OXYGEN'S "BEST INK" TO PREMIERE ON MONDAY, JANUARY 30th AT 10 PM ET/PT
Hosted by Television Personality, Capitol Recording Artist,
and Tattoo Enthusiast Kimberly Caldwell
America's Most Talented Tattoo Artists Compete for
$100,000 and Cover Story in Tattoo Magazine
NEW YORK - December 5, 2011 - Oxygen will premiere "Best Ink," a new competition reality series laying bare the cutthroat and wildly unpredictable world of tattoo artistry on Monday, January 30th at 10 PM ET/PT.
"Best Ink" pits ten of the best male and female tattoo artists from around the country against one another in this all-new competition. With nothing but their needles, ink, and passion, these artists compete for $100,000 and a cover story in Tattoo magazine. The contestants are guided through the competition by host and recording artist Kimberly Caldwell ("American Idol"). After each challenge, the artists are critiqued by head judge and world-renowned tattoo artist Joe Capobianco, international pinup model and tattoo shop owner Sabina Kelley and a guest judge from a rotating roster. Then one contestant is sent home.
In every episode, the tattoo artists compete in two challenges: the "Flash Challenge," which tests their overall artistic and creative skills, and the "Ink Challenge," in which they produce bona fide masterpieces on skin - a permanence rarely seen in the reality competition world. The indelible body art will be created for and on real people in a variety of challenges designed to showcase the artists' talents. Challenges include an "Emotional Life Passage Challenge," in which the artists are tasked with designing a tattoo commemorating a personal story or life-changing moment, and a "Tribute Tattoo Challenge," in which the artists must design tribute tattoos for fans of a well-known musical icon. As the stakes get higher and the challenges become more difficult, only one artist will get the ultimate bragging rights to call their work "Best Ink."
"Best Ink" is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, a Banijay Group company, with Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, and Rico Martinez serving as executive producers and Erin Cristall, Rene Rainey, and Peter Woronov serving as co-executive producers.
Meet the cast:
Recording artist Kimberly Caldwell navigates the cutthroat and wildly unpredictable world of tattooing as host of Oxygen's new competition reality series "Best Ink."
Caldwell is best known for her gutsy vocals, passionate performances, and earthy charisma on the second season of "American Idol." She spent the years following that series as a very busy television host and correspondent for FOX Sports, TV Guide Network, and MTV, but she realized that she needed to take time off from that aspect of her entertainment career to focus on her true passion, music. After she signed with Vanguard and Capitol Records in 2009, her debut album, Without Regret, was released in April 2011.
Caldwell also hosted VH1's "Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp." Her other recent television appearances include "You're Cut Off," "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," "When I Was 17," and "Undateable," all on VH1, as well as "LA Ink" on TLC, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Rachael Ray," and the "American Idol" season IX finale on FOX.
Hometown: New Haven, CT
A highly respected tattoo artist with almost 20 years of experience in the industry, Joe Capobianco is the Head Judge on Oxygen's new competition reality series "Best Ink."
Capobianco is the owner of a self-named global brand that reaches audiences beyond the tattoo industry. He has created a variety of products, such as collectable toys, hair pomade, several signature tattoo machines, and specialized inks, and he teaches tattoo seminars around the world. Joe's work has been featured in countless tattoo publications such as Rue Morgue, Airbrush Action, and Bizarre, along with many international art books. His global following earned him a guest artist appearance on the television series "Miami Ink." Joe is a "tell it like it is" guy and will not hesitate to cut down a design that doesn't meet his expectations.
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Sabina Kelley's experience as an international pinup model with a deep involvement in the business side of tattooing led her to being named Expert Judge on Oxygen's new competition reality series "Best Ink."
During Kelley's early modeling days, photographers warned her not to tattoo both of her arms. She ignored their advice, and this decision paid off! Kelley has graced the covers of dozens of magazines and is a respected host and judge at tattoo conventions worldwide. More than just a pretty face, she has expanded her career beyond the lens. She is co-owner of two tattoo shops: one for creating tattoos and the other specializing in tattoo removal.
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Despite her years of Quaker schooling, Alexis is a far cry from straitlaced. Inspired by Elvira, metal music, and Halloween, Alexis is a self-proclaimed party girl and loves the freedom of riding her motorcycle. Custom tattoo work, being an artist and, of course, money are what motivate Alexis. She completed college in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. From there, she took what she learned and applied it to her tattoo work. Alexis is also involved in the medical field, working with several plastic surgeons tattooing breast cancer survivors. This competition affords her the opportunity to spread her wings outside of Pennsylvania and test her skills outside the comfort of her own tattoo shop.
Hometown: Long Branch, NJ
From the time she was a child, Jessica was encouraged by her mother to express her artistic talent. Before committing to tattooing and a brief stint as a makeup artist, Jessica studied piano at Juilliard and performed as a classical pianist for 29 years! Jessica values loyalty, almost to a fault, and understands the importance of clients to her brand - so much so that she is known to fight other artists to keep her clients close. This tenacity ought to serve her well in "Best Ink."
Brittan "London" Reese
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
London started his tattoo career in 2006 working in and around shops in Orange County, where he grew up. He launched a private tattoo studio with a fellow tattoo artist in 2009, and he has been a player in the tattoo world ever since. After his gift for tattooing caught the attention of a well-known tattoo shop owner, London was able to take his talents to a wider audience. A self-taught musician who plays guitar, piano, and drums, London has had art flowing through his veins since he began illustrating at three years old. London is an ambitious artist in various mediums - he made extra cash painting extravagant murals as a teenager and currently works in oils, watercolors, and mixed-media formats, as well as photography and graphic arts. He is sure to bring this confident attitude to the competition.
Christina "Charlie" Petty
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Self-described farm girl Charlie was raised on a cattle farm. The oldest of four siblings, Charlie studied psychology and sociology in college, but thanks to a minor in art and her fascination with the body as a sum of its parts, she began a love affair with tattoos. Despite her rugged upbringing, Charlie specializes in soft, feminine tattooing with fine lines and silhouettes. Being bullied for much of her life and being married to a Marine has given Charlie the necessary strength to take on her competition.
Hometown: Yonkers, NY
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic before moving to the United States at age 13, Jon specializes in neo-traditional tattoos and is largely inspired by Victorian art. Despite having only tattooed for four years, Jon has earned his place in one of the best shops in New York City. His free spirit permeates all aspects of his life and has earned him the nickname "Fuego," meaning "fire." He dropped out of art school to pursue his tattoo career, much to the dismay of his family. But his dedication and passion for his craft have changed his family's opinion not only about tattooing but also about his being a heavily tattooed person.
Hometown: Austin, TX
Kyle has a knack for the arts. Not only does he play the guitar and sing, but he also makes his own clothing. Kyle was pursuing a career in graphic arts but made a detour at the age of 18 when he got his first tattoo and became hooked. He has a bit of a rebellious streak and drives a motorcycle, but his Zen attitude can sometimes throw his competitors off.
Hometown: Warren, RI
Meghan specializes in portraits and tattoos in the comic book and anime style. Meghan's work is inspired by famous tattoo artist Brandon Bond and the visual art and poetry that envelop her everyday life. A drama queen known to lose her temper at the drop of a hat, Meghan is more than confident in her skills. She's banking on this competition to fulfill her dream of proving to the world that she is the true queen of tattooing.
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Nicky's artistic talent has been lauded for most of his life. On his 18th birthday, he skipped school and went to a tattoo shop, where he got a tattoo of a skull and crossbones. He has designed every one of his tattoos ever since, including his third tattoo, which led to an offer for an apprenticeship on the spot. He has honed his artistry, notably in pinups and realism, ever since. Openly gay Nicky has been in a committed relationship with his boyfriend for two years. Although Nicky speaks up when it suits him, he's also a master manipulator who definitely knows how to play the game - in more ways than one.
Hometown: Beaumont, CA
A seasoned tattoo artist specializing in portraits and color realism, Roman was introduced to tattooing at a young age when his uncle Jerry gave him his first tattoo machine. He does not stick to his home base shop to showcase his skills, instead featuring his talents worldwide and doing guest spots at tattoo shops around the world. Family is central to Roman's life, as he has two daughters. His unique experiences, professionally and personally, have more than prepared him for anything and everything this competition will send his way. Roman was honored with the Tattoo Society's Artist of the Year Award in 2009 and 2010.
Hometown: Paterson, NJ
A "guy's girl" and natural flirt who enjoys the company of men over women, Tiffany loves being the only female tattoo artist in her shop. She specializes in black-and-gray and modern fine-line tattooing. Tiffany began expressing herself through tattooing after her father gave her a tattoo machine for her 20th birthday. Tiffany's designs have been featured in Urban Ink magazine and have captured the attention of tattoo lovers of all types, including some well-known celebrities.
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 (25 seasons for MTV). Bunim/Murray 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 current programming includes The Bad Girls Club, Love Games and Best Ink (Oxygen), Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kourtney & Kim Take New York and Khloe & Lamar (E!), The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (MTV) and Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime). Bunim/Murray Productions has launched additional entities including M Theory Entertainment, BMP Films and M Music. BMP Films produced Pedro (MTV) and the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical (HBO). Based in Van Nuys, CA, Bunim/Murray Productions was founded in 1987 by Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim. The company joined Banijay Group in 2010.
About Oxygen Media
Oxygen Media is a multiplatform lifestyle 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 Glee Project," "Bad Girls Club," "Hair Battle Spectacular," and "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood," the growing cable network is the premiere 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 www.OxygenLive.com, the real-time social viewing party that is also available as an app for the iPhone and iPad. Oxygen is available in 77 million homes, and can be found online and on mobile devices at www.oxygen.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/OxygenPR. Oxygen Media is a service of NBCUniversal.