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.
Big Ceeze Anaheim, CA Owner/Artist, Mi Familia Tattoo Website: www.mifamiliatattoostudio.com Twitter: @biggceeze 17 years' experience Mentor to Kito
Big Ceeze is an artist and entrepreneur whose work focuses on black and grey realism who believes his 17 years of tattooing experience will propel him through this season's competition. He is challenged this season by Kito, his apprentice with whom he feels should retain his "student" status while he transforms his teacher title to the 'Ink Master' title. Big Ceeze carries himself with a sure-fire confidence and views this competition as a vital ingredient to solidify his ink reputation and once and for all, prove to Kito that he will remain on top.
Brian Stephens has been tattooing for a total of three years with a focus on traditional and realism. Despite his relatively short experience compared to others' in the competition, Brian has already collected his share of awards in traditional and color categories. His main competitor this season is MV, the El Paso shop owner who formerly apprenticed him. Brian is setting out to prove to his rival that he isn't the new kid on the block any more and hopes winning the coveted title of 'Ink Master' will give him the same respect as more experienced artists.
Chris Blinston Coral Springs, FL Owner/Artist, No Hard Feelings Tattoo Gallery Website: http://bigbrain2.com Twitter: @ChrisBlinston 18 years' experience Mentor to Tyler Nolan
Chris Blinston started his tattoo career while in the Marine Corps, getting his first job at a tattoo shop a year later. After apprenticing for three years, he was able to open his own studio where he feels he is a goal-oriented leaded who is committed to his own success as well as those around him. Chris comes into the competition with Tyler Nolan, the 26 year-old that he mentored for five years. Chris feels his passion for artwork, which has led him to the pursuit of perfection, will also lead him to the title of 'Ink Master.'
Craig Foster Carrollton, GA Owner, Skinwerks Tattoo Website: http://www.skinwerks.com Twitter: @skinwerks 20 years' experience Apprentice of Miami Burgess
A fan favorite from "Ink Master" Season 3, Foster landed himself a second shot at winning the 'Ink Master' title. A "working class" artist, Foster prides himself in his ability to relate to his clients and to never forget a face or tattoo he has worked on. Although he is primarily a new skool artist, Foster knows that his talents are balanced and can handle any challenge the judges give to him. This season, Foster goes head to head with his mentor, Miami Burgess, to prove his worthiness as an independent tattoo artist.
Dave Clarke Fort Walton Beach, FL Artist, Sacred-X-Pression Website: www.daveclarktattoo.com Twitter: @daveclarkestach 11 years' experience Apprentice of Earl Noble
Dave Clarke spent two years as an apprentice while in the army stationed in Germany before transitioning to a full-time career in tattooing. Clarke takes great pride in himself on beating his mentor, Earl Noble, in the past three tattoo conventions he has partaken in, making the claim that "the student is always better than the teacher." This season, he is looking to show Noble once and for all that he has surpassed his skills in ink.
Duffy dubs herself a tattoo brat since the age of six. Coming from a whole family of tattoo artists, she claims that the art of tattooing is in her blood. With a 10-month old at home, she asserts that is her passion and knowledge of this industry that drives her in this competition. She wants nothing more than for her child to look up to her success. Duffy is challenged this season by Kruseman, the Maryland tattoo shop owner a former mentor of hers. She is determined to outperform him this season and claim the title as the first female Ink Master.
Earl Noble St. Petersburg, FL Artist, Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery Twitter: @theearlnoble 10 years' experience Mentor to Dave Clarke
Earl Noble apprenticed for six months prior to starting his career as a professional tattoo artist. Specializing in stylized realism, the New Orleans native is challenged by Florida tattoo artist, Dave Clarke, whom he firmly believes would be nothing in the industry without him. Noble isn't remotely pleased with Clarke's lack of respect for the guidance he received and is determined to prove that the teacher will always come out victorious.
Erik Campbell Grand Junction, CO Owner/Artist, Black Pearl Tattoo Website: www.blackpearltattooinc.com Twitter: @erikcampbelltat 13 years' experience Mentor to Marisa LaRen
Erik views other artists' self-promotion meaningless unless the tattoo work actually measures up. After a two-year apprenticeship, this Colorado native opened his own shop in a competitive tattoo community. His competition this season is Marisa LaRen, a rookie artist whom he hired following her apprenticeship with him. Erik believes he does not receive the respect he deserves from Marisa for building, what he believes to be, her entire career.
Katie McGowan Sherwood, AR Artist, Black Cobra Tattoos Website: www.tattoosbykatie.com Twitter: @KatieTattoos 5 years' experience Apprentice of Matt O'Baugh
Katie has been tattooing for five years in central Arkansas. Her style is bold and colorful with a traditional influence and has won numerous awards at tattoo conventions around the U.S. McGowan comes into the competition with her mentor, Matt O'Baugh, whom she works with in Arkansas. She feels her confident and competitive personality will help her strive in the competition and hopes to prove that women have an important role in the tattoo industry by being the first female to win the title of 'Ink Master.'
Kito Tulsa, OK Owner/artist, Fidolo Tattoo Website: http://www.tattoosbykito.com Twitter: @TattooKito 10 Years' experience Apprentice of Big Ceeze
Kito has an incredible passion for tattooing, specializing in black and grey and lettering. He sees this competition as his outlet to display his talent to a worldwide audience. After practicing as a self-taught artist followed by apprenticing for two years, Kito mobilized his career as an artist and shop owner in Oklahoma. He's in it to win it, discrediting the level of expertise that comes with years of experience, something his former mentor and rival this season, Big Ceeze, holds over him.
Kruseman boasts 20 years in the tattoo industry and argues that knowing how to actually draw is what that elevates him above other artists. This studio owner apprenticed for two years before becoming a full-time artist focusing on the traditional style. Kruseman finds a rival in Duffy Fortner, his former apprentice, who comes from an entire family of tattoo artists. Although he believes Duffy has produced decent work to back up her cockiness, he has no doubt in his mind that she does not have what it takes to beat him in this competition.
Marisa LaRen Ft. Lauderdale, FL Artist, Vatican Tattoos Website: www.blackpearltattooinc.com Twitter: @marisalaren 3 years' experience Apprentice of Erik Campbell
More than just a tattoo artist; Marisa's also a star fitness fanatic who ranked third in the 2014 Colorado State's Fitness Competition. With just three years of tattooing under her belt, she claims her quick progression in tattooing levels the playing field among her competitors. Marisa goes head-to-head this season with her mentor, Erik Campbell, with whom she has been working with nearly every day for the past four years. She enters this competition ready to prove her worth as an artist.
Matt O'Baugh has been tattooing for 14 years. After apprenticing for 1 year, the next 10 years of his career were spent working for various tattoo shops before opening his own, Black Cobra in Sherwood, Arkansas. He comes into the competition with Katie McGowan, an employee of his, who prides herself on keeping up to date on the tattoo culture. Matt is determined to put the other contestant's skills to the test as he battles for the title of 'Ink Master.'
Miami boasts 23 years' experience in this industry and is ready to solidify his reputation as an accomplished artist. Garnering national exposure due to his tattoo of Michael Jackson on rapper Da Brat, Miami asserts he has what it takes to be a figurehead in the industry. This season he is challenged by Season 3 contestant and employee, Craig Foster. Miami's on a mission to prove a point: that mentors always come out on top.
MV El Paso, TX Owner/Artist, Blue Panda Tattoo Website: www.facebook.com/tattoosbymat Twitter: @tat2bymat 6 years' experience Mentor to Brian Stephens
MV comes in full steam to this competition, expecting to be the last one standing among lesser artists. He's got a string of tattoo convention awards to back up his reputation. He specializes in Black and Grey and realism and has been feature in tattoo publications in the past. This season, MV finds a rival in Brian Stephens, his former apprentice who thinks he's amassed the skills necessary to beat his mentor.
Ryan Hadley Fort Wayne, IN Owner/artist, Ryan Hadley Studio Website: http://www.ryanhadley.com Twitter: @ryanhadleyink 15 years' experience Apprentice to St. Marq
Ryan Hadley has focused on realism, hyperrealism, black and white and Japanese during his fifteen years of tattooing. Hadley's challenged this season by his mentor, St. Marq, whom he criticizes for maintaining an old-school tattooing style. He believes St. Marq is way outdated in the tattoo industry and is ready to prove that he has the necessary skills and fresh outlook to win the title of 'Ink Master.' As someone who knows his mentor's work, he has full confidence that he can outperform it.
St. Marq West Lafayette, IN Owner, New Breed Website: (http://www.soulpowertrippin.com) Twitter: @saintmarqtattoo 25 years' experience Mentor to Ryan Hadley
St. Marq has been tattooing for more than 25 years. As the owner of New Breed Tattoo, he has been featured in various publications including National Geographic and the New York Times. His main competitor is Ryan Hadley, a Fort Wayne shop owner whom he formerly mentored. He believes his rival has a big ego without the experience to back it up.
Tyler Nolan Ft. Lauderdale, FL Artist, Vatican Tattoos Website: www.tylernolantattoos.com Twitter: @_tylernolan 10 years' experience Apprentice of Chris Blinston
Tyler Nolan has always had a reputation for pushing the limits as witnessed via his hobby of venomous snake handler. He was previously mentored by Chris Blinston whom he left for an opportunity at another shop. This departure left unresolved tension between the two which Tyler plans to clear up during the competition by producing, what he thinks will be, better tattoos.
Eighteen tattoo artists from around the country will battle it out in permanent ink and sometimes with each other for a $100,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked and, of course, the bragging rights title of Ink Master. This season it’s not just about the rivalries the artists create during the competition, each contestant comes with their own personal tattoo rival – their master or apprentice.