Ink Master

Top Chef for tattoo artists has tough talk, edgy images.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights the creativity and skill required to be an outstanding tattoo artist. It also highlights how important it is to be able to satisfy clients.

Positive role models

Some male artists exhibit sexist attitudes towards the female inkers. Contestants respect the others' talents and skill, but are very competitive and talk about "taking out" the others.


Volunteer clients sometimes wince or even scream out in pain while being inked. Blood is occasionally visible. Some of the tattoos include skulls, weapons, or other dark imagery.


Tattoos sometimes include nude imagery (bare breasts); a client's butt crack is occasionally visible.


Words like "ass" and "piss" are audible; curses like "f--k" are bleeped. Obscene gestures are sometimes visible.


Work spaces feature each inker's artwork. Thunderbirds and other cars are sometimes featured, but their makes/model logos are not evident. During commercial breaks, individual contestants occasionally talk about their own businesses or tattoo community ventures.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol is occasionally visible at the house. Some tattoo imagery includes cigarettes or other indications of smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality competition featuring tattoo artists competing for a major cash prize contains some of the expected drama that comes with this sort of thing, but is milder than some. It also positively highlights the skill and creativity that goes into the art form of tattooing. There is some strong language, and the stronger words are bleeped. On occasion, clients scream in pain. Artwork sometimes features nudity.

What's the story?

INK MASTER is a reality competition featuring 10 skilled tattoo artists competing in New York City for $100,000. Hosted by Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, the artists' skills are tested in every essential discipline of the art form. From tattooing raw meat and cars to demonstrating their skill set by permanently inking "living canvasses" (people heroically donating their skin for challenges), each competitor must demonstrate that they can produce beautiful and well-executed art in a limited amount of time while pleasing clients. In-between challenges, the gang draws up more drama as they live under one roof in a NYC brownstone. Their art is judged by Navarro, as well as master inkers Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck. The artist failing to impress during elimination rounds must close up shop, while the others go on to ink their way towards the money prize and the title.

Is it any good?


The series, which is being promoted as the "first tattoo competition on TV," features larger-than-life contestants vying for cash by participating in challenges under unique circumstances and extreme time limits. Its focus on the tattoo world makes it feel a little edgy, too. But the show also stresses the real skill and creativity that goes into body art, and underscores the fact that the people competing are true artists.

The typical reality competition can be a little grating at times, but for those fans of Project Runway or Top Chef, who like this style of show, it's an entertaining and well-produced product. It isn't for everyone, but viewers interested in body art and the tattoo industry will find this entertaining. Meanwhile, those who usually don't tune into these kinds of things can also learn a lot about the the art form, too.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about tattoos artists. What kind of training does sometimes have to have in order to be considered a tattoo artist? How do they develop their individual styles? Is the ability to work with clients as important as their craft?

  • Why do you think these tattoo artists have agreed to participate in this show? What to they stand to gain or lose by being on television?

  • Why is getting a tattoo a big decision? What are the health risks involved? Would you ever get a tattoo?

TV details

Cast:Chris Nunez, Dave Navarro, Oliver Peck
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bytattooist February 28, 2012
age 2+


"Ink Master" is an INSULT to the tattoo industry!!! You can't put a "time limit" on ART!! and those judges already have a winner picked no matter what happens. And NAVARO knows NOTHING about quality tattoos (that can be seen by the trash that he wears on his own body!!!)
Teen, 16 years old Written bySnowman__1632 December 12, 2014
age 12+


It was ok but too much languge and some tattos of stuff like boobs and stuff
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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