‘Ink Master’ season 8, which premiered on August 23, 2016, sustained the reality competition’s captivating journey into the realm of tattoo artistry. With Dave Navarro at the helm once again, the season gathered a fresh assembly of adept tattoo artists ready to navigate diverse challenges. Season 8’s challenges spanned a spectrum from conventional styles to cutting-edge, pushing the contestants to exhibit their adaptability and artistic prowess. Under the discerning eyes of the judging panel, comprised of celebrated tattoo artists, including the iconic Oliver Peck and Chris Núñez, the contestants faced rigorous evaluations.
This dynamic mix not only scrutinized technical finesse but also delved into the contestants’ ability to tackle innovative and unexpected tattoo themes. Viewers were not only enthralled by the artistic flair but also captivated by the diverse personalities of the competing tattoo artists. As the season unfolded, the audience developed a keen interest in the contestants’ journeys beyond the show. For those curious about the current endeavors and whereabouts of the season 8 participants, we’ve compiled the information to keep you in the loop. Let’s delve into the ventures of these talented individuals post the show.
Ryan Ashley Malarkey is the Co-Owner of Elysium Studios Today
Ryan Ashley Malarkey, the triumphant winner of season 8, has seamlessly transitioned from a talented contestant to an influential figure in the tattooing world. As the proud owner of Elysium Studios in Colorado, she not only showcases her artistic prowess but also takes on the role of a discerning judge on ‘Ink Master.’ Beyond the ink-stained world, her personal life is equally vibrant, being happily married to Arlo DiCristina. Their joy multiplied with the arrival of their son in May 2020, marking a significant chapter in their journey. However, amidst her victories, there have been moments of loss, notably the passing of her dog, Skies, in the same year.
Ryan’s influence extends beyond the judging table, as she graced the cover of Skin & Ink Magazine’s November 2021 winter issue, solidifying her status as an iconic figure in the tattoo industry. This glimpse into Ryan Ashley Malarkey’s life reveals a tapestry of success, family, and the poignant threads of personal experiences that shape her journey as a celebrated tattoo artist and judge.
Gian Karle Cruz’s Journey is Marked by Sponsorships from Many Industry Giants
Hailing from New Hampshire, Gian Karle made a lasting impression on the tattooing stage as a notable contestant in both the 8th and 14th seasons of ‘Ink Master’, clinching the title of runner-up. His journey in the inked arena is not only marked by skill but also by sponsorship from industry giants such as World Famous Ink, Maverick Tattoo Mercantile, FK Irons, and MD Wipe out, showcasing the recognition he commands. Gian’s canvas extends beyond the competition, with a notable collaboration project—a chest tattoo under sedation, a testament to his versatility and innovative approach.
He is also in collaboration with May Day Tattoo, demonstrating a commitment to artistic partnerships that transcend the confines of the competition. In his personal life, Gian finds support and companionship with his wife, Zaimina. Their bond adds a personal touch to the tattoo artist’s narrative, revealing the man behind the ink and the artist who has etched his mark on the ‘Ink Master’ stage.
Kelly Doty Now Owns The Helheim Gallery
In the realm of tattoo artistry, Kelly Doty stands out as a prominent figure, owning the Helheim Gallery where she breathes life into characters through her creative lens. Renowned for her ability to capture the essence of characters, Kelly’s talent transcends traditional boundaries. The recognition of her talent extended beyond her studio walls, as she received an invitation to the Explorer Tattoo Conference in Philly, underscoring her impact on the broader tattooing community.
As Kelly marked her 40th birthday in 2023, it was a celebration of not just a personal milestone but a testament to her enduring passion and creativity. Notably, she made waves with her portrayal of an Elton John look, showcasing her versatility and artistic flair. With Helheim Gallery as her canvas, she continues to weave stories and capture the soul of characters, leaving an indelible mark on the evolving tapestry of tattoo artistry.
Nate Beavers is Still Making Strides in the Houston Tattoo Community
Nathan Beavers has etched his mark with both skill and entrepreneurial spirit. Embarking on his professional tattooing journey, he took a significant leap by establishing a new shop in 2018, marking a chapter of growth and creative autonomy. Nathan’s artistry, notably focused on animals, has garnered attention beyond the tattoo community, earning him a feature in Vogue Houston, a testament to the broader recognition of his craft.
His expertise extends beyond the tattoo studio, as Nathan Beavers earned a well-deserved spot on the list of the best tattoo artists in Houston, according to the Houston Press. This accolade reflects not only his technical prowess but also his impact on the vibrant tattoo scene in the city. Nathan’s journey unfolds as a harmonious blend of artistic passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and recognition within and beyond the Houston tattooing community.
Nikki Simpson is Now the Co-Owner of Evers Black Tattoo Studio
Nikki Simpson is now the co-owner of Evers Black Tattoo Studio and also commands attention as the host of Paramount’s ‘Ink Master: Angels.’ As a member of the Explorer Tattoo, she presented her mastery in illustrative realism, contributing to the collective exploration of artistic boundaries. Beyond the studio and television, her personal life intertwines with the industry, being married to Tim Goergen. Nikki’s expertise is further affirmed by her role in the FK Irons Proteam, solidifying her position among the tattooing elite.
Adding a dynamic layer to her profile, Nikki ventured into the podcast realm by collaborating on an episode with Honest Tattooer and showcasing her passion for sharing insights and experiences within the tattoo community. Nikki Simpson’s journey is a captivating narrative of entrepreneurship, television stardom, collaborative ventures, and a commitment to pushing the artistic envelope within the vibrant world of tattooing.
Kevin Laroy is the Creative Force Behind August Eighth Today
In the vibrant tapestry of Dallas, Texas, Kevin Loray, also known as Babyface Killa, Hotboy Kev, and Kevy Murakami, is a multifaceted artist leaving his mark across various realms. Under the moniker August Eighth, he is the creative force behind it. Beyond the visual arts, Kevin’s musical endeavors find expression through Vintage Eighty-Eight. However, it is in the realm of tattoos that Kevin Loray truly shines. Operating under Book Kevin Laroy, he has become a prominent figure on the TV screen as part of Black Ink Crew. Kevin’s influence isn’t confined to conventions; he was honored to give a seminar at the Eden Winter Symposium, revealing his expertise and commitment to artistic growth.
His talent extends beyond the studio, as he actively participated in the Richmond Tattoo Convention and seized the opportunity to showcase his skills at the Second Annual San Diego Tattoo Convention. Notably, he undertook a monumental challenge by creating the largest-scale tattoo piece he has ever done, over the course of three consecutive days. His impact reverberates beyond inked skin, as Tattoo Industry Magazine featured him on their covers, acknowledging his contribution to the tattooing landscape.
Anwon “Boneface” Johnson is Now the Owner of Bone Face Ink Tattoo Shop
Anwon Johnson showcased his skills on both season 8 and 9 of Ink Master. Beyond the television stage, he has solidified his presence as the proud owner of Bone Face Ink Tattoo Shop, earning the accolade of the Best Tattoo Shop on the Gulf Coast. Anwon is not just an artist; he’s a voice in the podcast realm, hosting the Anxiety Issues Podcast under his pseudonym.
Expanding his footprint in the tattoo industry, Anwon is the proprietor of Luxury Needles, a tattoo supply business that reflects his commitment to quality and precision in the art. Beyond the studio, he takes the stage as the host of ’50 Dates at The Belmont,’ adding another dimension to his multifaceted persona. Anwon’s journey unfolds as a narrative of artistic prowess, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to mental health advocacy through his podcast.
Jason “Sketchylawyer” Lawyer is a Professional at Long Live Tattoo Collective Today
Jason Lawyer, a seasoned artist, brings his creative flair to life as a professional at Long Live Tattoo Collective in Denver and The Marked Society 3 in Fayetteville, GA. His artistic journey spans across different states, showcasing the breadth of his talent and influence. Notably, he made his mark at the Golden State Tattoo Expo, where his skills were on display for a wider audience. Beyond the tattoo studio, Jason shares a life partnership with Colleen, adding a personal touch to his artistic endeavors. Their collaboration adds depth to the canvas of his artistic journey, bringing a unique perspective to his work.
Eric Gonzalez is the Proud Owner of Deer Eye Studio
In the vibrant tattooing scene of Lynwood, Eric Gonzalez stands as a notable artist and is now the proud owner of Deer Eye Studio. Eric’s artistic spirit also finds resonance in the world of music, as he is associated with the Orkest band, adding a melodic note to his diverse creative pursuits. Eric’s journey extends, with significant appearances at the Golden State Tattoo Expo in 2020, where his skills captured the attention of a broader audience. His involvement in the Knives and Needles project further underscores his influence in the tattooing community.
Collaborative endeavors define Eric’s approach, and he has left his mark on various events, including the Blood and Fire II Art Show. Adding a personal touch to his narrative, Eric Gonzalez tied the knot with Iliana in 2019, marking a significant milestone in his personal life. Their union complements his artistic journey, creating a dynamic story of creative expression, community collaboration, and the enduring bonds of love.
Michael “Mike” McAskill has Successfully Expanded his Business
Michael McAskill, an artist at Elizabeth St Tattoo, experienced a transformative journey after making an appearance on the show. Leveraging the exposure, he successfully expanded his business, showcasing the impact of his talent beyond the confines of the studio. Michael’s commitment to the tattooing community extended to her attendance at the Villain Arts Philly Convention in 2019, where he connected with fellow enthusiasts and showcased his skills on a broader stage.
In a candid moment, Michael shared his initiation into the world of tattooing on the Inked Mag YouTube channel. This glimpse into his journey provides a personal touch to his artistic narrative, shedding light on the roots of her passion. From expanding his business to making a mark at conventions and sharing his story with a broader audience, Michael’s trajectory in the tattooing world is a testament to his talent and skills.
Where Are the Rest of the Contestants?
In the unforgiving world of season 8, some contestants fell short of reaching the coveted finals, while others faced elimination due to the whims of luck. Little did they know that their fortunes would take a turn for the better beyond the confines of the show, as their skills found recognition in the real world, leading to flourishing businesses and personal triumphs. Gia Rose for instance, who is now associated with Eternal Link and also co-hosts the Tattoo Hotline Podcast with Teresa Sharpe, showcasing a journey beyond the competition.
Tito “Tuff Tito” Velez, once in the shadows of elimination, now stands as the proud owner of Euphoria Ink, a thriving Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio, living a fulfilled life with a beautiful family. Matthew “Matt” Murray, associated with The Mind Body Movement, not only emerged as an Alternative Athlete but also carved a niche as a Barber and Trainer. Amid personal challenges like the loss of his mother in November 2023, he continues to shape his destiny. On the other hand, Sirvone Smith found a canvas beyond the elimination zone, creating art that resonates and sells in the market, with a focus on prints.
John Collins, once at the brink of exit, now stands tall as the owner of Mr. Lucky’s Panama City Beach Tattoo Club. Married and expecting a daughter, his life has transformed into a canvas of joy. Dave Robinowitz, resilient after elimination, established the Altered State Tattoo shop in Boynton Beach, FL, specializing in captivating nautical-themed custom tattoo designs. Geary Morrill is now the founder of Future Lazer Tiger Studio, passionately supporting Colon Cancer Awareness.
Carolyn Elaine, with her versatile tattooing skills, found a partner in Jeffrey Shelton and collaborated with various events, leaving an indelible mark over Port City Tattoo in California. Their journey from the competitive edge of the tattooing world to the realms of success and personal fulfillment serves as a testament to the unpredictable twists of fate and the resilience of true talent.
Read More: Where Is The Ink Master Season 4 Cast Now?