‘Ink Master’ exclusive: Dave Kruseman on winning, plans for Dodge Challenger and American traditional tattoos

Dave Kruseman produced one of the coolest master canvas tattoos we’ve ever seen in the finale of “Ink Master”. It was solid, strong, and the placement of it was perfection (we especially loved that he included the canvas’ glutes). This tattoo is going to go the distance and 40 years from now it’s still going to look as good as it does now – just fantastic work.

With Kruseman winning the show, we suspect that he’s doing a whirlwind of press and parties as everyone wants to be part of the Kruseman celebration, but we had a chance to chat with him about his time on the show and what his plans are for that Dodge Challenger he won! Check out what he had to say below.


CarterMatt.com: Congratulations on winning “Ink Master”! How did it feel to hear your name announced as the winner?

Dave Kruseman: It was the best words I heard all season! I was overwhelmed with pride on so many levels. I was the first artist to win with a true traditional tattoo! So, proud of traditional tattooing and myself and just thankful the judges, my family, friends and fans believed in me!

That American Traditional master canvas tattoo you did was no joke – incredibly strong and beautiful: Take us through the process of designing that piece.

I definitely knew immediately I was going to go all out on a true American traditional back piece. I wanted to stick with some of the classics which is why I chose the eagle and the ship! I really wanted to take this traditional tattoo to the next level, so I decided to adorn it with a beautiful elaborate frame. I wanted it to be fancier then your average traditional tattoo. The seahorse idea came to me while I was at an amusement park with my kids, there was an old beautiful carousel that had a fancy seahorse and I thought, man- that would be super cool incorporated into my piece! I knew it was my final chance to showcase this style. I wanted to go above and beyond. To hear the words “bullet proof”, “solid from top to bottom” I was stoked! I respected those judges, and I was stoked to make them proud!

We loved your redo tattoo of the stained glass carousel horse, but we were surprised that the judges didn’t ask you to redo a portrait: Why do you think you weren’t given a portrait to redo?

I was surprised by that decision too, but even though I fell short on my portrait tattoo I met the challenge. I’m sure they had me redo the stain glass window one because I did not meet the challenge, and they wanted me to redeem myself on that aspect.

You and Duffy really supported each other during this competition: What was it like for you facing off against her in the bottom during portrait week?

To be honest with you at that point in the game both of us had sat down and discussed that we missed our families so much and we were so proud of each other at this point in the game we didn’t care which one of us went home. Once I found out they were keeping me and sending Duffy home, I felt like I owed it to her and my family  to do my very best and make it to the end!

Throughout the competition Chris was a strong force in the household with his alliance: What was it like competing in that kind of environment?

It was tough, I never could understand why it just wasn’t about doing great tattoos. He always had a strategy and it clearly worked for him. So I can’t knock that. Chris and Matt O’Baugh are solid tattooers and I was proud to stand on stage with both of them!

You won a pretty amazing car, we personally love the Dodge Challenger: Where is the first place you are planning on driving it?

Haha, my kids can’t wait to take that thing on a ride for sure! So I’ll probably be driving them to get ice cream. It’s a battle right now amongst the kids on who should get the car. They both want it when they turn 16, but we all know my wife is going to get that thing!

With you winning “Ink Master” we know that you are going to be booked for the next 5 years, but if someone wanted to get tattooed by you, that’s the best way for a client to do so?

I do tattoo full time at our shop, the best way to reach me is emailing the shop at [email protected]. I have a great front desk staff that helps manage the schedule and will make sure to get back to everyone asap!


Congratulations to Kruseman on a well deserved win! It was a long road this season, but he produced an amazing back piece that was such a strong, solid piece that will look amazing on this guy for years to come. A special thanks to Kruseman for taking the time to chat with us even though we know he’s probably been non-stop celebrating with his family and friends since Tuesday night like the boss that he is. If you’re not already following Kruseman on Twitter you can follow him at @davekruseman.

Were you happy to see Kruseman take home the title on “Ink Master” season 6? Leave us a comment below and tell us why you liked Kruseman’s finale tattoo the best.

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