Best Ink

via press release:



Host Pete Wentz Returns As The Top Artists Compete For


$100,000 and Tattoo Magazine Cover Story


NEW YORK—October 22, 2013—Oxygen’s  hit tattoo competition series “Best Ink” is back for season three with more artists, bigger challenges, and extra attitude, premiering on Wednesday, December 4 at 10 PM ET/PT. Returning with Fall Out Boy bassist and tattoo enthusiast Pete Wentz (@petewentz) as the host, this series lays bare the cutthroat and wildly unpredictable world of tattoo artistry as 14 of the best artists from around the country compete for $100,000 and a cover story in Tattoo magazine.  The judges’ panel is also back with world-renowned tattoo artist Joe Capobianco (@whatsnottalike), international pinup model and tattoo removal shop owner Sabina Kelley (@Sabina_Kelley), and distinguished pinup and portrait tattoo specialist Hannah Aitchison (@hannahaitchison).


“Last season on ‘Best Ink,’ we found our stride and had a lot of fun as a cast. This season we take the show to the next level— the stunts are bigger and the tattoos are even more insane,” said Wentz. “I’m pumped to be back and I can’t wait for the fans to see the creativity and the amazing energy of these 14 new artists!”


“Best Ink” takes the competition to a whole new level this season with unique challenges, from wrecking a car at a demolition derby to creating visually stunning biomechanical tattoos. Season three also brings fresh new guest judges including Hannah Aitchison’s brother, tattoo artist and painter Guy Aitchison, legendary special effects artist, Glenn Hetrick (@glenn_hetrick) and surfing icon Laird Hamilton (@LairdLife)




Alayna Magnan (@alaynamagnan)


Los Angeles, CA


Alayna Magnan grew up on a beef cattle farm outside Phoenix and spent her summers on a ranch in Colorado–but ironically, she is a vegan. She is an optimistic “girly girl” with an all-pink tattoo station to match. However, this cute and bubbly girl wasn’t always in the tattoo business. Alayna was an accountant for six years before deciding to pursue a career in tattooing at age 30. Before going full time, she used her BA in Studio Art from the College of Santa Fe to become a watercolor painter in the art gallery world. Currently, Alayna works at Art and Soul Tattoo Co. and specializes in pinup girls and modern illustrative.


Amy Zager (@Painterlyfiend)


Chicago, IL


Despite growing up in a sweet Jewish family in the Chicago suburbs, Amy Zager was a complete rebel as a child. Now her rebellion reveals itself through her abrasive personality and no filter mouth. Amy currently works at Tattoo Factory and loves being a woman in the tattoo industry; she thinks that being a talented female tattoo artist is “a secret weapon.” Amy’s specialty in bold color makes her stand out from the competition. Amy is also a trained artist, having earned a BFA in Oil Painting from the American Academy of Art.


Anthony Zamora (@AnthonyZINKS)


Harrisburg, PA


Born and raised in Texas, Anthony Zamora co-owned a tattoo shop with his father-in-law that was voted best in Austin. He took a nontraditional path to learning the art by being taught by his employees. Having tattooed for eight years now, Anthony finally feels like a real artist, and is currently working at 717 Tattoo specializing in surrealism. He has two children with his wife. He is strong and outspoken and knows how to push people’s buttons—but says it’s all in good fun.


Carey Matthews (@inkpusher504)


New Orleans, LA


Carey Matthews has been tattooing for more than 13 years and has been the shop owner of Grafic Ink Studio for over five years. Carey’s career had a bumpy start as he worked hard to triumph over the obstacle of being a black tattoo artist in an industry where that is not common. Now, Carey is proud to work 14-hour days by appointment only and excels at dynamic black-and-grey pieces. In addition to being a talented artist from watercolors to graffiti, he also has a passion for customizing lowriders. Although he says he is not one to argue, Carey is a fan of telling it like it is. Once he even kicked an unruly customer out of his shop for trying to set his own price!


Danny Lepore (@DannyLepore)


Metuchen, NJ


Danny Lepore grew up in a “perfect little family” in a nice suburban New Jersey town, all of which resulted in a recipe for rebellion. While in school, he would get picked on for being the “angry, overweight goth kid.” Danny has wanted to be a tattoo artist since he was 12, and started his apprenticeship when he was in high school. Although he is only 21, Danny takes his career very seriously. When other kids his age are partying, he is in the shop working and learning so he can be the best. People often judge him because he looks so young, but they are always blown away when they see his work. Danny’s commitment to tattooing and his hard work ethic is reflected in a tattoo on his head that says “Hustle Hard” to remind him to stay focused.


Darnell Waine (@WorksbyWaine)


Oklahoma City, OK


Darnell Waine was able to hone and protect his love for art from a young age despite growing up in a rough neighborhood of South Central L.A. Darnell went to art school for fashion design, but dropped out to pursue a career as a tattoo artist. Although he has only been tattooing for five years, Darnell is sought after for his portraits. He loves the challenge of working with various faces and bringing a two-dimensional image to life through his art. Darnell describes his career so far as “short but epic” and is always striving to be better. As a testament to this claim, he has the slogan “To be the best, beat the best” tattooed on his collarbone.


Izzi Echo(@izziecho)


Louisville, KY


Izzi Echo has always had to go beyond to prove her talent because of her good looks. She grew up in a small town in Kentucky where the malicious gossip about her got so bad she changed her name to “Echo.” She was a daddy’s girl to her biker mechanic father and prim Southern librarian mother. Izzi was a classically trained dancer and musician before beginning her tattooing career of eight years. When she began tattooing, she took to dressing like a boy to rebel against the female artists who behaved inappropriately with their male mentors to land apprenticeships. Izzi says she is where she is today because she “fought to get here” and refuses to fail. She specializes in black-and-grey realism.


Joseph Matisa (@joematisatattoo)


Trenton, NJ


When Joseph Matisa was 13 years old, his father made him his apprentice, teaching Joseph everything he knows. Joseph is very driven and self-motivated, having graduated from high school early and started tattooing full time at 17 years old. He opened his first tattoo shop, Kiss of Ink, soon thereafter and opened his second shop, Ink Junction, six years later. Joseph even lived in his car for a year so he could save up to buy a house. He is also a hip-hop artist who goes by the name “Bazooka Joe.” When he is not tattooing, he is at home writing and recording music.


Karly Cleary (@KarlyCleary)


Southhampton, PA


Karly Cleary is a mother before anything else. She had her son, Rivers, at 17 and gave up a full ride to art school to take care of him. Karly was encouraged to take up tattooing when a friend saw her artwork in a community college class. She didn’t know anything about being a tattoo artist, but quickly gained an appreciation for the art when she started her apprenticeship. Karly has been tattooing for eight years now and currently works at Davidian Tattoo Studio, specializing in photorealism. Karly lost her mother at a young age and she lives a drug-free, healthy lifestyle eating only vegan foods. Karly married her longtime boyfriend last November. Her husband has a young son whose name is Sky, and Karly says they are a “clichéd hippie family.”


May May Yaeger (@Tattoosbymaymay)


Phoenix, AZ


After hanging out at tattoo shops since the age of 19, May May Yaeger landed an apprenticeship, learning the tricks of the trade for a year and a half. May May did not have it easy growing up. Abandoned by her mother, who died due to alcoholism, she had to support herself and worked 90-hour weeks. May May has been tattooing for six years now and prides herself on being adaptable in order to suit her clients’ needs. She specializes in realism, Japanese, and neotraditional. Thriving on competition and excellent at taking criticism, she plans to use these strengths to come out the winner!


Romeo Lacoste (@romeolacoste)


Los Angeles, CA


Romeo Lacoste knew he wanted to be a tattoo artist at 17. After getting turned down by 40 shops, he persevered and finally landed an apprenticeship. His hard work throughout his four years of tattooing has paid off. At 24, his work has already been featured in national and international tattoo magazines. Romeo made a plan to capitalize on the music industry, and it’s working. He started tattooing for his friends’ bands and eventually tattooed on the Warped Tour. Romeo usually tattoos rock bands and rappers, but enjoys listening to mostly New Kids on The Block and Justin Bieber.


Rudy Hetzer (@RudyHetzerIV)


Dallas, TX


Having grown up in Illinois, Rudy Hetzer has always been an artist at heart, and he found a passion for tattooing while he was studying art and graphic design at the L.A. Art Institute. Once Rudy realized he could make a living as a tattoo artist, he decided to leave school and move to Dallas to tattoo full time. He now owns his own tattoo shop, Dallas Tattoos and Art Co., where he also sells his artwork and does freelance graphic design. Rudy has been busy making a name for himself; he has tattooed many well-known bands such as Three Days Grace, FlyLeaf, and the Dead Prez.


Willy Cutlip (@WillyCutlip)


Las Vegas, NV


Willy Cutlip is what one might call a social butterfly. He moved around a lot when he was younger, and ended up at a different school almost every year, and he can easily talk to just about anyone. Willy was bit of a troublemaker when he was younger but says his passion for tattooing was probably the reason he was able to focus and change his life. Willy recently had a terrible scare when he had to get hand surgery and thought he would never be able to tattoo again. After taking a few months to heal, he is now better than ever. Having tattooed for seven years, Willy currently works at Bad Apple Tattoo with “Best Ink” season two contestant, DJ Tambe. He specializes in semirealistic tattooing. He has been married for four years and has a six-month-old son, Hero, named after his late father-in-law, who was one of Willy’s biggest inspirations.


Lara Slater


Pine Hill, NJ


Having worked as a tattoo artist for 17 years, Lara Slater is an established veteran. She grew up quickly in the industrial area of New Jersey surrounded by a family of artists. Lara started her apprenticeship at the young age of sixteen. She does amazing custom tattoos and prides herself on giving personal attention to every client. Open to many art forms, Lara specializes in sacred geometry, surrealism, lowbrow, illustrative works, but bio and organics are her favorite styles. Currently, Lara works at Dead Sparrow Tattoo.


“Best Ink” is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, a Banijay Group company, with Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, and Rick deOliveira serving as executive producers and Erin Cristall, Lisa Fletcher, and Zach Kozek serving as co-executive producers.


About Oxygen Media


Oxygen Media is a multiplatform entertainment brand that delivers relevant and engaging content to young women who like to “live out loud.” Oxygen is rewriting the rulebook for women’s media by changing how the world sees entertainment from a young woman’s point of view. Through a vast array of unconventional and original content, including “The Face,” “Best Ink,” “I’m Having Their Baby” and “Bad Girls Club,” the growing cable network is the premier destination for unique and groundbreaking unscripted programming. A social media trendsetter, Oxygen is a leading force in engaging modern young women, wherever they are, with popular, award-winning features online including, the real-time social viewing party that is also available as an app for the iPhone and iPad. Oxygen is available in 80 million homes, and can be found online and on mobile devices at Follow us on Twitter at Oxygen Media is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal.

About Bunim/Murray Productions

Bunim/Murray Productions is the leading producer of innovative entertainment content.  The Emmy Award-winning company is widely credited with creating the reality television genre with its hit series The Real World (29 seasons for MTV).  BMP continued to innovate with the first reality game show, Road Rules (MTV), in 1995; the first reality sitcom, The Simple Life (E!), in 2003; and the first reality soap opera, Starting Over, in 2003. Bunim/Murray’s programming includes Bad Girls Club, Bad Girls All Star Battle, Love Games and Best Ink (Oxygen), Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Kim Take Miami and Total Divas (E!), The Real World and The Challenge (MTV), The Ruckers: Southern Royals (WE tv) and Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime).  Bunim/Murray Productions has also produced films, including Valentine Road (HBO), Pedro (MTV) and the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical (HBO). Bunim/Murray Productions has launched additional entities including BMP Films, BMP Digital and BMP Latin. Based in Van Nuys, CA, Bunim/Murray Productions was founded in 1987 by Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, who were inducted into the Television Academy of Arts & Science’s Hall of Fame in 2012. The company joined Banijay Group in 2010.


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