Spike Logo


24 Aug 2016

Ink Master Season 8 Contestant Biographies

Logo with Tribal_6

Season 8: Contestant Biographies

(in alphabetical order)

 ”Ink Master” Season 8 Premieres on Spike TV Starting Tuesday, August 23 at 10 PM, ET/PT

Anwon “Boneface” Johnson

Pensacola, FL

Owner/ Artist Boneface Ink Tattoos

Twitter: @bonefaceink

17 Years’ Experience

As one of ten kids being raised by a single mom in the projects, Anwon “Boneface” Johnson feels ready for whatever the competition throws at him.  He says his plan is to strategically and artistically plot his way to the top, and he doesn’t care if he makes friends or enemies along the way.  After tattooing for 17 years, Johnson feels he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves and win the title of Ink Master.


Carolyn Elaine

Chicago, IL

Artist, MayDay! Tattoo

Twitter: @MsCarolynElaine

6 Years’ Experience

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. She describes herself as a sarcastic quick-witted tomboy that prides herself on her ability to embrace all tattoo styles to take down the other competitors. Her favorite style is color realism because she likes to make her work look like its moving. Carolyn’s two children are her driving force in life and even in competition. She 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

Twitter: @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. He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles and feels that if it weren’t for art & music, he would have joined a gang and eventually ended up in jail. 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 & 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.  Self-described as competitive and confident, he feels he broke away from traditional and invented his own style of tattooing that he calls “psycho-traditional.” 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.


Gia Rose

Philadelphia, PA

Owner/Artist, Ceremony Tattoo Society

Twitter: @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 feels she knows who she is both as a person and an artist, and doesn’t let any negativity affect her career. 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.


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!


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 in being a salesman with the ability to make his clients feel comfortable with his creative visions.  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 is sick of women in the industry being partially judged on their gender. 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 title.


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. Although he admits to being having a strong personality, he knows there is a fine line between constructive criticism and being disrespectful. 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, California. His believes his lines and shading are strong and is confident that he always gives 100%. Last year, Mike suffered a back injury and couldn’t tattoo for six months. Now he’s feeling ready to get back to work and compete on Ink Master and win $100K for his family.


Nate Beavers

Houston, TX

Owner, Figurehead Tattoo

Twitter: @natebeavers13

23 Years’ Experience


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 100lbs and defeated arachnophobia. Nate is ready to show his talent to the rest of the world on this season of Inkmaster


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. She describes herself as confident, feisty and passionate and feels nothing can get in the way of her success.. 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 feels her previous fashion career has helped influence her work which includes attention to intricate detail and tiny embellishments in her romantic black and grey style.  Along with tattooing, Ryan Ashley owns two oddities stores in Pennsylvania.  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. He describes himself as a charmer and a confident tattooer that stands by his work.  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

Senoia, GA

Owner/Artist, Cornerstone Tattoo Gallery

Twitter: @sketchylawyer

9 Years’ Experience


Sketchy Lawyer describes himself as the type of guy who always tells it exactly how it is. Sketchy puts a twist on everything he does and doesn’t take anyone’s direction when it comes to tattooing. A high school dropout at 14, he took his passion for drawing and set his goal on becoming an entrepreneur. 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 “Tuff Tito” Velez

Belleair, FL

Owner/Artist, Euphoria Ink

Twitter: @tuff_tito

22 Years’ Experience


Tito Velez prides himself on his leadership qualities and perfectionism. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico and in1998 decided to move to New York to expand and perfect his tattooing craft. 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.