Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- Elizabethtown tattoo artist Trey Benham is one of 16 competitors featured on Spike TV's reality series Ink Master. Sterling Riggs swapped gigs with big daddy Trey to see what it takes to lay down some ink.
Once thought of as the mark of outlaws, tattoos have shifted in recent years to an acceptable form of expression. Trey earned his name big daddy back in the 1990's. "I was a pretty big boy. I weighed like 340 pounds at the time. People would come in the shop and say yo big daddy hook me up so the name stuck."
Nearly 22 years later, he's still hooking customers up. He says no two tattoos are alike. Trey created a one of a kind WDRB tattoo as an example. He found a willing participant named Justin who agreed to get inked. "Are you ready buddy? Your favorite news channel is going to be on you forever. You can quit talking about it every time I see you."
Trey's journey as a tattoo artist started when he went to get his first tattoo. Another artist recognized his talent and offered him a job. "I pulled out my drawings and they were like who did these drawings? I told them that I did. They were like well do you want a job? I told them that I should not take the job. My parents wouldn't like that at all. They then offered me $600 dollars a week. I was like 600 dollars a week! Dude, I'm 18 years old. Forget college, I'm doing this."
Trey is known in the tattoo world for his super clean lines, smooth shading and extensive use of color. He took a quick break to let me give it a shot. Sterling found out quickly that your hand can get very tired. I didn't think that my finished product was too bad. Trey didn't necessarily agree. "You do not have what it takes to be an ink master, but you are doing well!"
Big Daddy Trey was not able to talk much about being on the show. But "Ink Masters" debuts on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. To find out more about Big Daddy's Tattoo in Radcliff and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, click here.