Tattoo Icon Mario Barth to Appear on Sixx Network’s “Pain & Fame”
You’re television show on the Sixx Network, which is being aired in Germany for now, is called “Pain and Fame.” You’ve been thinking about doing a Tattoo television show for a long time. What was it about “Pain and Fame” that sold you on the idea?
I got a guarantee that it’s not scripted. It’s completely impulse driven. Whatever happens at the moment happens. It’s not staged and we aren’t’ being told what we have to say and do. Also Randy Engelhard one of my jury partners is a super talented photo realist tattoo artist. One of the top guys in the world right now. The main host is a very talented lady, Sophia Thomalla, who is the wife of legendary rock band Rammstein’s singer Till. She’s heavily tattooed and very educated in tattooing. She knows what is hip and cool.
It’s only on German TV?
It’s a European show right now, but they will be airing it online as well.
Is there a difference between European tattoos and tattoos here in the states?
I think the biggest difference on the show is the tattoo artist and the person getting the tattoo….the canvas as I call it, stay the same. In America it’s all fast paced and they go through many clients and many tattoos. On this show we focus on one tattoo and the process of making it throughout the show. The artist has to make it through 8 episodes and how they go through the design start to finish. We give the tattoo artist all the time they need. Nothing is rushed just for television.
But it’s still a competition?
Yes. But they have 10 days to prepare with their customer. Here in the US they don’t give tattoo artist that kind of time. That was very important to me. That tattoo has to the best it can be.
Are you worried that your peers will think you’re selling out?
Not at all. It’s not a reality show. It’s not like I’ve become Mario Kardashian.
The winner of the competition also gets to work for you here in the US.
Yes. We want to expose that person to the rest of the world. The winner is being called “Germany’s best tattoo artist.” The next step will be how will the winner interact with the rest of the world in a new environment. The winner will also work with me personal.
How many tattoo locations do you have currently?
(Laughs) I forget! I believe we have six and we’re about to open a flagship store in Europe.
How do you manage the business and keep up the quality with having so many locations worldwide?
It’s just what I do. It comes natural to me. But you couldn’t do it without a great team. I have a very, very good team around me. I’ve had people working with me for over 25 years. I think that’s the difference. Some people read the New York Times each morning. I wake up and look at all the tattoos from my artist around the world and respond to each.
Do you think you’ll show will air on American TELEVISION?
It all depends if they let me do it the way they let me do it in Germany. I have been asked to be on every tattoo television show, but it always stops when it comes down to creative control. I won’t let myself be portrayed to sell out if that’s’ the way you want to say it. I’ve been offered serious money, but it’s not worth it to me. My name and my brand are very important to me.
Do you get many requests for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump tattoos?
(Laughs) Not at all! For something people just look the other way when he comes on TV! But if someone wanted to have them on their body for the rest of their lives I would do it for them. But I would suggest you wait 4 years before making that important decision.
Interview by Chaunce Hayden