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.
This heavy metal/rockabilly-listening mamma is obsessed with rebuilding old hot rods when she's not busy tattooing in her own shop, Hot Rod Alley Tattoo. When it comes to her tattoo work, Ally Lee is just as determined and strives to please her clients. Known for her photorealism and vibrant colored floral work, Lee is determined to show the world her expertise in all styles of tattooing. A self-taught artist, Lee has refined her skills and transferred her love of drawing into a different medium, using a tattoo machine as a tool and skin as her canvas.
Clients of Chris May get a one of a kind experience as they receive a tattoo from him, complete with a comedic performance. May is a trained stand-up comedian having studied at the world famous Second City Theatre in Chicago, IL. While he is blunt when speaking with clients, he uses humor as a way to tell them that their idea won't work. His style focuses on illustrative and aesthetic pieces that use clean colors and detailed lines. May refuses to tattoo according to the "Google style," a generic style that is pulled right off of Google images. Although he has a light hearted attitude, competitors beware because he is serious about winning.
Craig Foster Carlton, GA 18 years experience Owner/ Artist at Skinwerks Tattoo (www.skinwerks.com)
After being incarcerated for three years, Craig Foster knew that he needed to turn his life around. He immediately found the art of tattooing and has made it a full time career ever since. Being one of the few black tattoo artists in his region, Foster has felt that he has something extra to prove and thrives off of being considered an underdog by his peers. 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.
Originally a graffiti artist, E.S. credits this form of street art for teaching him how to direct his creative talents and how to stay in control in almost any situation. E.S. likes to take his talent on the road as he travels up and down the East Coast directly to his tattoo clients. He takes extreme pride in all of his original work and prefers his custom pieces over traditional styles which he feels are recycled too often. E.S. is predominantly known for his use of bold, hard lines, and smooth shading, which creates a clean and timeless tattoo.
Frank McManus New Cumberland, PA 6 years experience Artist at Bryan Campbell Tattoo Studio (www.frankmcmanus.com)
Although he is still fairly new to the industry, Frank McManus is ready to prove that he can surpass tattoo veterans. McManus believes that it does not matter how many years you have been in the business, if you want it bad enough you will work for it. Outspoken and confident, McManus embraces his standoff-ish persona. He focuses on American tradition pieces and often uses bright and vibrant colors to highlight his work.
Creativity has always come naturally to Jackie "Ink Bitch" Jennings. Even at a young age, art was a way for her to express herself and she transformed that talent into a career in tattooing more than a decade ago. Jennings doesn't limit herself to any one tattoo style and is known for her versatility across a range of styles. She creates custom pieces for each of her clients that are vastly different from tattoo work others do.
James "Danger" Harvey has always had a passion for art. In high school it was common practice for him to turn in his math tests covered in doodles and funny character drawings. He has always been a "Jack of all trades," holding jobs such as junkyard puller, strip club bouncer / DJ, landscaper and carpenter. Danger was able to funnel his first love for art into tattooing and is the owner of Skin Gallery Tattoo. He dedicates all of his time and energy into art and tattooing, which he believes are one in the same and should be without boundaries. He is not particular to any one style of tattooing and finds that his natural talent is proficient in all genres. Reflecting his middle name, Danger tends to live life on the edge as he is trained in the Israeli self-defense system, Krav Maga, an avid motorcyclist, and overall adrenaline addict.
Jason Clay Dunn is a professional fine artist and tattooist and from a very young age he always had a need to create. After a long, painstaking traditional apprenticeship at the early age of 19, Dunn set out on a journey to carve his niche in the tattoo industry. Whether it be a work of art, or a business venture, he has found that the combination of both is what really inspires his passion for art, tattooing and life. Dunn has always been, and still is, truly amazed by seeing colors beneath the skin. Despite his life-long challenges with panic disorder and anxiety, Dunn has persevered to become a leading tattoo artist in the Neo-Asian styles.
With over 20 years in the tattoo industry, Jime Litwalk does his best to pass on his experience and knowledge to the other competitors. Fast-paced and precise, Litwalk has built up a solid clientele from his years of travel on the international tattoo circuit. Litwalk works in Orlando at Hart and Huntington and at his private studio located at the Steadfast Brand headquarters. 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 his work has been featured on multiple TV shows including, "The Real World," "The Life of Ryan," and "Nitro Circus."
During a ten year stint in the US Air Force, Joey "Hollywood" Hamilton became widely exposed to tattoos and immediately fell in love with the art. After getting out of the service, he began refining his technique in Florida before establishing himself in Sin City. Today, Hamilton travels all around the country to promote his work and is primarily known for his realism and photo reproduction skills. Although he may come off as arrogant, Hamilton really has a "Hollywood" laid back persona, but he is here to show that he is a fierce competitor who should not be underestimated.
It was only when he was homeless did Joshua Hibbard recognize the importance of being brash, loud, and a little cocky. Hibbard used his art as a means of showing his personality, a way to express his pent up thoughts, and overall a way to survive. Today, he isn't afraid to call anyone out and will constructively criticize the art work of his peers. Hibbard believes that the tattoo industry needs to improve its professional standards because he is tired of how some "artists" make a mockery of the art. His work consistently challenges traditional pieces as Hibbard focuses on the contrast of layers and realistic color images.
Katherine "Tatu Baby" Flores Miami, FL 6 years experience Self-employed tattoo artist (www.tatubaby.com)
Tatu Baby isn't shy when it comes to her looks and admits to have used her sex appeal to her advantage, but don't judge this book by its cover, she's got talent to back her up. She became interested in tattoos after getting her first ink at the age of 14. Tatu Baby has been tattooing professionally since she was 19 and proved herself right of the gate by taking home a "best of day" trophy at a tattoo convention. Known for her work in black and gray and photorealism, she has a true appreciation for the way the body can be used as a canvas to express yourself. A fan favorite in last year's competition, Tatu Baby made it all the way to the final four before being eliminated. In a first-ever surprise twist in the season finale, viewers went online and voted Tatu Baby back for a chance to redeem herself in Season 3.
Kyle Dunbar is a self-taught tattoo artist who hasn't built his reputation on being the nice guy. He says that he worked at almost every tattoo shop in Genesee County, MI, his hometown, only to have been fired from every one of them because of his abrasive attitude. Dunbar dislikes tattoo styles with strict rules and prefers to create his own world of "badass art" where he can control gravity and twist reality to his own liking. Dunbar opened his own shop Almighty Tattoo in 2003 with his wife and has clients coming to him from all over to get inked in his signature extreme realism tattoo style.
A true Southern belle, Madison "Maddie la Belle" Loftis uses her charm and hospitality to maintain a large following of clients. She is a self-taught tattoo artist and learned the basics of the industry underground in South Carolina. Maddie is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy as she is out to make sure that she gets the respect that she deserves and consistently reminds the men to not underestimate her as a competitor. She refuses to be damsel in distress and is not afraid to tell other girls to "buck up" when things are getting tough. Maddie's work is extremely versatile, but she is often best recognized for her portrait work and her black and grey artistry.
After working his way up from the street shops on 6th Avenue in the West Village of New York City, Mystical Mike believes that he has possesses the talent to raise industry standards. Recognized for his detail saturated illustrations, he derives the majority of his inspiration from comic book superheroes. An intellectual with a passion for satire, Mystical Mike strives for excellence with his art; conveying his own unique interpretation with each and every client.
After he hung his football cleats up and graduated from Wagner College with a BA in Fine Arts, Made Rich worked in two different shops before opening "Think Before You Ink" in Long Island City, NY. Competitive by nature, Made Rich was a long time athlete before taking his talent from the playing field to the tattoo machine. His competitiveness has helped him strive to better himself daily. Dark shadowing and shading are his specialties and argues that he can tattoo any style or genre with ease. He rarely puts anyone before himself and will eliminate anyone who stands in the way of his progress and winning the competition.
After winning the fan vote last season, Tatu Baby returns to compete against 15 new contestants for the title of Ink Master. And this time, the human canvases get to have their voices heard, voting on which artists face elimination each week.