Ink Master exclusive with Black Cobra Tattoos: Matt O’Baugh on popular vote, finale, and team work

Ink Master season 9

Matt O’Baugh and Katie McGowan from Black Cobra Tattoos have held a special place in our hearts ever since the first time we saw them on Ink Master, so to see them not only make it to the finale on Ink Master season 9, but also get the popular vote was amazing and we were cheering them on.

Although Black Cobra Tattoos may not have won the Ink Master title, this is a shop that has had their artists in the Ink Master finale not once but twice! We saw Matt place third in season 6 and now place second in season 9 along side Katie – this is not an easy feat. Needless to say, we were beyond thrilled to get to talk to one of our all time favorite Ink Master artists in Matt O’Baugh as he took us on a tour of what this season was like for him, how it felt to get the popular vote and how his working relationship with Katie helped them get to the finale.

CarterMatt: How did it feel to be voted into the final two by the public?

Matt O’Baugh: It was an amazing feeling! We really wanted Katie to do the live tattoo, I knew she would absolutely kill it, and of course she did! We were so happy that America agreed!

When you saw Old Town’s back pieces on the show, what did you feel your chances of winning were?

I thought they did really great tattoos individually, but part of the challenge as it was presented to us, was making them look like they were done by one artist. Katie and I went the extra mile to design both tattoos together and make them look like one person did both pieces. I thought that would give us a definite edge against the other teams.

Do you wish you had gotten to compete in more of this season to show off more of what you can do?

Absolutely! I was a little jealous of some of the flash challenges and tattoos that we had missed out on. Coming in at the midway point gave us the advantage of walking into a competition where everyone was already homesick, and many were burned out already from being there so long. The disadvantage was that there were already alliances formed, and we didn’t know each competitor’s history so far in the competition, so it took a few days to figure everything out.

How big of an asset was your history working together, and both being a part of the show before?

We have worked side by side at Black Cobra for 5 years now. We also had the unique advantage of having been through the competition together on season 6. Even though we were expected to compete against each other on 6, we were completely cooperative. We were able to carry that into this season, where we were actually encouraged to work cooperatively as a team, and I think that was a big advantage for us!

Both of you placed higher this season than your first time on the show, so do you view this season as successful even though you didn’t win the grand prize?

Definitely, we are both super proud of how we placed! It would’ve been great to win, but we both know that we put 100% effort into everything we did, and that’s all you can do! We absolutely loved the backpieces that we did together, and the judges were very complementary of the quality of both pieces. Being able to showcase our abilities on national television is a huge prize on its own!

What are the chances that either one of you wants to take this on for a third time?

I can’t speak for Katie, but for me this was definitely the last season that I will be involved in. That’s not to say I wouldn’t pop back in for one of the side projects or specials if it was the right kind of deal. Doing a full season keeps me away from all of the things that are most important to me for two months at a time. It’s really hard to put my family and my business on hold for that amount of time.

If someone wants to get a tattoo by you what’s the best way to get in contact?

You can check out both of our portfolios, as well as the other amazing tattooers that work along side us, at There are contact links there to get you in touch with any of us! We love hearing from our fans, and are always happy to answer questions!


We want to extend a very special thanks to Matt for talking with us about his time on the show. Matt and Katie were an easy team to root for and not only because they created some of our favorite tattoos, but they are just so relatable and likeable.

Were you disappointed that Black Cobra Tattoos didn’t take home the Ink Master season 9 win? Leave us a comment in the box below. If you want more scoop on Ink Master or the upcoming Ink Master: Angels series, just head over to the link here where we have reviews, previews, and interviews with the artists and Angels. Also, be sure to join our CarterMatt Facebook page (at the link here) if you want to keep up to date on all things Ink Master. (Photo: Spike)

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