In an intense and exciting live finale, Bubba Irwin and DJ Tambe of Old Town Ink were named the winners of "Ink Master" Season 9. Bubba Irwin and DJ Tambe won a combined cash prize of $200,000, a feature article in the premiere tattoo publication Inked, the prestigious title of "Ink Master" – and, for the first time in "Ink Master" history, Old Town Ink earned the title of "Master Shop."
Nine of the top tattoo shops from around the country battled it out all season in permanent ink, in various tattoo challenges that not only tested the artists' technical skills, but also their on-the-spot creativity, with competitors creating and executing original tattoos on "human c anvases." In addition to new contestants, this season of "Ink Master" brought back nine of the series' favorite artists from previous seasons and their shop partners to battle it out.
Each week's challenges focused on a different tattoo technique and style. After every challenge, the contestants faced a tough panel made up of musician, filmmaker and artist Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction) as well as world-renowned tattoo artists Chris Núñez ("Miami Ink") and Oliver Peck (Elm Street Tattoo).
The final three shops – Christian Buckingham and Noelin Wheeler of Basilica Tattoo in Las Vegas, NV; Matt O'Baugh and Katie McGowan of Black Cobra Tattoos in Sherwood, AR; and Bubba Irwin and DJ Tambe of Old Town Ink in Scottsdale, AZ – were each assigned two master canvases. They were sent back to their home bases to complete two back pieces, one color and one black and gray.
In addition, the three final teams also completed seven-hour tattoos leading into the live finale. During the finale, fans voted to determine who completed this challenge the best, with the most votes earning a spot in the top two. After thousands of tweets, it was determined that Matt O'Baugh and Katie McGowan had the best live tattoo of the evening, which secured their spot in the final two. And after the judges reviewed the artwork, Bubba Irwin and DJ Tambe earned the second spot in the final two.
Then, both shops revealed their master canvases to the judges – and America – and in the end, Bubba Irwin and DJ Tambe were named the season 9 winners of "Ink Master," with Old Town Ink being crowned "Master Shop."
In addition, fans were given a first look at the new series "Ink Master: Angels," featuring four top female competitors from "Ink Master" – Ryan Ashley, Kelly Doty, Nikki Simpson and Gia Rose. The new series premieres Tuesday, October 3 at 10/9c on Spike.