Season 7: Contestant Biographies
(in alphabetical order)
”Ink Master” Season 7 Premieres on Spike TV Starting Tuesday, March 1 at 10 PM, ET/PT
Artist, Revolt Tattoo
13 Years’ Experience
Christian Buckingham comes from a conservative family of Air Force officers including his brother, father and grandfather. Buckingham always felt like the “black sheep” before he discovered tattooing, but once he did, he knew he had found his place in society. Buckingham describes himself as “that guy” – an alpha male and a pack leader. He has a strong personality, voices his opinions and is always up for a challenge. He is looking forward to competing on “Ink Master” and is hoping to win decisively. He believes the public will enjoy watching him destroy the competition. With past “Ink Master” contestants working around him, Buckingham feels he is ready to take home the title for himself and help support his “badass” wife, children and grandchildren.
Artist, City of Ink (http://www.iamcoreydavis.com/; instagram.com/whoiscoreydavis)
10 years’ experience
Corey Davis might be considered young, but he is not new to the tattoo industry. Davis has been tattooing for 10 years and currently works in the Atlanta-based tattoo shop, City of Ink, where his specialty is neo-traditional. While Davis enjoys his social life, he is serious about his career. He’s been featured in numerous tattoo publications and won awards for his work. Growing up in a less privileged community has influenced Davis artistically and has made him extremely grateful in his career. He attributes tattooing to saving his life and has never been more ready to fight for the “Ink Master” title.
Los Angeles, CA
Artist, The Vatican Studios (http://picassodular.com/)
16 years’ experience
Picasso Dular has survived being street smart. Having left home at just 12 years old, he has been living and figuring out life all on his own Dular knows what it takes to survive and plans to apply his “ninja” tactics to the competition, methodically preying on the weaknesses of his fellow artists.. Intense and relentless, he does not plan to keep his opinions to himself during judging. Dular refuses to pigeonhole himself as an artist specializing in one particular style. He hopes coming home with the “Ink Master” title will grant him the ability to open up his own shop and allowing this nomad to finally plant roots.
Walter “Sausage” Frank
Las Vegas, NV
Co-Owner/Artist, Revolt Tattoos (http://revolttattoos.com/)
14 years’ experience
Season 4 Veteran
Walter “Sausage” Frank isn’t just a tattoo artist; he’s a true entertainer whose stage is the tattoo studio. Sausage enjoys making people laugh and having fun in the tattoo chair. He is a sought after, worldwide, for his meticulous tattoo work.. But don’t let his humorous ways fool you, he’s a solid and fierce competitor. Not only has Sausage worked alongside season 3 winner, Joey “Hollywood” Hamilton, but he almost grabbed the Ink Master crown for himself during season 4. Although he didn’t win the title then, he quickly won the hearts of his fans. This season he’s back with a vengeance and this time intends to come back to Las Vegas with the title of “Ink Master.”
New York, NY
Owner, 13 Fat Catz (crisgherman.com; instagram.com/crisgherman)
15 years’ experience
Cris Gherman is a Transylvanian rebel who doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own. Gherman has been featured in numerous international magazines and has won awards at various tattoo conventions worldwide. He thinks there is no competition when it comes to his art and believes that this is his time. He hopes that winning the “Ink Master” title will bust his career wide open and turn him into to the household name he believes he deserves to be.
Virginia Beach, VA
Artist, Otzi Tatttoo Agency (http://otzi-tattoo.com/mattihixson/)
11 years’ experience
Season 4 Veteran
Matti Hixson speaks bluntly, but he claims it’s all in the name of artistic passion. A self-taught artist, 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 an artist who thrives in color realism and likes tattoos with a dark twist. He was featured on season 4 of “Ink Master” and placed third overall. . With a second chance, Hixon no longer plans to come into the game sincerely. This time around he’ll do whatever it takes to bring home the $100,000prize and title of “Ink Master.”
22 years’ experience
Artist, Ascension Tattoo (http://www.jimelitwalk.com/)
Season 3 Veteran
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. 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 is returning from season 3 and this time he has no intentions of allowing the first place title slip away.
West Lafayette, IN
Owner, New Breed
26 years’ experience
Season 6 Veteran
St. Marq has been tattooing for more than 25 years. As the owner of New Breed Tattoo, he has been featured in various publications including National Geographic and The New York Times. St. Marq has a background of experience in many styles of tattooing including Black and Grey, Realism, Large Conceptual and Epic Multi-Surface tattoos.. During season 6 he was known as one of the cockiest contestants ever in the competition. But St. Marq was eliminated early on in the competition, and has felt his elimination was biased ever since. With his years of experience St. Marq plans to dominate this competition the second time around and plans to have thought out strategies to win the Ink Master title.
Artist, Metro Tattoo
5 years’ experience
Anthony Michaels is proud that he doesn’t carry himself like a stereotypical tattoo artist. He thinks it’s what sets him apart from the pack. While he describes himself as a well-dressed and put together family man, that doesn’t mean he won’t get his hands dirty. The former professional basketball player knows a thing or two about thriving under pressure and using criticism as a personal motivation. Nothing about the competition scares him. In fact, he predicts it will be the other contestants losing sleep once they see what he can do. Inspired by his sister, who persevered through brain damage and is now a Special Olympics gold medal winner, he’s not going to stop until he’s Ink Master.
Owner/Artist, Wyld Chyld Tattoo Pittsburgh (www.sarahmillertattoos.com; instagram.com/ sarahmillertattoo )
10 years’ experience
Season 2 Veteran
Season 2 runner-up Sarah Miller is a versatile artist; specializing in photo realism, she enjoys other styles as well, including but not limited to New School, Japanese, and Black and Gray. She likes to mix them to make her own, unique style that can be recognized in every piece she does. Tattooing since 2006, she has traveled the world, competing and exploring the different aspects of the tattoo art form. Tattooing became her life since she gave up a promising career in Graphic Design to pursue her dream, and opened Wyld Chyld Tattoo in 2012. Not just limited to tattooing, she still pushes her boundaries in fine art. Miller considers herself to be very competitive and says she definitely has what it takes to win this and be the first female ”Ink Master.”
Megan Jean Morris
Owner/Artist, Painted Soul Tattoo/ Part Time Artist at Last Rites in NYC
7 years’ experience
Megan Jean Morris is aware that her personality can come off as arrogant, but she feels that that is because she is straight forward. A tomboy with a feminine side, Morris tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve. Early in her career, she found it difficult for her to be taken seriously within the tattoo community, so she’s worked extra hard to earn respect. Morris studied realism in college, and uses her art background to create vibrant and detailed surrealistic pieces.
Cleen Rock One
Las Vegas, NV
Owner/Artist, Chrome Gypsy Tattoo& Golden Skull Tattoo
20 years’ experience
Season 5 Veteran
Season 5 runner up, Cleen Rock One started as Illinois shop owner whose neo-traditional and new school approaches to ink landed him guest spots in studios nationwide and features in several tattoo magazines. Years later, the artist and entrepreneur moved out West, opening up his own shop, Chrome Gypsy Tattoo and striving to leave a permanent mark on the Las Vegas circuit. Cleen Rock didn’t expect to make it as far as he did during season 5, but now that he’s aware of exceptional skills, he’s confident to quickly take over this competition.
West Palm Beach, FL
Artist, Aces High Tattoo (www.aceshightattooshop.com )
9 years’ experience
Alex Rockoff is a ball of nervous, manic energy and he bottles it all up inside of him until it bursts. Rivals have called him flamboyant and “a little bit nuts.” Usually it’s all fun and games for Rockoff, but he has been known to cross the line and takes things just a bit to far which he’s typically unapologetic for, especially when it comes to his career. An art kid who fell in love with tattoos, Rockoff believes his lines, shading, and color gradients are his strong points.
Owner/Artist, Loose Screw Tattoo (www.jessesmithtattoo.com; www.loosescrewtattoo.com; instagram.com/jessesmithtattoos)
18 years’ experience
Season 2 Veteran
Jesse Smith discovered his love of art while living in Germany as an “army brat” teen. It was there that he became interested in urban culture and graffiti art. After returning to the States, Smith enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University to help round out his artistic style. One of his first jobs was drawing caricatures at Busch Gardens in VA and found himself among a circle of artists who introduced him to the world of tattooing, eventually learning how to make his own homemade tattoo machine. Smith developed his signature style of quirky cartoon style designs and use of color working in numerous tattoo shops. Being eliminated in season 2 hasn’t slowed Smith down. He says it has helped him grow as an artist at his shop, Loose Screw Tattoos in Richmond, VA. He’s ready to use his eccentric distinctive style of art to take home the Ink Master title.
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Owner/ Artist, Tidewater Designs
26 years’ experience
Season 1 Veteran
With talent and a wicked sense of humor coupled with southern charm, James Vaughn believes he is the ultimate triple threat. Vaughn got his first tattoo when he was just 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 over 300 awards and has been published more than 20 times for his work. In the tattoo world, he considered a rare breed because he still draws all his designs “free hand” on his client’s skin with a black Sharpie. Not only has Vaughn has been tattooing for more than 20 years, but he also made it to the final three on season one of “Ink Master.” But leaving without the title did not stop him. He now owns two tattoo parlors in North Carolina, Straight A tattoo in Asheboro, Emerald City Tattoo & Piercing in Greensboro and has no intentions of returning back to the south without the “Ink Master” title in hand.
Ashley “Show Off” Velazquez
New Haven, CT
Artist, Forever Custom Tattoos (instagram.com/showoff_forevertats)
5 years’ experience
With the nickname “Show Off,” Ashley Velazquez lives for the spot light. Velazquez doesn’t bite her tongue; she speaks her mind, which can sometimes get her into trouble. A former art major in college, she began drawing tattoos before she even was a tattoo artist. She learned quickly from the other artists around her and taught herself when no one would apprentice her. Now, five years later she is the most requested artist at the shop she works at. Hungry for this opportunity, Velazquez feels competing on “Ink Master” is validation to her doubting father that she has made the right career choice