Dave Navarro's respect for the art and culture of tattooing makes him perfect for host and judge of Ink Master. With his six-string skills best described as a merger between heavy metal, psychedelia, and modern rock, Navarro is one of alternative rock's first true guitar heroes. Best known as the guitarist for Jane's Addiction, the band recently released their highly anticipated new album The Great Escape Artist.
Chris Nunez sits on the Ink Master judge's panel along with Dave Navarro and Oliver Peck. Nunez, 38, is of Cuban descent and grew up in Miami, FL. He entered into the realm of tattooing after beginning his career as a graffiti artist. At 21, Nunez packed his bags for a short trip to Brazil and ended up staying for five years. He then traveled through Europe for three years, which enabled him to work with his favorite tattoo artists. The experience expanded both his artistic sense and his knowledge of tattooing. He was a star and fan favorite on the popular tattoo-reality series, "Miami Ink." Nunez is a partner in Ridgeline Empire, a strategic multiplatform content and media corporation, which operates the subsidiaries Ink Skins and Upset Gentlemen and an animation studio with two animated series in development, "Hoodbrats" and "Toothians." He is also getting ready to open a new tattoo venture to be based in his hometown of Miami.
Oliver Peck, judge of Ink Master, is an artist whose whole life revolves around tattooing. He began tattooing when he was just 19 years old in his hometown of Dallas, TX and has perfected his precise and traditional tattooing style making him one of the best and well-known 'old school' American style artists. In 2008, Peck inked his way into the Guinness Book of World Records when he completed 415 tattoos of the number 13 in a consecutive 24-hour period. He is one of the most traveled tattoo artists on the circuit, tattooing all over Europe including England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Norway and in the Far East, including Japan and Thailand. Peck is co-owner of Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, TX and the owner of True Tattoo located in Hollywood, CA.
Aaron "Is" Michalowski Las Vegas, NV & Clearwater, FL Artist, Golden Skull Tattoo & Foolish Pride 2 Website: aaronistattoo.com Instagram: @aaronistattoo 19 years' experience Season 5 Veteran
While Aaron "Is" Michalowski made it to the top six during Season 5, he believes he has the skills to claim the title this season. His experience in photorealism, dotwork, and sacred geometry has landed him features in several tattoo publications. Is believes he is skilled diverse tattooer and plans to prove his worth this season.
Angel Brooklyn, NY Owner/Artist, Puncture Tattoo Studio Twitter: @Angel_Bauta Instagram: angel_ta2 18 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "The Brooklyn Boys," versus Cris Element
Angel is an artist and entrepreneur who focuses on many styles of color and grey wash tattoos. He believes that not specializing in one specific style distinguishes him as a well-rounded tattooist. This season, Angel finds a rival in Cris Element, the Brooklyn artist who once worked for him before quitting unexpectedly. While Element thinks he has surpassed the skills of his former mentor, Angel is furious at the lack of respect shown by Element and is determined to show him who's really the boss.
Caroline Evans Bradley Beach, NJ Artist, Ink Obsession Website: (www.tattoosbycaroline.com) Twitter: @tatugirl 15 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "The Rookie versus the Veteran," versus Julia Carlson
Caroline Evans has been a mainstay in a male-dominated industry. Besides her versatility in color and black and grey styles, Evans enjoys the challenge that a cover-up provides and has won awards for her corrections in ink. This season, Evans is challenged by newcomer Julia Carlson, a co-worker at Ink Obsession. Carlson believes that Evans is jealous of her talents and is out to prove that her experience is no match for the new kid on the block, but Evans thinks that Carlson still has a lot to learn and many years to go before she can ever reach her level of expertise.
After falling just shy of winning "Ink Master" twice, Cleen Rock One is ready to claim the title he believes he deserves once and for all. The Las Vegas artist feels he has the biggest advantage as he has been around the competition more than anyone else. Cleen is confident that his consistency as an artist will bring him to the top and his past experiences on the show have provided him with enough skill and strategy to dominate the competition this time around.
Cris Element is a self-taught tattoo artist. Element does not believe in the traditional route; he openly regards old school tattoos as "outdated" and longtime artists as arrogant. His main competitor this season is Angel, the Brooklyn shop owner who once employed him before Element severed the relationship by quitting without notice. While Angel thinks that Element's cockiness has gotten the better of him, his former employee thinks it's time he demonstrated his artistic superiority.
Don Peddicord Baltimore, MD Co-Owner/Artist, Tattoo Dynasty Website: (http://instagram.com/donpeddicordart) Twitter: @DonPeddicordArt 8 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "Ink Master Fight Full Circle," versus Erik Siuda
Don Peddicord is a self-made man who has learned to turn struggle into triumph, going from an unsuccessful apprenticeship to co-owning his own tattoo shop, where he specializes in neo-traditional, portraiture and realism styles. After a motorcycle accident left Peddicord severely injured, doctors estimated that he would not be able to walk again for over six months, but Peddicord persevered and proved the doctors wrong, doing so in less than three. Peddicord is challenged by Erik Siuda, the versatile New York shop owner he met during casting for season two. Neither man was able to stand the other's arrogance over what each perceives to be subpar work.
Emily Elegado Charleston, SC Artist, Roses & Ruins Tattoo Website: (www.emilyelegado.com) Twitter: @EmilyElegado 6 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "He Disrespected Her on Her Home Turf," versus Aaron Is
Emily Elegado spent three years completing a traditional tattoo apprenticeship before taking on her own clients. Other than her work in realism, Elegado considers herself infamous for having an in-your-face attitude. She enters the competition with a distaste for Aaron Is, the Tampa tattooist she first met when he did a guest spot at her shop. Elegado felt that Is had absolutely no respect for the industry, and matters were only made worse by his dating Elegado's co-worker.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Erik Siuda began his career as a graffiti artist before studying at the School of Visual Arts and apprenticing in New York City. Siuda prides himself on his versatility as an artist, focusing his work on pseudo traditional, new school, realism and Japanese styles. In addition to owning his own studio, Siuda also sells custom tattoo machines that he builds himself. Siuda's rival is Don Peddicord, a Maryland shop owner that he met during casting for season two. The two didn't get along from the start, unable to stand the other's arrogance over what each perceives to be subpar work.
Born with an innate passion for creation, Jason Clay Dunn completed a traditional apprenticeship by nineteen and set out to become a leading artist in the Neo-Asian style. Dunn competed on season three, tattooing through his personal battles with panic disorder and anxiety, but the shop owner fell short and ended up in sixth place. Now he's back to battle Josh Hibbard, season three's infamous instigator. Hibbard's scheming tactics and penchant for drama didn't sit well with Dunn, and their feud is sure to pick right back up this season as he clashes with Dunn's no-nonsense personality.
Jayvo Scott Melbourne, FL Self-employed tattoo artist Website: (www.jayvoscott.com) Twitter: @JayvoScott 13 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "Absolutely No Brotherly Love Here," versus Robbie Ripoll
Although he was always around his father's tattoo shop as a kid, Jayvo Scott didn't get to working with ink until he was twenty-three. Now, after learning the ropes, Scott has become the owner of the family business. Scott's main competition is a sibling rivalry with his brother, Robbie Ripoll. Although they were close as kids, the two have grown apart. Scott feels he deserves Ripoll's respect and Ripoll gets territorial about the trade he's worked since childhood. The feud has gotten physical in the past, but both ultimately seek to impress their father, from whom they learned the tricks of the trade.
Joshua Hibbard Portland, OR Artist at Inspired Tattoo Website: (www.joshuahibbard.com) Twitter: @_JoshuaHibbard 10 years' experience Rivals Match-Up: "Season Three Returners," versus Jason Clay Dunn
Formerly homeless, Joshua Hibbard believes that some tattoo artists are making a mockery of the craft that saved his life and thinks that the industry needs to improve its professional standards. He frequently criticizes others' work and in doing so creates controversy, a tactic that cemented him early on as season three's most notorious competitor. Back for another chance at the title, Hibbard is challenged by fellow season three competitor Jason Clay Dunn, who sees him as a flip-flopping instigator with a trace-and-tattoo technique that is less than legitimate. Hibbard remained in the competition just one round longer than Dunn, clinching the number five spot, and their feud is sure to pick right back up where it left off on this season.
Julia Carlson Browns Mills, NJ Artist, Ink Obsession Website: (http://instagram.com/juliacarlsontattoo) Twitter: @julzcarlsontat2 5 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "The Rookie versus the Veteran," versus Caroline Evans
Julia Carlson apprenticed for six months and has been tattooing ever since with a focus in color and grey wash tattoos. Although she may appear to be small and sweet, Carlson sees herself as a tough and versatile competitor, and is setting out to gain the respect she feels she deserves in the industry. Carlson is challenged this season by Caroline Evans, veteran tattoo artist and fellow co-worker at Ink Obsession. While Evans claims that she's pushing Carlson to become the best artist possible, Carlson feels that Evans' feigned guidance is really rooted in jealousy and is tired of being targeted and disrespected by her.
LT Providence, RI Artist, East Providence Tattoo Website: (http://instagram.com/lt_doart3) Twitter: @lt_doart3 3 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "Vying for the Top Dog in Rhode Island," versus Ty'Esha Reels
LT is a tattoo artist who specializes in realism and black and gray. LT believes that he is overlooked and underrated, and covets the recognition reaped by his contemporaries. LT is challenged this season by Ty'Esha Reels, who is furious about having lost to him at a Rhode Island expo despite having twice the experience. Reels believes that LT has yet to pay his dues in the industry and is determined to redeem herself, but LT believes he has.
Mark Longenecker is a surfer and tattoo artist whose works have been exhibited in conventions on the world stage. Specializing in vibrant colors, the studio owner's tattoos range in style from tropical to Japanese, and his artistic accomplishments have earned him what he describes as a "room full of trophies." The Florida native is challenged by Dania Beach tattoo artist Ryan Eternal, whom he feels is trying to steal his customers and fame despite having only half his experience. Longenecker is furious that Eternal is encroaching on his territory, and is determined to do whatever it takes to defend it.
Robbie Ripoll Viera, FL Owner/Artist, Chapel of Love Tattoo Website: (www.chapeloflovetattoo.com) Twitter: @ RobbieRipoll 18 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "Absolutely No Brotherly Love Here," versus Jayvo Scott
Robbie Ripoll got his start apprenticing at his father's tattoo shop at the age of twelve, and was tattooing professionally long before graduating high school. After several years of working at the family business, the new school artist opened his own studio. Ripoll's competition is his older brother, Jayvo Scott. Although they were close as kids, the two have grown apart due to jealousy. Scott's struggling to catch up to his younger brother's success and Ripoll is getting territorial about the turf he acquired long ago. The feud has gotten physical in the past, but both ultimately seek to impress their dad, from whom they both learned the art of tattooing.
Ryan Eternal Orlando, FL Artist, Hart & Huntington Website: (http://instagram.com/ryaneternal) Twitter: @Ryan_Eternal 9 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "He Wants to Be Me," versus Mark Longenecker
Ryan Eternal is a military veteran who picked up on the tattoo trade while stationed in South Korea. Originally from Stockton, one of the roughest cities in California, Eternal's dreams of a career in ink were almost ruined when a car accident left his hand severely damaged, but the new school artist has recovered and feels ready to battle for ink's ultimate title. Eternal's competition is Mark Longenecker, the Cocoa Beach Surfer and artist whom he used to idolize. Despite looking up to him in the past, Eternal is out for Longenecker's crown and his clients, establishing himself as a Florida circuit legend.
Despite having been homeless for two years as a teen, Tim Lees persevered through his hardships and became a self-taught artist. He specializes in surrealism and portraiture, and has won many awards on the convention circuit over the past two decades. Lees has a huge score to settle with competitor Cleen Rock One, the artist whose shop he helped to build. Shortly after the studio's opening, the two had a falling out that resulted in Lees leaving the shop. Left feeling backstabbed and bitter, Lees is now out for vengeance.
Ty'Esha Reels Providence, RI Website: (http://instagram.com/Ty_Tattoos) Twitter: @Ty_Tattoo 6 years' experience Rivals Match-up: "Vying for the Top Dog in Rhode Island," versus LT
Ty'Esha Reels is a Native American tattoo artist who specializes in color tattoos. After realizing her love of tattoos at a young age, Reels focused all of her time on becoming a better artist. She enters this season with competition from LT, the Rhode Island native who beat her for best black and grey tattoo at an expo despite having half the experience. Reels believes that LT has yet to pay his dues in the industry, and seeks to turn embarrassment into redemption.