Spike is looking to get under viewers' skin with the series premiere of "Ink Master," the first-ever tattoo competition reality series starting Tuesday, January 17 at 10/9c
. Ten of the nation's top tattoo artists from around the country will battle it out in permanent ink for a $100,000 cash prize, an editorial feature in the preeminent tattoo magazine Inked and the title of 'Ink Master.'
"Ink Master" contestants will compete in various tattoo challenges that not only test the artists' technical skills, but also their on-the-spot creativity, where they must create and execute an original tattoo on command. Challenges focus on different tattooing techniques, such as shading, line and proportion, and styles including photorealism, Tribal, American traditional, and pin-up.
The tension and stakes are high in "Ink Master." Every week, the artists face a tough panel made up of series host Dave Navarro, renowned tattoo artists Chris Nunez ("Miami Ink") and Oliver Peck (Elm Street Tattoo). A roster of some of the top names within the tattoo community appear during certain challenges as guest judges, acclaimed artists Scott Campbell and Jack Rudy, Inked magazine creative director Todd Weinberger and celebrity tattoo aficionados NBA player Chris Andersen and Ton Jones ("Auction Hunters"). Of course, they will also have to face the opinions of the people they actually tattoo. These 'human canvases' range from tattoo virgins to connoisseurs with a full sleeve of body art to those who want to cover up a prior tattoo misstep. Satisfying the individual whose skin now bears the artists' handiwork will also be a major element in determining the victor. The masterpieces will last forever, but so will the mistakes.
The "Ink Master" Season One tattoo artists are (listed in alphabetical order):
• Al Fliction, 42 – Owner and artist at Bklyn Ink in Brooklyn, NY.
• Jeremy Miller, 27 – Owner and artist at Pigment Demographics and Fine Art in Austin, TX.
• Tommy Helm, 38 – Owner and artist at Empire State Studio, Oceanside, NY.
• Shane O'Neill, 39 – Owner and artist at Shane O'Neill Tattoo shops in Middleton, DE and Willow Grove, PA.
• Brian 'B-TAT' Robinson - Owner and artist at Moving Ink based out of Essex County, NJ.
• Heather Sinn, 41 – Co-owner and artist of The Tattoo Room in Simi Valley, CA,
• James Vaughn, 38 – Owner and artist at Straight A Tattoo in Asheboro, NC.
• Bili Vegas, 29 – Owner and artist at Sacred Tattoo in New York, NY
• Lea Vendetta, 40 – Artist at A Stroke of Genius Tattoos in Boca Raton, Fl.
• Josh Woods, 30 – Owner and artist at Black 13 Tattoo in Nashville, TN.
Fans can join in the "Ink Master" conversation by following @SPIKE_TV
on Twitter and using #InkMaster. Biographies, photo gallery portfolios, Q&A videos with the contestants and a whole lot more can be found on Spike.com
's dedicated "Ink Master" destination, inkmaster.spike.com
. Content will be updated regularly throughout the season to the "Ink Master" site, including full episodes, video clips including an exclusive of Dave Navarro talking about his own tattoos, and blog posts.