Calgary Tattoo Artist shines on ‘Ink Master’


A Calgary tattoo artist is the first Canadian contestant on reality show Ink Master, now in its 15th season.

Contestants on the Paramount+ show are given clients to tattoo and then judged on their work by Ink Master’s season eight winner Ryan Ashley, tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado, and two-time winner of the show DJ Tambe.

A person is eliminated at the end of each episode.

The Brindle Room owner, Sydney Dyer, has been tattooing for over ten years, starting in Edmonton. After two years, she moved to Calgary and continued her career, establishing her roots in her shop, The Brindle Room, in 2019.

The tattoo shop on 17 Avenue SW in The Devenish building is named after her dog Brindle, the “manager” of the store, she told CityNews with a laugh.

“She is doing very well for a dog,” she said.

The 15th season not only features the very first Canadian in the show, but it’s also the first season to have contestants from outside the U.S.

While the filming took place several months before the Nov. 1 premiere on Paramount+, the Calgarian says the interviewing process to appear in the show was the “most intense thing” she’s ever done.

“There are multiple companies that do background checks, psych evaluations,” she explained in a phone call to CityNews.

“They just narrow it down, narrow down, and narrow down and keep you on your toes. It keeps you guessing, and you don’t know if you’ll get on.”

Before she learned she would be on the show, Dyer says she was very anxious, nervous, and stressed being the lone Canadian in the contestant running.

“It hits you like a ton of bricks, you know? ‘I’m in the running for this, but there’s no way I’ll be good enough. There’s no way they’ll pick me,'” she said, explaining her feelings at the time.

However, with four days’ notice before filming, the Calgary artist was excited as she learned she would be on the reality show, the first and only Canadian contestant.

“It was a very short moment’s notice, you realize, holy …, ‘I’ve made it. They’ve selected me,’ and then you’re just thrown to the wolves,” she said. “It’s all secretive and very planned at the last minute, even down to the location of filming, which is very last minute, and then it’s just kind of thrown at you at once.”

“You just kind of had to … throw all caution to the wind, jump in and go.”

The Brindle Room family

Dyer says her shop in the famous Beltline Street is currently loaded with “every single artist under the sun” that can cover different tattoo styles.

“We’re a loving family. It’s just such a great environment,” she said.

Dyer says she describes her style as “vintage girly s—.”

“What I mean by that is it’s very Baroque-inspired. It’s very set back in time, a very kind of dated, jaded era,” she explained.

“I like to tell people it just gives a kind of a Baroque era vibe while still being something your dad will love — your grandma will appreciate. And it hits all notches across the board but is a little more geared toward the feminine style.”

A tattoo by Sydney Dyer
A tattoo by Sydney Dyer. (Supplied by Sydney Dyer)

Dyer notes her shop opened one year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, which she worries would drown her business.

But now?

“I’m thrilled that [The Brindle Room] pulled through,” Dyer said.

“On the other side of COVID, we expanded, so I grew my group, The Brindle Room, from half the size. Now it’s double, and it’s thriving.”

Ink Master experience

When asked about her viewing of the show before being a contestant, she said she was a fan but not a super fan of the show. She adds she only saw about half of the seasons.

However, Dyer has had multiple friends compete on the show, and she has even been to Las Vegas for several finales.

With the experience behind her — besides experiencing what everyone is watching — Dyer now says she is the show’s “biggest fan.”

“I am completely in love. I’m the biggest fan. I have the utmost respect for the entire team, the entire production,” she said.

Calgarian Sydney Dyer and contestant John Mesa shown in the 15th season of reality show Ink Master
Calgarian Sydney Dyer and contestant John Mesa are shown in the 15th season of the reality show Ink Master. (Supplied by Sydney Dyer)

Dyer says the crew on the show is an “absolutely amazing hard-working family.”

“It’s pretty much the same crew for the past 15 years, and I can really feel the love and camaraderie between everyone, and I’m honestly just so honoured that I got to experience it,” Dyer said.

With several episodes having premiered and having the opportunity under her belt, Dyer says the “once in a lifetime experience” is one she would do again.

“I throw myself to the wolves in everyday life. It’s widespread for me to cancel my day, jump on a plane, fly to Vegas for a show, and return to work the next day,” she said.

“I’m very much a spontaneous ‘You Only Live Once’ type of person.”

Ink Master can be streamed on Paramount+.

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