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.
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.
Carolyn Elaine doesn't want her petite size to fool you, get in her way and she says she will put you in your place. Her favorite style is color realism because she likes to make her work look like its moving. Carolyn's feels motherhood has pushed her to be a strong independent woman so she can show her kids how to "not be a dumb punk trying to weasel their way through life." She is confident she has what it takes to be the first female Ink Master.
Dave Robinowitz Boynton Beach, FL Artist, A Stroke of Genius Instagram: @david_robinowitz 11 Years' Experience
While David Robinowitz sometimes describes himself as wild and brash, beneath that life-of-the-party demeanor is a self-described serious artist who is quite competitive. Robinowitz feels the combination of his BFA in Fine Arts plus his years of experience as a walk in tattoo artist gives him the ability to adapt to any situation and will help him dominate the competition. He wants to prove to the Jewish community and the community at large that tattooing is a legitimate art.
Eric Gonzalez Lynwood, CA Co-Owner/Artist, Deer's Eye Studio Twitter: @Nspired1art 18 Years' Experience
Eric Gonzalez describes himself as a decisive businessman. At age 37, he is the co-owner of his own shop, Deer's Eye Studio and has even gotten recognition for his work from Lady Gaga. Gonzalez admits he has little patience for people's drama and won't let himself be distracted by head games during the competition. He is confident in his talent and skills and knows that he has what it takes to be Ink Master.
Geary Morrill Richmond, VA Artist, Unkindness Art Twitter: @gearytattoo 17 Years' Experience
Geary Morrill describes his life as a real life cartoon. Geary believes his explosive pop art with clean lines and bright colors bring something unique to the competition and feels it is important to push positivity in designs into the industry. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Geary feels there's no more tip toe-ing around what he wants in life.
Gian Karle Cruz Puerto Rico & Boston, MA Traveling Tattoo Artist Twitter: @giankarle 7 Years' Experience
While Gian Karle Cruz is often associated with chill island vibes, he says he is super competitive and likes to win. Even though he has only been in the industry for a few years and knows he has a lot to learn, he believes that he's just as good as other artists who have been in the industry for longer than him. When it comes to styles of tattoos, Gian says he can do a little bit of everything. This "Island Guy" is ready to compete and become the first Puerto Rican Ink Master!
Gia Rose Philadelphia, PA Owner/Artist, Ceremony Tattoo Society Instagram: @giarose 13 Years' Experience
As a girl who left home at 16, lived on freight trains, and survived cancer, Gia Rose says she isn't intimidated by anything. Gia prides herself on her neo-traditional work, which has an emphasis on wildlife and women. Gia says she is bringing her eye for detail, color combinations, and composition to the competition. She's feels like this is truly her year to become an Ink Master winner.
John Collins Atlanta, GA Artist, Cap Szumskis Timeless Tattoo Twitter: @john_collins84 14 Years' Experience
John Collins describes himself as a straightforward tattooer who doesn't shy away when it comes to saying what he thinks, and is not afraid to offend. He prides himself as an expert in Traditional American and Japanese but also thinks he has mastered the craft of taking traditional tattoo rules and applying them into not-so-traditional designs.
Kelly Doty Salem, MA Owner/Artist, Helheim Gallery Twitter: @kellydotytattoo 8 Years' Experience
Kelly Doty describes her spooky, illustrative, cartoonish style work as "grim but cute" and herself as endearingly awkward yet confident. She believes that her OCD becomes a strength when tattooing, making her incredibly organized and detailed. Throw her in the mix and she's hoping to come in to the competition strong and become the first female Ink Master.
Kevin Laroy Dallas, TX Artist, Perception Fine Body Art Twitter: @kevinthelaroy 10 Years' Experience
With his "keep it real attitude," Kevin Laroy attended art school but got a degree in fashion design. Kevin mostly tattoos portraits but is also skilled in bright colors and bold lines to make his photorealism stand out. This artist has big dreams to open a shop and build a clothing, accessories and lifestyle empire, but first he's ready to conquer the competition.
Matt Murray Beverly, MA Co-Owner, The Black Veil Twitter: @blackveiltattoo 4 Years' Experience
Matt Murray does just about everything with his identical twin brother Ryan - they co-own a tattoo shop, share an apartment, car and have identical twin cats. But Matt is approaching the Ink Master competition solo. Matt focuses on creating black and grey portraits and prides himself in bringing precise lines to each tattoo. While Matt only has 3 years of experience, he believes he's ready for any challenge the competition will bring his way.
Mike McAskill Riverside, CA Artist, Elizabeth St. Tattoo Twitter: @mikestat2 8 Years' Experience . Mike takes pride in every tattoo he designs. After getting a tattoo kit at 17, Mike worked hard on his skills, first completing a proper apprenticeship, until he started tattooing at a popular shop in Riverside, CA. He believes his lines and shading are strong and is confident that he always gives 100%. He's feeling ready to get back to work and compete on Ink Master and win $100K for his family.
After 21 years of tattooing, Nate feels he has more talent than anyone else out there and recently released DVD tutorials to teach younger artists proper techniques. Over the years, Nate has not only continued to grow as an artist, but also as a person - he lost 100 lbs and defeated arachnophobia. Nate is ready to show his talent to the rest of the world on this season of Ink Master.
Nikki Simpson Los Angeles, CA Artist, Generation 8 Twitter: @Nsimpsontattoos 5 Years' Experience
Nikki may only be 24, but she feels she is already making a name for herself in the tattoo industry. Nikki is known for illustrative realism and prides herself on the texture, depth and dimension of her work. Nikki is ready to show what true female tattooers are all about – strong and tough competitors who are capable of doing the best no matter what.
Ryan Ashley Malarkey Kingston, PA Owner/ Artist, The Strange & Unusual Oddities Parlor Twitter: @ryanashleym 4 Years' Experience
Ryan Ashley has described herself as a modern woman whose success is due to hard work and sheer determination. She may not have the decades of experience as some of her competitors, but feels she's proved herself as a well-rounded competitor. Ryan says she is out to prove that you can be both sultry and talented and is hoping to become the first female Ink Master.
Sirvone Smith Fredericksburg, VA Artist, Sorry Mom Tattoo Twitter: @sirvonetattoos 6 Years' Experience
Sirvone Smith says he attacks all areas of his life with passion and fire. Having tattooed for 6 years, Sirvone's knowledge base comes from traditional tattooing, but loves to do realistic pieces. He is a chameleon to any environment he is in, and is ready to tackle anything that the competition throws at him! He plans to bring the heat to Ink Master, and is confident he will never lose focus during the competition.
Sketchy Lawyer describes himself as the type of guy who always tells it exactly how it is. Lawyer spends his days giving his clients his "neo-school" style tattoos, which is his own spin on "neo-traditional" and "new school." His strategy on Ink Master is to show America what a real tattoo artist looks like and he plans to treat everyone with the respect they give him.
Tito Velez prides himself on his leadership qualities and perfectionism. With two shops of his own (one in New Jersey and one in Florida), Tito says he enjoys leading and teaching techniques to his employees. Although there were struggles along the way, Tito believes the hardships made him sharp and strong, and now he's more than ready to show his style and skills to the world.
This season, judges – and now, mentors – Oliver Peck and Chris Nuñez go head-to-head, picking their own teams of tattoo artists as the contestants battle it out in permanent ink for a $100,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked and, for the first time in Ink Master history, a guest residency in their mentor’s shop.