“Ink Master” Season 4 – Contestant Photos & Cast Shot

January 14th, 2014 by faziod
Ink Master Season 4Inkmaster Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4Ink Master Season 4

Sneak Peek – Meet the Contestants of “Ink Master” Season 4, Premieres Tuesday, February 24

January 14th, 2014 by faziod

Meet the Contestants of “Ink Master” Season 4 – Premieres Tues., Feb 25

January 14th, 2014 by faziod

Ink Master Logo



  “Ink Master” was Spike’s Highest Rated and Most Watched Original Series in 2013

 Artists Battle It Out For $100,000, Editorial Feature In Inked Magazine &

The Bragging Rights Title of ‘Ink Master’

 New York, NY, January 14, 2014 – Spike TV’s hit original and the first tattoo reality-competition series “Ink Master” returns for a fourth season starting Tuesday, February 25 at 10 pm ET/PT, and this time it’s going to be a street fight.  Tattoo artists from around the country will battle it out in permanent ink and sometimes with each other for a $100,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in Inked and, of course, the bragging rights title of ‘Ink Master.’

Each week “Ink Master” puts artist through a series of tattoo challenges that are not only designed to test the artists’ technical skills, but also their on-the-spot creativity, where they must create and execute an original tattoo by command on a ‘Human Canvas.’  Each episode focuses on a different and distinct style of tattooing including realism, black and gray, geometric, neo-traditional, Asian and cover-up, among others.   The masterpieces these artists create will last a lifetime, but so will their mistakes.

After every challenge, the contestants face a tough panel made up of series host Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and world renowned tattoo artists Chris Nunez (“Miami Ink”) and Oliver Peck (Elm Street Tattoo) who are joined by a roster of guest judges including CC Sabathia, Rob Zombie and Brandon Rios.

Once again the Human Canvases, who volunteer their bodies to be tattooed by the “Ink Master” contestants, will have a say in who gets sent home.  The Canvases will form their own jury, deliberate as a group and pick one artist per episode who will be up for elimination.  In the jury room, viewers get an inside look at the heated arguments and wicked emotions as the Canvases defend or abandon their new ink and artist.

A new twist for Season Four is that the winner of each week’s Elimination Tattoo challenge will also get to put an artist up for elimination along with the Human Canvas jury and the series judges.

In the season opener the artists put ink-to-skin right from the get-go.  There are seventeen artists standing, but only one — Kyle Dunbar who was voted back to compete in the Season 3 finale — with a guaranteed spot this season.  It’s a cut-throat competition for the remaining 15 spots as artists take part in a “tattoo convention” and “show your artistic style” challenges.

The “Ink Master” Season Four tattoo artists are (listed in alphabetical order):

  • David Bell (@davidbelltattoo) –Owner/artist at TLA Tattoos in Fredericksburg, VA
  • Ashley Bennett (@ashleybtattoo) – Artist at Body Graphics in South Windsor, CT
  • “Gentle” Jay Blondel (@Gentl_jay) – Artist at Alchemy Tattoo Arts in North Bellmore, NY
  • Lydia Bruno (@inkbyLydia) – Co-owner/artist at Unique Arts Studio in Glens Falls, NY
  • Damon Butler (@hautedraws) – Manager/artist at Extreme Fantasy in Abington, MA
  • Keith Diffenderfer (@kdiffenderfer) – Artist at Honor & Iron in Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • Kyle Dunbar (@InkbyKyleDunbar) – Owner/artist at Almighty Tattoo in Flint, MI
  • Jim Francis (@tattooedjim) – Owner/artist at Milwaukee Ink in Milwaukee, WI
  • Walter “Sausage” Frank (@Sausagekingtat) – Artist at Club Tattoo in Las Vegas, NV
  • Halo (@tattoosbyhalo) – Owner/artist at Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery in Severn, MD
  • King Ruck (@therealkingruck) – Owner/artist at Black Spade Tattoo & Red Elephant Tattoo in Las Vegas, NV
  • Matti Hixson (@mattihixson) – Artist at Trinity Tattoo in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Bubba Irwin (@bubbairwin) – Owner/artist at Old Town Ink in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Scott Marshall (@smarshalltattoo) – Artist at Roselle Tattoo Co. in Roselle, IL
  • Melissa Monroe (@Monroever) – Artist at Homeward Bound Tattoo in Port Washington, WI
  • Roland Pacheco (@Roland_Pacheco) – Owner/artist at Xisle Custom Tattoo in Hawi, HI
  • Randy Vollink (@randyvollink) – Artist at Club Tattoo in Scottsdale, AZ

Viewers can find out more about each artist including biographies, photo galleries, artwork portfolios and artist introduction videos by logging on to inkmaster.spike.com .  Throughout the season fans can watch full episodes, video clips and are encouraged to take part in weekly voting polls tied to each episode.  Fans can ‘like’ the official “Ink Master” Facebook page and join in the “Ink Master” conversation by following @spikeinkmaster on Twitter and using #InkMaster.   The latest in tattoo culture and series news can be found on the “Ink Master” Tumblr and on Instagram @spiketv.

“Ink Master” was Spike’s highest rated original series in 2013.  Season three was its highest rated and most watched ever, averaging 2.1 million viewers and dramatically broadening the audience in its timeslot, posting a +243% increase with Men 18-49 and +257% with Persons 18-49 compared to the year ago time period.  In its Tuesday 10-11 PM ET/PT slot, “Ink Master” ranked among the top 5 in all key demos and the LIVE finale was the #1 original program in the time slot among P 18-49.   During the season, Cross Platform Video Views per week were up +38% versus the prior season.

“Ink Master” is produced for Spike by Charlie Corwin’s Original Media, with Charlie Corwin and Andrea Richter as Executive Producers of the series.

Sharon Levy is Spike’s Executive Vice President, Original Series with Chris Rantamaki is the  network’s Senior Vice President of Original Series.  Kevin Bartel, the Vice President of Series Development, oversees production of “Ink Master” for Spike.

Founded in 2002, Charlie Corwin’s Original Media has built a strong reputation for cutting-edge content and quality production. Original Media produces hundreds of hours of award-winning content across multiple media formats including Academy Award nominated feature films, reality television, scripted television and digital programming and currently has fifteen television series on air. Some of Original Media’s hit television series shows “NY Ink,” “LA Ink,” “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “Swamp People,” “Storm Chasers,” “Dual Survival” and “BBQ Pitmasters.”  Original Media produced the Academy Award nominated films The Squid and the Whale and Half Nelson. The company, headquarters in New York, is a subsidiary of Endemol USA.

Spike TV is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks.  A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.  Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press.  Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

 # # #


Debra Fazio                 Spike TV         212-767-8649              debra.fazio@spiketv.com


Ink Master Season 4 Contestant Biographies

January 14th, 2014 by faziod

Logo with Tribal_6

Season 4: Contestant Biographies

(in alphabetical order)

 “Ink Master” Season 4 Premieres on Spike TV Starting Tuesday, February 25 at 10 PM, ET/PT


David Bell- Fredericksburg, VA
20 years experience
Owner/ Artist at TLA Tattoos (www.tlatattoos.com) in Fredericksburg, VA
Twitter: @davidbelltattoo
David Bell has been tattooing for more than 20 years and is widely known on the convention circuit.  A confident artist, Bell got his start apprenticing at a studio in Arizona and moved around to shops in California, Washington and Nevada perfecting his tattoo abilities.  Two years ago he brought his West Coast tattoo style and his love of black and gray work to the East Coast when he set up his own shop TLA Tattoos in Virginia.  Bell believes he had the fundamentals and creative experience to bring a real challenge to this year’s competition.

Ashley Bennett – South Windsor, CT
6 years experience
Artist at Body Graphics (http://instagram.com/Ashleybtattoo ) in South Windsor, CT
Twitter: @ashleybtattoo
Bennett takes great pride in what she’s achieved as a female artist in a male dominated industry.  An apprenticed and self-taught artist, she’s got a competitive spirit and fiery attitude.  Bennett has worked hard to gain the respect of her peers and clients wants to prove that women in the tattoo industry are just as good, if not better, than their male counterparts.  While she describes her style as colorful and bold Bennett enjoys tattooing traditional styled pieces. A native of Saratoga Springs, NY during the filming of “Ink Master” Bennett worked at True Tattoo Studio in Clifton Park, NY

‘Gentle Jay’ Blondel- Massapequa, NY
14 years experience
Artist at Alchemy Tattoo Arts (www.jayblondeltattoo.com) in Bellmore, NY
Twitter:  @Gentl_jay
Don’t let his moniker fool you,  Gentle Jay is no shrinking violet.  After brief stints in art school and as a party decorator Jay found his way to tattooing and body piercing in 1999.  He prides himself on his tattoo versatility, not sticking to just one style because his goal is to come up with something new. Gentle Jay looks at this season’s competition as his coming out party and believes his meticulous work and fine lines is what will set him apart from his competitor and prove that he can hang with the big boys.

Lydia Bruno- Albany, NY
9 years experience
Co-owner/Artist at Unique Arts Studio (www.inkbylydia.com) in Glens Falls, NY
Twitter: @inkbyLydia
Bruno’s motto is “burn your own path,” something she has done for herself ever since leaving a career in the mental health industry in order to deal with a whole different breed of crazy people – tattoo artists.   An artist since childhood, Bruno  learned her tattoo craft through an “old school” apprenticeship.  She specializes in black and grey photorealism and is particularly drawn to morbid imagery.   Bruno is poised and ready to defend her work and fight back on this season’s competition.  A go-getter with an adventurous spirit, Bruno’s got plenty of practice fighting back as she is also a boxer who has been told she’s “too aggressive” in the ring.  Lucky for her there’s no such thing as “too aggressive” when it comes to tattooing.

Damon Butler- Boston, MA
3 years experience
Manager/Artist at Extreme Fantasy (www.hautedraws.wordpress.com) in Abington, MA
Twitter: @hautedraws
Growing up in the projects of Boston, Damon Butler could have easily ended up another victim of drugs and violence. However, he could draw from an early age and earned a reputation in his neighborhood as a talented artist.  He was encouraged by his local peers to make use of his talent and eventually attended art school. Damon is a self-taught tattoo artist and clearly the determined and hungry rookie in this year’s competition, having bought his first machine three years ago and began practicing on fruit before working up to his first human canvas.

Keith Diffenderfer- York, PA
13 years experience
Artist at Honor & Iron (www.facebook.com/keith-diffenderfer) in Rehoboth Beach, DE
Twitter:  @ kdiffenderfer
Keith Diffenderfer has been relentless since he was young. As a high school student, he showed up at the same tattoo shop every day for a year until they finally agreed to give him an apprenticeship.  That apprenticeship is what Diffenderfer believes sets him apart from newbies who never paid their dues in the industry. He believes that the lack of art education and working your way up in tattooing is a disservice to the customer.  Diffenderfer has earned a reputation for bright and bold tattoos but refuses to categorize himself, he believes he can do it all.

Kyle Dunbar- Genesee County, MI
20 years experience
Owner/ Artist at Almighty Tattoo (www.facebook.com/almightykyledunbar) in Flint, MI
Twitter: @InkbyKyleDunbar
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. In last year’s competition Dunbar made it all the way to the final four before being eliminated. In the season finale fans voted Kyle Dunbar and Chris May back to face off in a first-ever live tattoo challenge, that Dunbar won, earning him a chance to redeem himself in Season 4.

Jim Francis- Milwaukee, WI
12 years experience
Owner/Artist at Milwaukee Ink (www.jimfrancistattoo.com and www.mkeink.com) in Milwaukee, WI
Twitter: @tattooedjim
After living life in the fast lane and spending time in both jail and rehab for drugs, Francis found stability in tattooing.  A self-taught artist who began his tattoo career in California, he is primarily known for his Japanese and black and gray photorealism tattoos, but he personally favors working in the traditional style.  Little do his clients or his fellow competitors know that he works his craft with a slight disadvantage, he’s partially color blind, but Francis has an uncanny ability to turn that weakness into a strength. He owns the only tattoo shop in the world located within a Harley Davidson flagship dealership in Milwaukee.

Walter “Sausage” Frank- Las Vegas, NV
13 years experience
Artist at Club Tattoo (www.facebook.com/waltersausagefrank) in Las Vegas, NV
Twitter: @Sausagekingtat
Sausage isn’t just a tattoo artist, he’s a true entertainer whose stage is the tattoo studio. He enjoys making people laugh and couple that with his meticulous tattoo work, Sausage is a much sought after and appreciated artist in Las Vegas where his specialties include HD realism, portrait and black and gray.  But don’t let his humorous ways fool you, he’s a solid and fierce competitor.  Having worked alongside last season’s winner Joey Hamilton, Sausage has picked up a thing or two about strategy and winning this competition.

Halo – Baltimore, MD
9 years experience
Owner/Artist at Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery (www.blacklotustattoos.com and www.tattoosbyhalo.com) in Severn, MD
Twitter: @tattoosbyhalo
After winning more than one hundred fifty awards within the past four years for his artistry and tattooing at two hundred conventions last year, Halo joins the cast confident and ready to claim his next prize. But this artist is more than just a winner in his art work, he’s a successful shop owner, but more importantly a cancer survivor. After his diagnosis Halo set out to break the rules by going a holistic approach to treat and cure his illness.  He also set out to make his imprint on the tattoo industry, working 24/7 practicing his craft and building a name for himself with his realism and new skool work.

Matti Hixson- Virginia Beach, VA
10 years experience
Artist at Trinity Tattoo (https://www.facebook.com/matthew.hixson1) in Virginia Beach, VA
Twitter: @mattihixson
Matti Hixson, speaks bluntly, but he claims it’s all in the name of artistic passion.  This self-taught artist from West Virginia, 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.”

Bubba Irwin- Scottsdale, AZ
7 years experience
Owner/Artist at Old Town Ink (www.oldtownink.com) in Scottsdale, AZ
Twitter: @bubbairwin
Irwin takes deep pride in the fact that he is a 100% self-taught tattoo artist. Everything he knows about the tattoo industry he’s learned through trial, error and practice, making him the confident artist that he is.  Competitive and determined by nature, Irwin attributes much of his business success to the work ethic instilled in him by his father while growing up. His ambitious nature is clearly evident in his quick rise from doing tattoos out of his home for friends and family to opening up his own shop where he specializes in realism and portraits.

King Ruck- Las Vegas, NV
6 years experience
Owner/Artist at Black Spade Tattoo (www.blackspadetattoo.com) and Red Elephant Tattoo (www.redelephantcompany.com) in Las Vegas, NV
Twitter: @therealkingruck
King Ruck is a former graffiti artist who has made a smooth transition to tattooing.  He went from bombing and painting on walls and building his reputation as a respected graffiti artist, to owning two of the premiere tattoo shops in Las Vegas. The nickname “King” was given to him by his mentors because of the dues he paid as a graffiti artist and “Ruck,” which is short for Ruckus, was the main name he used while getting up on walls. King Ruck is known for his fine lines, smooth grays and attention to detail but really enjoys the bold lines and bright colors as well and jumps at every chance he gets to do so.

Scott Marshall- Chicago, IL
15 years experience
Artist at Roselle Tattoo Co. (www.facebook.com/scottmarshalltattoos) in Roselle, IL
Twitter: @smarshalltattoo
Scott Marshall graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1998 and apprenticed for one year before starting his own tattoo career.   A truly confident artist, he prides himself on being proficient and efficient in any tattoo style and knows that his customers value and appreciate his professional opinion. For Marshall its all about the creative process behind the tattoo.  He doesn’t work off of templates, but rather likes to get into the mind of his client and derive the tattoo design from that, making sure to adding their personality into the finished masterpiece.

Melissa Monroe- Farmington, WI
5 years experience
Artist at Homeward Bound Tattoo (www.homewardboundtattoo.com) in Port Washington, WI
Twitter: @Monroever
Donning platinum blond hair, a variety of piercings and countless tattoos, Melissa Monroe is a small town girl who proves herself to be bold. Her laid back demeanor of a sweet Midwestern gal only goes but so far, as she is always ready to push back. She finds herself lucky to work among men because she feels women tend to be severely more dramatic. Living in a small town, Monroe doesn’t have the luxury of specializing in one form of tattooing. She enjoys doing pin up, dark nature, traditional and neo-traditional pieces. Monroe is confident in her work and dares anyone to question her ability to rise above the competition.

Roland Pacheco- Hawi, Hawaii
8 years experience
Owner/Artist at Xisle Custom Tattoo (www.rolandpacheco.com and http://www.xisletattoo.com/) in Hawi, HI
Twitter: @Roland_Pacheco
Roland Pacheco is a 6th generation Polynesian, self-taught tattoo artist and published author from the Big Island of Hawai’i. He owns and operates Xisle Custom Tattoo in the historic town of Hawi where he has been practicing his craft and researching Polynesian tattoo for the past 8 years.  Art has been a part of Pacheco’s life from an early age  – he enjoys oil and acrylic painting, watercolor, charcoal, gyotaku, digital art and animation. As a child he created his own comic books to not only entertain himself but to further develop his artistic skills.  When he isn’t tattooing or writing, Pacheco enjoys restoring motorcycles, spearfishing and spending time with his wife, Anna.

Randy Vollink- Mesa, AZ
9 years experience
Artist at Club Tattoo (www.randyvollink.com) in Scottsdale, AZ
Twitter: @randyvollink
Randy Vollink is a former manager of various law firms, his love of art inspired to pursue more creative endeavors. Tattooing started out for him as a hobby and quickly became a passion.  A self-taught artist, Vollink has worked hard to earn his tattoo stripes just like everyone else, but he also had the added difficulty of being a gay man in a heterosexual male dominated industry.  He’s a confident artist who specializes in black and gray portraits and photo realism.

#   #   #

Contact:          Debra Fazio-Rutt        Spike TV         212-767-8649              debra.fazio@spiketv.com


January 8th, 2014 by faziod


New York, NY – January 8, 2014
Frank Tanki, a 12-year veteran of Nickelodeon, has been named Executive Vice President, Brand Marketing and Creative, Spike TV.  The announcement was made by Kevin Kay, President, Spike TV, to whom he will report.

“Frank is a proven brand-builder and his ability to strategically connect with viewers will be vital as Spike continues to broaden its audience through distinctive original programming,” said Kay.

In his new role at Spike, Tanki is responsible for leading all consumer marketing and creative development for the brand, including consumer and trade advertising, digital and social marketing, partnership marketing, and on and off-air creative along with property messaging for all cross-business initiatives.

Previously, Tanki served as Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Strategic Property Planning & Marketing where he was responsible for the strategic planning and marketing of many of Nickelodeon’s key hits such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dora The Explorer. He was also responsible for marketing Nick’s Live and Recreation platforms and partnership marketing, where he forged strategic marketing partnerships with the NFL, NASCAR, and various MLB and NBA Teams, as well as helping lead the brand’s annual presence at COMICON and the Licensing Show.  Prior to that, Tanki was Nickelodeon’s Senior Vice President of Partnership Marketing and Operations where he worked with partners such as Sony Music to launch Nick’s newest live-action series, “Big Time Rush,” which set a  record as the highest-rated and most-watched live-action Nick series premiere with kids, tweens and total viewers.

Tanki began his Nickelodeon career as the marketing project manager for “The Rugrats Movie,” coordinating strategic marketing plans among all of Nickelodeon’s divisions and Paramount Pictures.  He worked on the launch of “SpongeBob SquarePants” before moving on to Cartoon Network and Adult Swim as Director, Promotions Marketing. He returned to Nickelodeon as Senior Director, Brand Marketing, where he managed several successful marketing campaigns like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” ‘Best Day Ever’ marathon, which earned Nickelodeon its most-watched and highest-rated total programming day in history.  He also served as Vice President, Nickelodeon Brand Marketing, where Tanki directed the launch campaigns and off-air marketing for many of Nick’s most successful properties including “iCarly,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and “The Penguins of Madagascar” and “The Kids’ Choice Awards.”

Tanki graduated from Boston College and earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Bernard M. Baruch College Executive MBA program.

Spike TV is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks.  A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.  Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press.  Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.


Press Contact:

David Schwarz          Spike TV         212-767-8639  david.schwarz@spike.com