“Ink Master” is taking things to the next level for its fifth season. Host Dave Navarro is returning alongside judges Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck to find the next great tattoo artist. However the Spike reality series is introducing a fiery new twist to spice things up – pitting tattoo rivals against each other in order to claim the title of “Ink Master,” $100,000 and a feature in Inked magazine.
The new season is asking the question: “Does bad blood breed better art?” It was a growing and explosive battle between fan favorite Kyle Dunbar and judge Chris Nunez in Season 4. But Season 5 is upping the ante by bringing in contestants that have already formed rivalries outside of the series. From “convention circuit foes” to a boss vs. former employee – the Season 5 cast members will not only be trying to impress the judges with their technical skills, but keep their cool in order to stay in the game.
Eighteen contestants will be introduced when the Season 5 premiere kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 2, but “Ink Master” fans may already know two of them. Season 3 rivals Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn will be returning for a second chance to prove that they have what it takes to become the next “Ink Master.” Meet Hibbard, Dunn and the 16 other Season 5 cast members below:
Returning from “Ink Master” Season 3 is Jason Clay Dunn (left) and Joshua Hibbard (right). Jason is from Montclair and is an artist and owner at Tattoo Alchemy. With a focus in Neo-Asian style, the contestant came in sixth place in Season 3 after battling a panic disorder and anxiety.
Jason’s rivalry with Joshua, the Season 3 “instigator,” was born out of Joshua’s “scheming tactics and penchant for drama.” Joshua, who hails from Portland, has 10 years of experience and currently works at Inspired Tattoo. The artist finished in fifth place in Season 3, but made his views on standards very clear throughout his time on the show.
Angel (left) is an artist and owner at Puncture Tattoo Studio in Brooklyn. With 18 years of experience, one of his focuses is on color and grey wash tattoos.
Angel is rivals with Cris Element (right), another Brooklyn tattoo artist who previously worked for him and quit unexpectedly. Chris, a self-taught artist, has 8 years of experience under his belt and now works at Leathernecks and Bullseye in Brooklyn. He looks at old school tattoos as “outdated” and believes that longtime artists are “arrogant.” Both men want to prove who is superior.
Aaron Is (left) of Tampa has 16 years of tattoo experience. A co-owner and artist at Bloodline Tattoo, his work in photorealism and dotwork has been featured in numerous tattoo publications.
Aaron’s Season 5 “Ink Master” rival is Emily Elgado (right). The Charleston resident has six years of experience and works at Roses & Ruins Tattoo. Known for her realism work, Emily acknowledges that her “in-your-face attitude” is part of who she is – which contributed to her rivalry with Aaron. Emily feels like Aaron has “absolutely no respect for the industry” and doesn’t like that he’s dating one of her co-workers.
Don Peddicord (left) of Baltimore is a co-owner and artist at Tattoo Dynasty. With 8 years of experience, Don specializes in neo-traditional, portraiture and realism styles.
Don is rivals with Erik Siuda (right), a New York artist and owner of Ghost Gallery Tattoo, who he met while auditioning for “Ink Master” season 2. Erik has 18 years of experience and focuses on pseudo traditional, new school, realism and Japanese styles. Both men believe that each other is arrogant and does “subpar work.”
Viera, Florida resident Robbie Ripoll (left) has 18 years of experience and is an owner and artist at Chapel of Love Tattoo. Robbie is going head-to-head with Melbourne, Florida resident Jayvo Scott … his brother. Jayvo, Robbie’s older brother, has 13 years of experience. The pair “both ultimately seek to impress their father, from whom they learned the tricks of the trade.
Caroline Evans (left) of Bradley Beach, New Jersey has 15 years of experience under her belt. The artist from Ink Obsession is known for her cover-ups and corrective ink work. Caroline is going up against Julia Carlson of Brown Mills, New Jersey – her co-worker at Ink Obsession.
Julia has five years of experience and believes that Caroline is jealous, targets her and disrespects her. Caroline on the other hand thinks that Julia has a lot to learn if she ever wants to reach her level of expertise.
Mark Longenecker (left) has 20 years of experience and hails from Cocoa Beach, Florida. An artist and owner at Endless Summer, Mark specializes in vibrant color and has had his work “exhibited in conventions on the world stage.”
Mark is up against Ryan Eternal (right), an artist at a rival Florida studio, Hart & Huntington. Ryan, a military veteran, has eight years of experience in the field and used to idolize Mark. However now Ryan wants Mark’s “crown and his clients.”
Cleen Rock One (left) of Las Vegas is an artist and owner at Chrome Gypsy Tattoo. The artist has 19 years of experience in the field and is well known for his neo-traditional and new school techniques.
Cleen is rivals with Tim Lees in Season 5 of “Ink Master.” The San Diego artist has 17 years experience and helped Cleen build his Las Vegas studio. However the two had a falling out and Tim left the shop shortly after the opening. Tim feels “backstabbed” and is “bitter” about the situation.
Ty’Esha Reels vs. LT
Ty’Esha Reels (left) of Providence is a Native American tattoo artist working at 401 Ink Tattoo. She has six years in the field and is going up against LT (right) in Season 5 of “Ink Master.” LT, who has 3 years experience, works at rival shop East Providence Tattoo. The pair have been at odds ever since Ty’Esha lost to him at a Rhode island expo.
“Ink Master” Season 5 will premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 10 p.m. EDT. What do you think of the new “rivals” twist? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.