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.
Alex Rockoff is a ball of nervous, manic energy and he bottles it all up inside of him until it bursts. Rivals have called him flamboyant and "a little bit nuts." Usually it's all fun and games for Rockoff, but he has been known to cross the line and takes things just a bit to far which he's typically unapologetic for, especially when it comes to his career. An art kid who fell in love with tattoos, Rockoff believes his lines, shading, and color gradients are his strong points.
Anthony Michaels Tucson, AZ Artist, Metro Tattoo Twitter: @Antmikes 5 years' experience
Anthony Michaels is proud that he doesn't carry himself like a stereotypical tattoo artist - he thinks it's what sets him apart from the pack. Nothing about the competition scares him. In fact, he predicts it will be the other contestants losing sleep once they see what he can do. Inspired by his sister, who persevered through brain damage and is now a Special Olympics gold medal winner, he's not going to stop until he's Ink Master.
With the nickname "Show Off," Ashley Velazquez lives for the spot light. She learned quickly from the other artists around her and taught herself when no one would apprentice her. A former art major in college, she began drawing tattoos before she even was a tattoo artist. Now, five years later she is the most requested artist at the shop she works at. Hungry for this opportunity, Velazquez feels competing on "Ink Master" is validation to her doubting father that she has made the right career choice.
Christian Buckingham comes from a conservative family of Air Force officers including his brother, father and grandfather.He is looking forward to competing on "Ink Master" and is hoping to win decisively. He believes the public will enjoy watching him destroy the competition. With past "Ink Master" contestants working around him, Buckingham feels he is ready to take home the title for himself and help support his "badass" wife, children and grandchildren.
Season 5 runner up, Cleen Rock One started as Illinois shop owner whose neo-traditional and new school approaches to ink landed him guest spots in studios nationwide and features in several tattoo magazines. Years later, the artist and entrepreneur moved out West, opening up his own shop, Chrome Gypsy Tattoo and striving to leave a permanent mark on the Las Vegas circuit. Cleen Rock didn't expect to make it as far as he did during season 5, but now that he's aware of exceptional skills, he's confident to quickly take over this competition.
Corey Davis has been tattooing for 10 years and currently works in the Atlanta-based tattoo shop, City of Ink, where his specialty is neo-traditional. He's been featured in numerous tattoo publications and won awards for his work. Growing up in a less privileged community has influenced Davis artistically and has made him extremely grateful in his career. He attributes tattooing to saving his life and has never been more ready to fight for the "Ink Master" title.
Cris Gherman is a Transylvanian rebel who doesn't play by anyone's rules but his own. Gherman has been featured in numerous international magazines and has won awards at various tattoo conventions worldwide. He thinks there is no competition when it comes to his art and believes that this is his time. He hopes that winning the "Ink Master" title will bust his career wide open and turn him into to the household name he believes he deserves to be.
James Vaughn Asheboro, NC/Greensboro, NC Owner/Artist, Straight A Tattoo & Emerald City Tattoo Website: mrjamesvaughn.com Twitter: @Mrjamesvaughn 23 years' experience Season 1 Veteran
James Vaughn specializes in neo Japanese and old school traditional tattooing styles. He's won over 300 awards and has been published more than 20 times for his work. Not only has Vaughn has been tattooing for more than 20 years, but he also made it to the final three on season one of "Ink Master." But leaving without the title did not stop him. He now owns two tattoo parlors in North Carolina, Straight A tattoo in Asheboro, Emerald City Tattoo & Piercing in Greensboro and has no intentions of returning back to the south without the "Ink Master" title in hand.
Jesse Smith discovered his love of art while living in Germany as an "army brat" teen. It was there that he became interested in urban culture and graffiti art. Being eliminated in season 2 hasn't slowed Smith down. He says it has helped him grow as an artist at his shop, Loose Screw Tattoos in Richmond, VA. He's ready to use his eccentric distinctive style of art to take home the Ink Master title.
With over 20 years in the tattoo industry, Jime Litwalk does his best to pass on his experience and knowledge to the other competitors. His tattoo and illustration career has brought him numerous awards, magazine mentions and feature articles. While he is comfortable tattooing in almost any genre, Litwalk's passion is in his signature animated "classic new skool" style. This married father of two is a true perfectionist and is returning from season 3 and this time he has no intentions of allowing the first place title slip away.
Matti Hixson, speaks bluntly, but he claims it's all in the name of artistic passion. A self-taught artist, his devotion and respect for his craft sometimes can come off as abrasive, but he really isn't interested in what anyone else thinks. Well known on the convention circuit, Hixson is a well-rounded artist who thrives in color realism and likes tattooing with a dark twist. He brings his passion and competitive spirit to this season's competition openly acknowledging that he's here for the notoriety, the money and of course the title of "Ink Master."
Megan Jean Morris is aware that her personality can come off as arrogant, but she feels that that is because she is straight forward. A tomboy with a feminine side, Morris tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve. Early in her career, she found it difficult for her to be taken seriously within the tattoo community, so she's worked extra hard to earn respect. Morris studied realism in college, and uses her art background to create vibrant and detailed surrealistic pieces.
Picasso Dular knows what it takes to survive and plans to apply his "ninja" tactics to the competition, methodically preying on the weaknesses of his fellow artists. Intense and relentless, he does not plan to keep his opinions to himself during judging. Dular refuses to pigeonhole himself as an artist specializing in one particular style. He hopes coming home with the "Ink Master" title will grant him the ability to open up his own shop and allowing this nomad to finally plant roots.
Season 2 runner-up Sarah Miller is a versatile artist; specializing in photo realism, she enjoys other styles as well, including but not limited to New School, Japanese, and Black and Gray. Tattooing since 2006, she has traveled the world, competing and exploring the different aspects of the tattoo art form. Not just limited to tattooing, she still pushes her boundaries in fine art. Miller considers herself to be very competitive and says she definitely has what it takes to win this and be the first female "Ink Master."
Walter "Sausage" Frank isn't just a tattoo artist; he's a true entertainer whose stage is the tattoo studio. Not only has Sausage worked alongside season 3 winner, Joey "Hollywood" Hamilton, but he almost grabbed the Ink Master crown for himself during season 4. Although he didn't win the title then, he quickly won the hearts of his fans. This season he's back with a vengeance and this time intends to come back to Las Vegas with the title of "Ink Master."
St. Marq has been tattooing for more than 25 years with a background in many styles of tattooing including Black and Grey, Realism, Large Conceptual and Epic Multi-Surface tattoos. During season 6 he was known as one of the cockiest contestants ever in the competition. With his years of experience St. Marq plans to dominate this competition the second time around and plans to have thought out strategies to win the Ink Master title.
This season brings back eight of the series’ favorite artists from previous seasons to battle it out in permanent ink for a $100,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked and, of course, the bragging rights title of Ink Master.