About The Show
With ever-increasing popularity among celebrities and athletes, tattoos have become part of the fabric of social norms and popular culture. But there are striking differences between cute little flowers and cookie-cutter Celtic bands compared to the more intricate, stylized and meaningful artwork that is also done in the tattoo industry. The MIAMI INK series brings four old friends together to run a tattoo parlor and showcase their artwork, allowing viewers to see that difference firsthand.
TLC takes viewers inside the colorful, painful, intriguing world of tattoo artistry in MIAMI INK. In the series, these friends and competitive rivals - a motley crew of cutting-edge, humorous and well-regarded young guys and best friends - run a custom tattoo parlor where they live, work and play together. The resident artists - Ami James, Chris Nunez, Chris Garver and Darren Brass - all have world-class talent and dynamic personalities - living and working together to promote the art of tattoo. (Kat Von D appeared as a full time artist for two seasons on the show until she left to create her own show, L.A. Ink.) MIAMI INK shows them in and out of their workspace and follows their late-night shenanigans, brotherly hazing and camaraderie. Apprentice-turned-full-time tattoo artist Yoji Harada is there to soak up all of the artists' knowledge and experience while embarking upon his own experience as a newfound tattoo artist.
In addition to spotlighting the artists at work, each tattoo in MIAMI INK has a story to tell, a reason for being and a special relationship to its owner. The artists' clients range from 18-year-old newbies and suburban housewives to famous actors and buttoned-up professionals. The tale of each tattoo recipient and corresponding tattoo is emotionally engaging, with many people getting tattoos to signify some pivotal moment or event in their lives. Viewers gain insight into each MIAMI INK customer, their choice of artwork and the impetus behind it. MIAMI INK began filming its fourth season in April 2008.
Miami Ink artist Yoji
Yojiro "Yoji" Harada
Yoji began as Miami Ink’s apprentice, and although his apprenticeship hasn’t ended yet, he now tattoos full time to perfect his skills and hold his own as an established artist. Born in 1973and a native of Tokyo, Yoji is covered in tattoos (some of which were done by the Miami Ink crew). The tattooist gave himself his first tattoo, the name of his girlfriend at the time, when he was 19 years old.
In Tokyo, having full-sleeve tats is a sign of the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) and, as a result, when Yoji goes home he is feared and respected. But in Miami he is still the lowest guy on the totem pole. Though the guys have given him grief for over a year, they love and protect him like a brother.
Miami Ink artist Darren Brass
Within five minutes of meeting Darren, it’s clear that he is a teddy bear of a tattooist. His sweet demeanor and disarming smile can make the most nervous first-time clients feel relaxed in his chair, but because he’s so nice, Darren is the butt of many jokes, one-liners and overall hazing by his fellow tattooist Ami James.
Born in 1972, Darren is originally from Waterbury, Connecticut and received his first tattoo the week after his 18th birthday. He is Irish, Polish and, being a diabetic, must constantly monitor his health. Along with the other guys, Darren definitely knows how to party like a rock star. His 5-foot and 4-inch frame is covered in artwork.
Miami Ink artist Ami James
Ami has a sharp tongue and a hot temper. Born in Israel in 1972, Ami has been in Miami since the age of 12. Some of his family still lives in Israel, so he rarely sees them — his friends have become his family. Ami feels that many of today’s artists have no respect for the time-honored traditions of tattooing.
Ami got his first professional tattoo, a dragon, when he was 15 years old. Eighteen years later, he still has a passion for ink and his body is a canvas of tattoos. Ami began tattooing at 20 years old, starting off working out of his house and soon became an apprentice, learning the art of his trade. In his off time he loves cars, paints and trains in free-style fighting.
Miami Ink artist Chris Garver
Chris is the big brother of the Miami Ink crew, the oldest and the first to become a tattoo master. Born in 1970, Chris grew up in Pittsburgh and received his first tattoo when he was 6 years old and was accidentally stabbed in the finger with a pencil. At 15, he received his first professional tattoo. Chris got his start in tattooing when he sold his bass guitar two years later to buy tattoo equipment.
Chris is widely considered to be among the best tattoo artists in the world. With a celebrity-studded roster of private clients (and a long wait list), he has set the bar for the rest of the guys. They all respect and revere him. Chris handles his status with humility, but has little patience for sloppy work. He is at once stoic and soulful.
When not tattooing, he might be found playing bass guitar, traveling the world, listening to live bands or building tattoo machines. He received his favorite tattoo three years ago from a monk in Thailand; it is a Buddhist passage that can only be read by monks and is meant "to protect.”
Miami Ink artist Chris Nunez
Chris, born in 1972, is of Cuban descent and grew up in Miami. He entered into the realm of tattooing after beginning his career as a graffiti artist. When he was 21 years old, Chris packed his bags for a short trip to Brazil and ended up staying for five years. He then traveled throughout Europe for three years, which allowed him to work with all of his favorite tattoo artists. The experience expanded both his artistic sense and his knowledge of tattooing. He got his first artwork, a hand-poked tattoo of a cross, when he was 16 years old. Besides tattooing, Chris likes to have a good time and enjoys being the life of the party.
MIAMI INK is produced by Original Media for TLC. Charlie Corwin is the executive producer for Original Media, and Matt Gould is the executive producer for TLC.
TLC is dedicated to high-quality, intelligent and relatable nonfiction entertainment: authentic personal stories that inspire, engage, inform and unite our audience in the spirit of life's possibilities. TLC intimately connects more than 94 million homes in North America to the human experience through its "Life Unscripted" approach to storytelling. Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Military Channel, Discovery en EspaÃ±ol and FitTV. The unit also distributes BBC AMERICA in the Unites States.
Viewers can go online to www.tlc.com, where they will find further video biographies on the resident artists, online galleries of the guys' artwork, listings of some of the famous celebrities and athletes they have worked on, background on tattoos and much more.