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.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Al Fliction has been an artist his entire life. Fliction was an integral part of the graffiti movement in NYC that saw urban youth leaving their artistic imprint all over the Big Apple's subways and landscapes. Now an entrepreneur in the exploding urban tattoo market, Fliction owns and operates two boutiques, hosts tattoo parties in his custom-made RV, and co-founded the first and only urban tattoo convention in the world.
Bili Vegas has been passionate about art since he had the dexterity to hold a crayon in his hands and cover himself in finger paint. As a child living in New York, he experienced the many museums and galleries the city had to offer. He also spent lots of time at his brother-in-law's tattoo shop, which exposed and introduced him to many of the biggest names in tattooing, igniting his passion for the art. Vegas' work requires a three-hour minimum because of the detail he creates in his hyper-realism, biomechanical and portraiture styles.
Brian Robinson is a street-savvy, competitive, fast-talking and no-nonsense tattoo artist. Robinson originally aspired to become an art teacher after graduating from the State University of Delaware and a graphic design internship at Disney. However, his life and plans changed. This married father of two credits a close friend of his for inspiring him to enter the world of tattooing. Robinson has been tattooing professionally for close to ten years and owns his own shop, Moving Ink, based in Essex County, NJ. His urban style of realism and love for black and grey portraits has attracted numerous clients including many rap and hip hop artists.
As a child, Heather Sinn had a passion for art and could often be found painting and drawing. She believes her love of tattooing is a just a grown up version of that passion. As one of the few females in a mostly male-dominated profession, Heather was often discouraged from pursing her craft. However, her persistence and dedication to the art of tattooing has won her several awards. Tattooing for close to 14 years, she is best-know known as a traditional old school artist, but her work in photo realism and tattoos that look like actual artwork/paintings has made her an in demand artist in Southern California. She currently is co-owner of The Tattoo Room in Simi Valley.
With talent and a wicked sense of humor coupled with southern charm, James Vaughn is the ultimate triple threat. Vaughn got his first tattoo when he was 12. It was a cross that he still has on his hand. From that moment, he was hooked on tattoos and the art of tattooing. Vaughn specializes in neo Japanese and old school traditional tattooing styles. He's won 300+ awards and has been published more than 20 times for his work. In the tattoo world, he is a rare breed because he still draws all his designs "free hand" on his client's skin with a black Sharpie. Vaughn has been tattooing for more than 20 years and owns his own shop, Straight A Tattoo, located in Asheboro, NC.
Jeremy Miller learned the art of tattooing while stationed in Abilene, TX, serving in the United States Air Force. Miller is known for his new school realism that has the precision and contour of a high-density photograph. A perfectionist by nature, he often has trouble looking at his own work because all he sees are the countless ways that he could have done better. It's the competitive fire that burns in him that motivated him to open his own shop, Pigment Dermographics and Fine Art, a high-end custom tattoo studio located in Austin, TX.
Josh Woods's early career as a musician led him to a fascination with tattoos. After achieving moderate success with his band, Woods chose to follow his true passion - to become a tattoo artist. With apprenticeships at shops with artists in Buffalo, NY and Atlanta, GA, Woods has worked hard to make a name for himself and is known for his use of bold, bright colors and a "cartoony," illustrated style of tattooing. He's been featured in numerous tattoo magazines and is also featured in Mike DeVries' bestselling book, Tattoo Prodigies. After hitting the international tour circuit, he took the big leap and opened his own shop. For the second year in a row, Woods' shop Black 13 Tattoo was named the #1 Tattoo Parlor in Nashville by Nashville Scene magazine. VIDEO: Meet Josh Woods
Lea Vendetta was born in Paris, France and is an accomplished tattoo artist who has worked all over the world. Vendetta has been painting professionally since the early nineties and has been tattooing since 1996. Her work often pays tribute to Paris and her love of the art deco style. Her paintings have been exhibited in France, New York, Los Angeles and Florida and her tattoo work has won many tattoo awards and has been featured in tattoo magazines both nationally and internationally. Vendetta's incredible personal tattoo artwork has won her the cover of dozens of tattoo magazines. After owning her own successful tattoo shop, she now works at Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company in Las Vegas, NV where she balances tattoo appointments with her modeling work and painting for upcoming art exhibitions.
Shane O'Neill is a self-taught and extremely confident tattoo artist. A graduate of the University of Arts in Philadelphia, O'Neill began his career first as a professional illustrator before making what he called the "natural transition into tattooing." He is recognized as one of the best portrait and realism tattoo artists currently out there. He also specializes in wildlife and horror artwork. He currently owns Shane O'Neill's Infamous Tattoo with locations in Middletown, DE and Willow Grove, PA and is also launching his own line of tattoo products via a new company, System One Tattoo Products. When not working at his own shops, O'Neill travels the country and internationally to tattoo conventions. He has been featured in many magazines and has won over a hundred awards for his work.
Tommy Helm has been living a life of art since he was a child. As a teen, he created murals, painted jackets and worked with oil paints, which translated into him pursing art as a career. He graduated from FIT and decided that the corporate world was not for him. Helm was inspired to enter the world of tattooing by an artist, an old biker named Florida Frank, the man behind his own first taste of ink - a tribal tattoo. Helm has more than 16 years experience under his belt and is the owner of Empire State Studio located in Oceanside, NY. His favorite style of tattooing involves solid and bold colors with lots of detail and it has proved to be very popular with clients, who often wait up to a year and half to get inked by Helm. VIDEO: Meet Tommy Helm
To become the Ink Master, 10 of the country’s top tattoo artists must take on challenges designed to test every aspect of their craft and live up to the uncompromising standards of judges Dave Navarro, Chris Nuñez and Oliver Peck.