As a TV competition show, Ink Master has brought a lot of excitement to all tattoo lovers around the world.
Through the 12 completed seasons, a large number of artists have gone through the fight for their name
and the prize of $100,000, whether competing individually or in teams.
What distinguishes the better artists from the worse ones is the continuity and variety in styles and disciplines.
Every week is consisted of flash challenge and elimination tattoo for competitors.
Not only do they have to show the skills of tattooing, but also in drawing, shaping and coloring, in order
to secure a better position throughout the hierarchy.
Because the big prize is at stake, the contestants had the opportunity to tactically outsmart their
rivals by choosing human canvasses and tasks which is the best fit for themselves, after having the best
artwork in flash challenges.
After every challenge the contestants faced a judging commission, made of host.
Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), tattoo artists Chris Nunez (“Miami Ink”) and Oliver Peck (Elm Street Tattoo) and a special guest judge occasionally.
Each individual artist’s work was critiqued and each week at least one contestant was sent home.
There can be only one at the end, and here we present the winners:
SEASON 1 WINNER – SHANE O’ NEILL
Shane O’ Neill, from Middleton, Delaware, won Best Tattoo five times in eight challenges during first
season of the show.
He stood out the most, thanks to remarkable portraits and black and gray tattoos in realism.
He was able to establish the lead from the very beginning of the show, so other contestants quickly saw
him as a serious threat.
He has been featured in many magazines such as such as Tattoo Society, Rise Magazine, and Wet Red Ink.
And has won over a hundred awards for his work.
SEASON 2 WINNER – STEVE TEFFT
Steve Tefft, from Groton, Connecticut, is another artist who has been able to establish dominance
from the start.
Specialized in black and gray tattoos, but his favorite category is horror imagery, including skulls,
SEASON 3 WINNER – JOEY HAMILTON
Joey Hamilton, from Las Vegas, Nevada, is mostly known for realistic tattoos.
Through his tattoo art career, he had an opportunity to work with Chester Bennington from Linkin Park
and Fieldy from Korn.
SEASON 4 WINNER – SCOTT MARSHALL
Scott Hamilton, from Roselle, Illinois, died at the age of 41, just a year after winning season four of Ink Master.
Among his clients and co-workers was known as a very gifted artist, without any special preference,
but with ability for adaption to any style.
SEASON 5 WINNER – JASON CLAY DUNN
Jason Clay Dunn, from Montclair, California, was a competitor both in third and fifth season.
His preference are colorful tattoos, with an accent on realism and Asian style.
SEASON 6 WINNER – DAVE KRUSEMAN
Dave Kruseman, from Hagerstown, Maryland, managed to resist new trends in tattooing and stand out for
itself in the American traditional tattoo style.
He believes that tradition should be kept as new trends easily fade over time, and he also likes to stick
to simplistic design.
SEASON 7 WINNER – ANTHONY MICHAELS
Anthony Michaels, from Tucson, Arizona, became the first artist to win the competition as an complete underdog, with only five years experience, the least of the competitors.
SEASON 8 WINNER – RYAN ASHLEY MALARKEY
Ryan Ashley Malarkey, from Dallas, Pennsylvania, is the first female winner of Ink Master competition.
She was also huge underdog because of lack of tattooing experience too.
But considering her strong artistic background as a fashion designer, it isn’t strange how did she
manage to stand out.
She is notable for black and gray design, with strong and bold lines, and her inspiration is coming
from fashion, accessories and antiques.
SEASON 9 WINNER – OLD TOWN INK (DJ TAMBE AND BUBBA IRWIN)
Old Town Ink, from Scottsdale, Arizona, are first winners of Ink Master in a team competition
and “Master Shop” title holders.
They were really consistent through entire show, but as a veterans, they gained a significant
experience in previous competition about struggling with weaknesses.
SEASON 10 WINNER – JOSH PAYNE
Josh Payne, from Cortland, NY, transformed his idea of special effects art into tattoos during his
youth, so that monsters, aliens and various creatures were his initial inspiration.
Over time he adapted to different tattoo styles and themes.
SEASON 11 WINNER – TONY MEDELLIN
Tony Medellin, from Reno, Nevada, started with tattooing at the age of 16.
His taste for tattooing moves most in the direction of bright colored new-school artwork.
SEASON 12 WINNER – LAURA MARIE
Laura Marie, from Geneseo, NY, is a second female winner of Ink Master.
In a first season where competitors were split into two teams based on their gender, so the show
was called Battle Of Sexes.
Her winning artwork was Japanese style masterpiece, which has told the story of Raijin — the Japanese