4:00am PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Best Ink' Host Pete Wentz Talks Tattoo Lessons: 'What Makes It Great is the Story' (Video)
Pete Wentz got his first tattoo at 15 years old. Now 33, the Fall Out Boy bassist continues his education as the host of Oxygen's Best Ink.
"On this show, I probably offer the perspective of someone in the audience that is really into tattoos but doesn't necessarily know some of the [technical] things," Wentz tells The Hollywood Reporter.
As a liaison of sorts between the experts and casual viewers, Wentz revels in geeking out over his new knowledge of line weights, techniques, terminology and the artistry behind the competing tattoo artists and expert judges.
And while many people will "line up" for a "free tattoo and some screen time," he's discovered, consumers should be wary of just who is inking their skin. Wentz offers a list of qualifications to look for when choosing a tattoo artist.
"I think you need to find an artist that you really trust," he says. "So you know their portfolio, you've seen tattoos that they've done, but more than that you know about some experiences that they've had. When you go in to get the tattoo, sometimes an artist might be like, 'Well, maybe that won't look great on that part of your body' -- an artist that's actually trying to give you the best version of the tattoo that you want."
Because, let's face it: not everyone has great ideas when it comes to their tattoos.
For those with questionable concepts, "the artist will help rearrange it and make it an idea that you would want to live with forever," Wentz says.
Of his own tattoos, the musician says he values pieces that hold sentimental value and hidden significance. "A tattoo can be good from the art, but what makes it great is the story that goes with the tattoo," he says. "Just stuff you wouldn't know unless they explain it to you. To me, that's what makes a great tattoo."
A father to 4-year-old Bronx Mowgli, Wentz has said in multiple interviews that he would someday tattoo his son's name on his body in the child's handwriting -- but that one will have to wait. Bronx can currently draw X's and the "two bubbles of a B," but not yet his name. Hey, only three letters to go.
"I think I have a long way to go" until Bronx starts looking into some skin art of his own, Wentz adds with a smile. "The nature of being someone's son or daughter is you rebel against your parents, so I think the rebellion might be long division or something."
But when it comes to tattooing a loved one's mug on your skin -- a la Amber Rose and her fresh Wiz Khalifa tatt -- Wentz abides by the parents and children rule.
"Usually in the world of tattoos, we say that you only get a kid or a parent tattooed on you," he says, "just because those people will be in your life forever and will always matter to you." (Though he notes that his parents might be more "stoked" if he doesn't get a tattoo in their honor.)
Best Ink airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. Below, find an exclusive sneak peek of the May 8 episode. For more from THR's interview with Wentz, watch the video above and check back to the Earshot blog next week.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci