Confident and quick, Steve Tefft went from Connecticut tattoo artist to Ink Master after winning season two of SPIKE’s top-rated tattooing competition. With $100,000 more in his pocket, the grand title, and a colorful future ahead, Steve talks about virtues, life after his big win, and how a horrific and cannibalistic baby could be his last tattoo.

Ink Master Steven Tefft
Interview with Ink Master Steven Tefft. Image credit @steventefft

What’s the best advice you received on Ink Master?

The best advice was to design tattoos that will hold up over time, to use more black in defining your tattoo so the tattoo looks good from three feet away.

Who did you believe to be your biggest competitor on the show and are they the same artist you’d get work from?

Jesse Smith was the biggest competitor we all believed.

I would definitely get a tattoo from him.

Tell me about your first tattoo.

My first tattoo is a little cross on my wrist I did when I was 14 yrs old with needle thread and ink. My first professionally done tattoo is a skull on my left arm done by Bill Loika.

Did you like the way you were portrayed on Ink Master?

I was portrayed pretty much how I am. I “say what I mean and mean what I say”. I have a lot of fun with people but when it comes down to business time, I get very serious and focused.

What other projects or shops do you see in the future?

I plan on expanding my shop, maybe opening another. Definitely would like to do more television.

What hobbies besides tattooing would people be surprised to know you have?

I am an avid golfer. I was getting pretty good. I played in the Dupont world Amateur golf competition and finished in the top ten.

Is the skin the only canvas you work on?

No. I have airbrushed motorcycles, canvases, helmets, and even people.

What inspired this career 17 years ago?

Not sure. I have always loved tattoos since I was little. I always wanted to be a tattoo artist.

Describe your ideal client.

Someone giving me free rein with great skin.

Your favorite horror film.

The Exorcist.

What challenge on the show did you feel was least relevant to your real work as a tattoo artist?

American Traditional.

What are your plans to do with the $100,000?

Expand my shop. Travel more to conventions to tattoo all people who have supported me on the show.

What’s your favorite virtue?


If Steve Tefft’s days of tattooing were over, he’d go out with a bang and tattoo this:

Wow! Tough one. I think I would tattoo the most disturbing image I could create. Probably some type of dead baby eating its mother.

Which tattoo on Ink Master are you the proudest of?

The 24-hour canvas. I love that piece. It represented my client and me perfectly. I believe we captured everything Ink Master was trying to communicate to the viewers on how a tattoo is supposed to be done.

… And that’s how he won!

Thank you, Steven Tefft and congratulations!

To contact Steve, view his portfolio and catch up on his touring schedule, be sure to visit his 12 Tattoos website here.

In addition to working at his shop 12 Tattoos, Steve travels to various conventions to share his talent. He will be attending the Ink Life Tour. You can find details about this and other conventions by checking out the 2013 United States Tattoo Event Calendar. Be sure to bookmark for reference.

You can also stay up to date with Steve’s personal and daily happenings by LIKING his Facebook Fan page here.

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