The tough guy. Ami has a sharp tongue and a hot temper. Born in Israel, Ami, 33 and single, 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. He feels that many of today’s artists have no respect for the time-honored traditions of tattoo.
Ami got his first professional tattoo at age 15 – a dragon. Eighteen years later, he still has a passion for ink; his body is a canvas of tattoos. Ami began tattooing at 20 years old. He started by working out of his house and soon became an apprentice, learning the art of his trade.
Ami loves cars, painting and free-style fighting.
The intellectual. At 35, Chris is the big brother of the crew. He is the oldest and the first to become a tattoo master. Chris grew up in Pittsburgh and received his first tattoo at 6 years old – when he 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 at 17 to buy tattoo equipment.
Chris is widely considered to be among the best tattoo artists in the world. With a celebrity-studded list of private clients (and a 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 or listening to live bands. He received his favorite tattoo three years ago from a monk when he was in Thailand; it is a Buddhist passage that can only be read by monks. Its meaning is "to protect." He is also now building tattoo machines.
The ladies' man. Chris, 33, is of Cuban descent and grew up in Miami. He entered into the realm of tattooing after beginning his career as a graffiti artist.
At 21, 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 enabled him to work with all of his favorite tattoo artists. The experience expanded both his artistic sense and his knowledge of tattooing.
Chris' father died when he was young. He got his first tattoo, a hand-poked tattoo of a cross, at age 16. Besides tattooing, he likes to have a good time and enjoys being the life of the party.
The lovable one. Within five minutes of meeting Darren, it becomes clear that he is a teddy bear of a guy. His sweet demeanor and disarming smile can make the most nervous first-time clients feel relaxed in his chair. Because he is so nice, he is the butt of many jokes, one-liners and overall hazing by Ami.
Darren is originally from Waterbury, Conn. He is half Irish, half Polish and a diabetic. Darren must constantly monitor his health and lives every day to its fullest. Along with the other guys, he definitely knows how to party like a rock star. His 5-foot,4-inch frame is covered in tattoos.
Darren is 34 and married with one "child" – his small dog. He received his first tattoo the week after his 18th birthday.
Yojiro "Yoji" Harada
The rookie. Yoji began as the shop’s apprentice — a role that is a combination of pledge in the roughest fraternity and the opening and closing crew. Though his apprenticeship is not over, he is now tattooing full time and mastering his skills so that he can hold his own as an artist.
A native of Tokyo, Yoji is covered in ink (some of which was done by the Miami Ink crew). Though the guys have given him grief for over a year, they love and protect him like a brother.
Yoji is 33 and lives with his young wife and infant daughter, Sydney. He lived in Japan until he was 24. At age 19, he performed his first tattoo. He tattooed his Japanese girlfriend’s name on himself. He is also the lead singer of a punk rock band.