Amidst the arena of creative expression, ‘Ink Master’ season 6 emerged as an explosive clash of artists. A competition between 15 others, the show unveils an intense match among elite tattoo artists, each hungry for the prestigious title of ‘Ink Master.’ Host and judge Dave Navarro guides the audience and sets the stage for rivalries and hunger for winning the competition. The ink-wielding virtuosos faced the heating eyes of the judges and also transformed the show into a riveting canvas of talent and luck. As these contestants exited the limelight of the show, their popularity skyrocketed, propelling them into successful endeavors to further their individual businesses. Now, let’s unravel the current doings of these once contenders, exploring the intriguing paths they’ve taken since leaving the competitive ink-scape.
Dave Kruseman has Taken Olde Line Tattoo to New Heights
Dave Kruseman is a 51-year-old tattoo virtuoso and a proud owner of Olde Line Tattoo. His journey into the world of ink began on the thrilling battleground of the show where he showcased his artistic prowess and won the season 6. Fast forward to today, and Kruseman has etched his mark on the tattoo scene. At Olde Line Tattoo, he’s not just crafting tattoos, he’s creating an experience by quality tattooing and body piercing that’s more than skin deep. Kruseman’s artistry transcends the studio but that’s not all. Kruseman took his talent on the road, participating in the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest, leaving an indelible mark on the vibrant tattoo community.
He also made waves at the Elm St. Fest in Dallas, Texas, proving that his art knows no bounds. Beyond the buzzing machines and ink-stained challenges, Kruseman’s voice resonated on the Sailor Jerry podcast with Matt Caughthran, sharing insights into his journey, art, and the ever-evolving world of tattooing. With each event and podcast appearance, he’s weaving narratives through ink and conversation.
Chris Blinston is Part of Operation Tattooing Freedom Today
Finalist Chris Blinston is the creative force behind No Hard Feelings Tattoo in FL, where ink transforms into artistry. Beyond the ink, Blinston is part of Operation Tattooing Freedom, a heartwarming initiative that gifts tattoos to wounded service members, leaving an indelible mark of gratitude. Blinston’s journey in the tattoo world reached a pinnacle on the show where his skills spoke louder than words. A canvas for his artistry, the show propelled him into the spotlight. Blinston faced a different challenge after the show—carpal tunnel surgery, a testament to the toll of his craft.
Yet, it didn’t stop Blinston. It fueled his determination to keep creating. In the tapestry of his life, family is a prominent thread. Married to Trisha, Blinston is a proud father of two, a fact vividly painted on his Instagram canvas. His social media reveals not just an artist but a loving father, capturing moments that mirror the depth of his art. Blinston’s story extends beyond tattoo machines and ink. It’s a narrative of resilience, gratitude, and family.
Matt O’Baugh is Today The Best Tattoist in Arkansas
Matt O’Baugh is the co-owner of Black Cobra Tattoos since its inception in 2012 alongside Jessica O’Baugh. His journey unfolded on the ink-stained stage of a tattoo competition, where his skills were put to the test. Matt’s efforts have significantly elevated the business of Black Cobra Tattoos after the show, turning it into a thriving haven for ink enthusiasts. Beyond the studio walls, Matt’s heart extends to the community.
In the aftermath of the tornado that swept through central Arkansas in April 2021, he rallied support, raising funds to aid those affected. Family is a cornerstone of Matt’s narrative. A proud father of two, his Instagram proudly displays the accolade of Best Tattoos in the Best of Arkansas in 2019, a testament to the studio’s excellence. Matt’s artistry doesn’t stop at his doorstep; it reverberates in conventions like the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention, where he continues to showcase his craft on a broader stage.
Craig Foster Opened Gilded Tattoo Recently
Craig Foster’s journey weaves through ink and family bonds. Formerly an artist at Skinwerks Tattoo, Craig has now embarked on a new chapter, opening Gilded Tattoo in its place. His journey on the canvas of life includes a poignant moment in 2022 when he faced the loss of his mother. Through the highs and lows, the family remains a crucial anchor for Craig. Married to Skye Foster, he’s not just a father but also a grandfather since 2022, celebrating the joys of a growing family. In the realm of tattoos, Craig’s work speaks volumes. His transition from being an employee to opening his own studio, Gilded Tattoo, showcases his commitment to the craft. Beyond the ink, Craig intertwines the importance of family with his professional endeavors, creating a harmonious balance.
Duffy Fortner Expanded The Red Octopus Tattoo Empire with New Branches
Duffy Fortner, a second-generation tattoo artist and the mastermind behind the iconic Red Octopus Tattoo, navigates the tattoo scene as the creative force and owner of the flourishing tattoo studio. Since her time on the ink-stained battleground of a tattoo competition, Duffy has not only solidified her position but expanded the Red Octopus Tattoo empire with new branches.
Beyond the vibrant ink and buzzing machines, the family holds a special place in Duffy’s heart. A proud mother of two, she balances the artistry of tattooing with the joys of motherhood. Recently, Red Octopus Tattoo marked a significant milestone, celebrating its 30th-year anniversary in 2022—a testament to Duffy’s enduring passion and commitment to the craft.
Tyler Nolan’s Love for Animals Extends to a Farm Now
Tyler Nolan, the enigmatic owner of Sunshine State Tattoo, whose post-show life is as vibrant as the ink he wields. From the intense competition in the tattooing arena, Tyler emerged not just as an artist but as a life enthusiast. Tyler’s journey took a personal turn as he tied the knot with Gianna Wyatt, and the two welcomed a precious addition to their family—a daughter. Tyler is known for his affinity for these slithering creatures, even when he was bitten by a cobra once, still he proudly boasts a pet Mangshan Viper, adding a unique twist to his life beyond the tattoo studio.
Tyler’s love for animals extends to a farm where a menagerie of creatures finds a home. From the scales of snakes to the paws of various creatures, Tyler thrives on maintaining a diverse and lively environment. In 2022, he marked a milestone by acquiring a new home, a nest where his family, including the unconventional pets, can flourish. Not just confined to the buzzing machines and ink-stained challenges, Tyler Nolan stepped into the spotlight with an interview with FK Irons Worldwide, showcasing his expertise and insights in the tattooing world.
Erik Campbell is The Owner of The Raw Canvas Tattoo Studio and Art Gallery Today
Erik Campbell, now owner of The Raw Canvas Tattoo Studio and Art Gallery went on a journey that unfolded on the riveting stage of the show where his artistic prowess left an indelible mark. Erik’s artistic journey continued to flourish since his time on the show, as he assumed the role of studio owner, cultivating a space where ink meets art. Beyond the tattoo machines, Erik’s passion extends to the wider world, evident in his frequent travels documented on Instagram. His love for exploration and new experiences is as vibrant as the ink he wields. He also made a mark at the Carnival of Ink Convention in Kansas City, showcasing his skills amid the vibrant tapestry of the tattoo community.
Katie McGowan Collaborative a Space for Freelancing Artists
Katie McGowan, the enchanting owner of Love Spell Tattoo, where art and magic converge, took a spellbinding turn-on when she participated in the show, showcasing her artistry on a competitive stage. Since the show, her studio has become a haven not just for her creations but also a collaborative space for freelancing artists, adding a dynamic touch to Love Spell Tattoo. Katie’s flair for the mystical extended beyond ink, as Love Spell Tattoo partnered with Rock Town Distillery for a Spooktacular event, blending the worlds of tattoos and spirits. The enchantment didn’t stop there, Katie’s studio caught the eye of multiple publications, including a feature on KATV News, casting a spotlight on her magical creations.
Dave Clarke is Now a Pro Team Artist for Fusion Ink
Dave Clarke, a maestro in the world of ink, is adorned with accolades as an award-winning tattooist and the visionary owner of Artistic Devotion Tattoo in Shalimar. Dave’s journey took a thrilling turn as he showcased his artistic prowess on a competitive stage, earning him a well-deserved spot on the show. His commitment to excellence continued to shine through various avenues including participating in Tattoo Festival Biloxi.
In the realm of tattooing, Dave’s expertise extends beyond the studio walls. As a Pro Team Artist for Fusion Ink, Helios Needles, Electrum, and Dab aftercare, he not only practices his craft but contributes to the advancement of the industry. Dave’s association with these prominent brands is a testament to his dedication and standing in the tattooing community.
Marisa LaRen is Now Associated with 1st Phorm
Marisa LaRen is the owner of the Common Place Studio, where art and resilience converge. After her appearance on the show, her story added layers to her artistic narrative. Marisa’s life became a vibrant canvas of experiences. Associated with 1st Phorm, a fitness and supplement company, she transcends the tattoo world, contributing to the health and wellness industry. Her Instagram tells a tale of wanderlust, showcasing a fashionista’s flair and a passion for exploration that mirrors her journey beyond ink.
Marisa faced a setback when her studio in Missouri was ravaged by fire, but like a phoenix, she rose from the ashes, establishing a new artistic haven in St. Louis. Her resilience extended beyond the studio, as she took a philanthropic stance on the board of War Party Ranch, initiating the first annual ranch rodeo to raise awareness and funds.
Where Are the Rest of the Contestants?
The ripple effect of ‘Ink Master’ extended far beyond the top 10 contestants, as many artists seized the exposure to elevate their businesses to new heights. Cesar “Big Ceeze” Castaneda, now the proud owner and artist at Mi Familia Tattoo Studio, is happily celebrating 11 years of marriage. Mark S. “St. MarQ” Agee, co-founder of Holy Water, ventured into the design realm, showcasing his creative prowess. His journey led him to the vibrant floor of the Philadelphia convention, a testament to the doors the show has opened.
Kito Talbert not only owns Fidolo Tattoo Co. but has ventured into the tattoo supply industry with Bishop Tattoo Supply, engineering advanced products for fellow artists. Earl Noble found associations with H2Ocean and Eternal Ink, amplifying his reach in the tattoo community. Mat “MV” Valles, owner of Blue Panda Tattoo and Deadly North Supply, took his expertise to the Evergreen Tattoo Expo, showcasing his artistic depth. Miami Burgess stamped his identity with a studio under his name, while Ryan Hadley, owner of Morbid Muse Gallery, collaborated with fellow artists, presenting a dynamic blend of talent at the Chicago Tattoo Convention.
Also, Brian Stephens, specializing in Black and Grey Realism, embraced freelancing, offering his unique touch to diverse projects. These show alumni, though not in the top 10, illustrate the boundless opportunities that emerged post-show, each carving a distinctive niche in the ever-evolving world of tattoo artistry.