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.
Allisin Riot feels confident that she and her best friend Jessy Knuckles will be "the" team to beat this season because between the two of them they are ready to get the recognition they believe their work deserves. Her tattoo style consists of new school, geometric, realism and watercolor and while she hasn't been in the industry too long, she feels she is ready to take on any artist and any style of tattooing.
April Nicole describes herself as a headstrong artist with loud opinions. The Long Island born artist, who specializes in feminine and colorful tattoo styles, says she sticks to her beliefs and won't let anyone call her out on something that she doesn't believe in. April Nicole considers herself a well-rounded artist and is ready to prove that she has what it takes to claim the title of "Ink Master."
Aric Taylor describes himself as very humble and admits he is his own worst critic. The Black Anchor Collective artist, whose favorite tattoo styles include realism with his own twist, says he has picked up many styles over the years and plans to let his art speak for itself.
Babiery Hernandez has always loved art and is confident that he has great tattooing skills. He is very passionate about drawing and feels his artistry will help put him above the rest. Hernandez is coming into the competition to represent his family, who he credits as his inspiration to be a great artist.
Bang Atlanta, GA Artist, Tri-Cities Tattoo Instagram: @bang.ink 4 years' experience
Bang began tattooing out of her dorm room in college before becoming an apprentice. After graduating college and commissioning as an Army Officer, she says she stuck with art and tattooing to continue on a positive path in life. The Georgia artist, whose styles include photorealism, portraits, sci-fi and surrealism, is on a mission to prove that artists of color are a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Bang is confident that she can take on anyone in the competition.
Anwon "Boneface" Johnson Pensacola, FL Owner/Artist, Boneface Ink Website: bonefaceink.com Instagram: @bonefaceink 19 years' experience Season 8 Veteran
Anwon "Boneface" Johnson, who has been in the tattoo business since he was 15 years old, is ready to clear the air from his prior appearance on Ink Master. While he didn't walk away best friends with everyone from his last season, he is entering the competition this time with Season 8 alum Hobo Ink. After making it to the top seven during his season, the self-taught artist says he is planning to plot his way to the top this time.
Bubba Irwin predicts he will be the most improved contestant to ever return to "Ink Master." He says he has listened to every critique he received during the competition and has studied up in anticipation of his second chance at the title. Irwin's strategy is to prey on people's weaknesses both mentally and artistically. He feels he played it too safe during Season 4 and is ready to win this time around.
Carlos Rojas prides himself in his attention to detail in his tattoo work and considers himself to be one of the best realism artists in the country. The Black Anchor Collective artist describes himself as a bulldog who tells it like he sees it. Rojas says he is not going to let anyone bully him through the competition and plans to get to the finish line.
Christian Buckingham feels he was robbed of the title of Ink Master back in Season 7 and is out to claim what he feels he rightfully deserves. He's been dreaming of coming back ever since he left the competition and is determined to play an even stronger mental game this time around. Buckingham says he has taken the judges advice, improving his tattooing speed, and is ready to represent his new shop.
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.
Dane Smith says he thrives in competitive settings and enjoys creating tattoos that flow and fit well on his client's bodies. While he prides himself in his tattoo art, he has expanded his portfolio to other works of art including designing the 2012 Olympic synchronized swim teams' uniforms.
As a son of a preacher, Danger Dave grew up in a conservative family before rebelling and becoming a tattoo artist. While he describes himself as laid-back, he is not afraid to get loud if needed. The Georgia-based artist, whose signature style is sculpture and draws inspiration from African themes, wants to prove that people of color are known for more than "urban tattoos."
Derek Zielinski says he's pretty sure he'll get under people's skin in the competition. Zielinski, who is into a holistic and vegan living, says that just because his lifestyle is clean doesn't mean he won't fight dirty to win it all. The Classic Trilogy Tattoo artist, whose styles include traditional, portrait, new school and realism, is confident that his work will do all the talking.
DJ Tambe Scottsdale, AZ Artist, Old Town Ink Website: djtambe.com Instagram: @djtambe 20 years' experience
DJ Tambe feels that his many years in the industry and his portfolio speak for itself. The artist, who is known for black and grey realism and color illustrative style, refers to his personal style as "exagger-realism." Tambe has been trying to get on the show since Season 1 and is ready to show the world why he is worth of the title of "Ink Master."
Though Doom Kitten hasn't been tattooing very long, he feels confident that his neo-traditional style will blow the competition out of the water. The artist, who is a self-professed gamer, plans to come into the competition with a well thought out strategy and will take down the strong artists one by one.
Originally an advertising and psychology major, DTATSTAR dropped out of school and found his way into the tattoo business. DTATSTAR, whose style consists of black and grey and illustrative, describes himself as a calm guy but is not afraid to hit you from behind when you least expect it. He plans to use his problem solving skills to help advance in the competition.
E.S. Las Vegas, NV/Bridgeport, CT Artist, Black Spade Tattoo/Owner, Steel Points Gallery Website: WWW.ESTATTOOS.COM Instagram: @estattoos 20 years' experience Season 3 Veteran
Since his appearance on Season 3, E.S. says he has learned many new techniques making him much more skilled than his first go-around. He is excited for a second chance to prove himself and is ready to have a good time winning.
Eva Huber, who describes herself as a gypsy spirit, says she's great at reading people and will be able to analyze her competition. The Alabama-based artist, whose favorite styles include traditional with an illustrative flair, comes into the competition with her husband Ulyss, with whom she co-owns Allegory Arts. Huber takes pride in her hometown and is hoping competing on Ink Master will help put Alabama tattooing on the map.
As a boy who was once homeless, Brandon "Hobo Ink" Allen considers not ending up in jail his biggest accomplishment in life. Even though he has only been in the industry a short time, he considers himself the go-to for Atlanta's professional athletes and rappers and feels he is always ready to take it to the next level. After being cut from the top 30 during Season 8, Hobo Ink feels he has sharpened his skills and is ready for his voice to be heard this season.
This season, shops from all around the country are sending two of their strongest artists to compete for a $200,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked and, for the first time in Ink Master history, the title of Master Shop.