It's a great week to be an ink fan. TattooLaPaLooza promises to stain every inch of exposed human flesh come this weekend and Miami tattoo icon Ami James will be back on the boob tube doing what he does best with the premiere of NY Ink on TLC tonight.
It's been a while since we last heard from James as his Miami Ink show got erased from television a couple years back. Since then James has opened a bar and had some run ins with former protégé and current LA Ink star Kat Von D and TLC (he went as far as to vow he'd never work with the channel again). But that's all in the past now, as he looks to reestablish himself as the tattoo king with his newest show. James gave New York Magazine the inside scoop on his new show in an interview but also showed that there is still some ill will with Von D.
It's nice to see that James isn't abandoning his hometown for the lure
of a New York City lifestyle as he says that he's commuting to and from
the Big Apple as he still oversees the original Miami Ink shop.
I split my days between Miami and New York. I literally turn around
every week to go back to Miami and take care of Miami Ink, because it's
still a running shop and still a running business. We still have a ton
of fans that come to Miami because it is a tourist destination, so I
couldn't just sell out on my old shop.
James is also refreshingly candid about what's changed in television since he first became a reality TV star
Basically we tried to get a bunch of people to gel together, even though
we knew that most likely it was not gonna happen. There's been a lot of
friction, which causes a lot of drama, which causes a lot more
TV has changed in the past seven years. TV is more open: They want to
see more of the drama and the things that go on behind the doors. So we
opened the doors for it. What you're getting a lot more of is the
personal issues behind the shop that we kept out of Miami Ink and London
Ink and LA Ink, and I think that's just the evolution of TV. Usually we
would have fought [revealing personal details], but we found a comfort
zone where we don't mind giving the drama. Now it's like a free-for-all.
Regarding, Miss Von D, it seems as though things have yet to be patched
up between the two. James once fired Jesse James' squeeze from his
show/shop only for her to emerge as the bigger star when she split for
the left coast. He was hesitant to even address the issue.
Do you keep in touch with Kat Von D of LA Ink at all?
I don't really have anything to do with the rest of the shows. I did
Miami Ink and the spinoffs were a success for the network, but I just do
Do you have any thoughts on Kat Von D and Jesse James?
I really have no thoughts.
Even though he won't talk about her, James seems to want to emulate her
persona in his new shop. There's a couple of Von D doppelgangers: Megan
Massacre, who looks like a scary version of Kat, and Jessica Gahring,
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who's like a hybrid of Kat and Betty Boop. Not sure they'll be able to duplicate
the allure of Kat, but we're still rooting for our hometown boy anyway.
Check out NY Ink on TLC tonight at 10 p.m.