattoo kept her in the running for title of Ink Master.
Spike TV
The remaining contestants that make up Team Peck. From left: Mike McAskill, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Nate Beavers, Gian Karle Cruz and Anwon ‘Boneface’ Johnson.
Spike TV

A gruelling, 15-week competition has boiled down to three artists, and a Shavertown tattooer is one of them.

Ryan Ashley Malarkey earned the right to compete against two fellow artists on the live finale of Spike TV’s hit reality show “Ink Master” for the sought after title of Ink Master, $100,000, an editorial in Inked magazine and a residency in the Dallas, Texas shop of her coach on the show, Oliver Peck.

Malarkey watched the final taped episode of the show among friends and family at Franklin’s Bar & Grill in downtown Wilkes-Barre Tuesday, and she said she was glad to be in that environment when her success on the show was finally revealed.

“Most people in my life were more confident I’d make it to the end than I was,” Malarkey said. “I’m really excited to make everybody proud and to make everyone happy and fulfilled for believing in me.”

Malarkey had to keep her advancement to the finals a secret as the season progressed due to confidentiality agreements.

“When I found out I was going into the finale, it was a feeling I can’t describe,” Malarkey said. “It was honestly shocking, because I surprised myself. It was the first time in my career I felt truly proud of myself and proud of what I was able to do.”

Malarkey said it was also humbling as she looked back at each artist who competed and put his or her reputation on the line for the show’s panel of judges and the world to critique.

“Every artist, whether they were eliminated in the first episode or the last episode, deserves respect,” Malarkey said. “I’m trying to remain appreciative and remember that I had an extreme amount of positive encouragement and love and support, and I’m thankful for everyone in my life and for the opportunity.”

Malarkey navigated 14 previous episodes on the eighth season of “Ink Master,” during which two teams of nine artists faced off against each other led by famous artists and shop owners Chris Nunez and Peck.

Tuesday night’s episode featured Malarkey in competition against Gian Karle Cruz, Nate Beavers and Kelly Doty. The challenge entailed a 15-hour tattoo marathon in which members of Team Peck (Malarkey, Beavers and Cruz) had to perform all the tasks given to Team Nunez (Doty) during the season and vice verse.

“The whole season, I was like, ‘thank God I don’t have to do those challenges,’ and at the very end, I found out I needed to go back and prove that I could do every single challenge that team Nunez did to show I’m worthy of the finale across all of those styles,” Malarkey said.

Challenges were designed to advance one artist per challenge to the finalist podium. Malarkey cemented her place during a watercolor challenge and was able to rest easy as two opponents had to battle for the last available spot.

“I was able to be relieved without feeling that overwhelming stress of pressure of having my last chance,” Malarkey said. “I proved to the judges and myself that I can do color and be versatile.”

Malarkey competes at 10 p.m. Dec. 6 in a live finale in New York City, which features the results of a 24-hour chest piece challenge. She’ll vie for the title and the prize money against Doty and Cruz.

“I’m not going to waste my time being nervous, because no matter what the result is, I feel in so many ways like I’ve already won,” Malarkey said. “I came out of this thing with so many amazing friends. I feel lucky.”

Ryan Ashley Malarkey tattoos Mikey Henger at her studio inside of the Kingston oddities parlor, The Strange & Unusual, she owns with fiance Josh Balz. Malarkey advanced to the live finale of Spike TV’s ‘Ink Master’ and competes for the title Dec. 6.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL082416inkmaster4-1.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey tattoos Mikey Henger at her studio inside of the Kingston oddities parlor, The Strange & Unusual, she owns with fiance Josh Balz. Malarkey advanced to the live finale of Spike TV’s ‘Ink Master’ and competes for the title Dec. 6. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

Ryan Ashley Malarkey celebrated her advancement to the ‘Ink Master’ finale among friends and family Tuesday in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Malarkey has said she wants people in her community to know she couldn’t have succeeded without their support.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL082416inkmaster3-3.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey celebrated her advancement to the ‘Ink Master’ finale among friends and family Tuesday in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Malarkey has said she wants people in her community to know she couldn’t have succeeded without their support. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

Ryan Ashley Malarkey tends to work in black and grey. She said her experience on ‘Ink Master’ has allowed her to prove to herself she can be versatile and work in an array of styles.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TTL082416inkmaster1-1.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey tends to work in black and grey. She said her experience on ‘Ink Master’ has allowed her to prove to herself she can be versatile and work in an array of styles. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader

http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_MalarkeyandSubject-1.jpgSpike TV

Ryan Ashley Malarkey reacts to the news that she and the rest of the remaining contestants will have to tattoo the heads of their canvases in 12 hours.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_malarkeyreacts-1.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey reacts to the news that she and the rest of the remaining contestants will have to tattoo the heads of their canvases in 12 hours. Spike TV

Ryan Ashley Malarkey begins the first six of 12 hours of tattooing. Each contestant is required to tattoo the head of his or her canvas.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_MalarkeyUSE-1.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey begins the first six of 12 hours of tattooing. Each contestant is required to tattoo the head of his or her canvas. Spike TV

Ryan Ashley Malarkey tattoos the head of human canvas. Her tattoo kept her in the running for title of Ink Master.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_malarkeyworking-1.jpgRyan Ashley Malarkey tattoos the head of human canvas. Her tattoo kept her in the running for title of Ink Master. Spike TV

The remaining contestants that make up Team Peck. From left: Mike McAskill, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Nate Beavers, Gian Karle Cruz and Anwon ‘Boneface’ Johnson.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TeamPeck-1.jpgThe remaining contestants that make up Team Peck. From left: Mike McAskill, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Nate Beavers, Gian Karle Cruz and Anwon ‘Boneface’ Johnson. Spike TV
Live finale airs Dec. 6 on Spike TV

By Matt Mattei

[email protected]

IF YOU WATCH

What: Season finale of ‘Ink Master’ featuring local artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey

When: 10 p.m. Dec. 6

Network: Spike TV

Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

IF YOU WATCH

What: Season finale of ‘Ink Master’ featuring local artist Ryan Ashley Malarkey

When: 10 p.m. Dec. 6

Network: Spike TV