When Tampa tattoo artist Ricky “Dox” Rosa got the call to appear on “Tattoo Titans,” he saw a chance to potentially have his work seen by millions. What he didn't expect, was to end up in a heated argument with one of the most famous ink slingers around.
“I guess I should have known that it's reality TV. They're looking for drama,” Rosa said during a call to the Tribune.
Rosa, who tattoos at White Tiger Designz in Oldsmar, appears on the next episode of the reality competition series, airing 11 p.m. Thursday on CMT. Each week, the show puts four of “the best tattoo artists from around the country” through a series of challenges requiring them to complete actual tattoos. The weekly winner gets bragging rights and a $10,000 prize.
One of the show's judges, Ami James, star of TLC series “Miami Ink” and “NY Ink,” has a reputation for being tough when criticizing contestants.
“Let's just say I wasn't feeling the love and encouragement,” Rosa said.
Rosa says he found himself in an argument with the celebrity tattoo artist after James asked where he was from. When Rosa, a Bronx native who has lived in the Tampa area since 1987, said Tampa, he claims James told him “I (expletive) hate Tampa.”
“For no reason, he had some kind of problem with me the second I walked in. It threw me off my game,” Rosa said.
Rosa couldn't say exactly what the outcome of the show was before it aired, but his chances at the prize don't sound promising.
“He said my dragon was the worst dragon he'd ever seen,” Rosa said with a laugh. “Believe it or not, I still had fun. I'm real passionate about what I do, and the people I tattoo love it, end of story. Look at my portfolio, my work speaks for itself.”