The Untold Truth Of Ink Master Judge Oliver Peck

Tattoo artist Oliver Peck is well known as one of the judges on "Ink Master," a reality show competition where artists go through different challenges until one artist remains and brings home a $100,000 prize and the coveted title of Ink Master. Peck was always interested in drawing as a child. He started tattooing at 17 years old and used a friend's basement as a makeshift studio. However, he fell into the wrong crowd and began using drugs. In an Ink Master interview, Peck revealed that he went to jail, and it was after getting out that he realized he wanted a serious career as a tattoo artist.

Although Peck was good at drawing, he had no formal training as a tattoo artist. He started hanging out at Pair-O-Dice Tattoo Shop in Dallas, Texas and was eventually offered a job and training opportunity. Peck learned under the tutelage of the shop's owner, Richard Stell, and he started professionally tattooing at 19 years old. Eventually, Peck, together with his friends, opened his own tattoo parlor called Elm Street Tattoo in 1996. He was one of the judges on "Ink Master," which debuted its first season in 2012, until he left the show after 13 seasons in 2020.

Oliver Peck was married to Kat Von D

"Ink Master" wasn't Oliver Peck's first appearance on TV. In fact, he was featured in a few episodes of another reality TV show that involved tattoos. From 2003 to 2007, Peck was married to tattoo artist Kat Von D, who was one of the featured artists on "LA Ink." She also appeared in two seasons of "Miami Ink," and Peck appeared in a few episodes, even having his then-wife give him a tattoo.

However, the union didn't last. Peck and Von D divorced in 2007, and Peck revealed the reason for their split in an interview with In Touch. "She's done nothing but screw over every friend she's had. She cheated on me, got messed up and left me," Peck said. He also claimed that Von D took drugs to shed weight and was always getting drunk. "It got to the point where she was drinking until she was throwing up every day. She'd be incoherent and sometimes destructive," Peck revealed. He also described Von D as being the "most self-centered" person he had been with. The last straw was when he learned that Von D was having an affair with automotive mechanic Jesse James of West Coast Choppers. Peck is currently in a relationship with Audra Cabral, who he has been with for more than 10 years.

He left 'Ink Master' over a blackface controversy

In January 2020, Oliver Peck released a statement regarding his departure from "Ink Master" after 13 seasons. "The producers and I have decided it's best to part ways. The offensive photos of me which recently surfaced from many years ago can only be a distraction to the amazing show I have loved being a part of and its many talented artists," the statement read (via USA Today). The photos in question were released by TMZ and showed Peck wearing blackface as a Halloween costume. It wasn't revealed when the photos were taken, but they were found on his MySpace profile.

The backlash was quick on Twitter, and users called for Peck's removal from "Ink Master." The tattoo artist immediately posted an apology on his Instagram account and said that he was "clueless, insensitive, and dumb." "I can only hope that those of you I don't know, and anyone I have offended, can also find it in your hearts to accept my sincere apology," he wrote.

Oliver Peck and his toothpick addiction

Fans of Oliver Peck know that he's rarely seen without a toothpick in his mouth. As he said in an interview with Ink Master, he doesn't do it to have a signature style. Rather, it started out as a solution to his addiction to chewing gum. He chewed gum so much that it gave him teeth and jaw problems, so he decided to give chewing toothpicks a try. Now, it seems that his addiction to chewing gum has been cured, but it has been replaced with a toothpick. He's so much into toothpicks that he even sleeps with one in his mouth, which worries his girlfriend.

Peck even shared the time when he took scuba diving lessons, and the instructor told him to remove the toothpick from his mouth before wearing a mask, but he refused. The instructor told him that he can't scuba dive with a toothpick, to which Peck replied, "Trust me." One of the rare occasions he removes the toothpick from his mouth is when he makes out with his girlfriend, he revealed.

He was once a Guinness World Record title holder

In December 2007, Kat Von D set the Guinness World Record for doing the most tattoos within 24 hours. She reached her goal of 400, and the design was a Los Angeles logo. It wasn't even a year, however, when her ex-husband beat her record. Oliver Peck's Elm Street Tattoo holds a festival every Friday the 13th. In one of those festivals — June 13, 2008 — Peck decided to have a 24-hour tattoo marathon to beat Von D's record, which he did. The guidelines state that the tattoo must be at least 1.25 inches by 3 inches and have at least two colors. Per NBC News, Peck broke the record with a total of 415 tattoos of the number 13.

His reign didn't last long, however, as in October of that year, a tattoo artist from Texas broke the record with 726 tattoos. A month after, another artist broke the record with 801 tattoos. In 2009, the record was at 875, as reported by NBC Los Angeles. It's unclear whether that record still stands.

Oliver Peck owns a vegan coffee shop and restaurant

Aside from owning a tattoo shop, Oliver Peck also has another business venture. In 2018, he opened Tiki Loco in the neighborhood of Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas. It's a vegan restaurant and coffee shop that provides Mexican and Hawaiian dishes. The idea came about when Peck realized that there weren't many healthy food options in the neighborhood. He and his girlfriend, Audra Cabral, live a vegan lifestyle, and he saw the lack of options as an opportunity to start the business, as reported by the Dallas Observer.

Cabral was the brains behind the recipes that Tiki Loco offers. "Audra is the creator of anything that we serve here: juices, smoothies, tacos, nachos, pastries ... She came up with all the recipes from scratch," general manager Monse Cerros said. Apart from that, they also offer Hawaiian shave ice, which Peck is a huge fan of. Tiki Loco is also partners with White Rock Coffee, a local Dallas coffee roaster.

He collects motorcycles

Oliver Peck has always had a fascination with motorcycles. As a child, he would imagine that his bicycle was a motorcycle, and now he has a vast collection of motorcycles that number "a few dozen." In a video for J&P Cycles, Peck said that now that he has several motorcycles, he could never imagine having just one. The tattoo artist doesn't only collect them, he makes it a point to ride them on open roads every so often, and he also enjoys tinkering with them. He revealed that over the last couple of decades, he spent most of his money on motorcycles. He goes to swap meets in different locations to look for motorcycles and spare parts as well.

In 2017, Peck was able to marry two of his interests — motorcycles and tattooing — in a Harley-Davidson and Sailor Jerry collaboration. He hand-painted designs that resembled tattoos on Harley motorcycles.

He has been sober since 21 years old

In a 2018 interview, Oliver Peck talked about how his sobriety doesn't stop him from partying. The tattoo artist revealed that he has been sober since 1991 when he was 21 years old. Before that, however, he said that he lived a party lifestyle filled with alcohol and drugs, which got him in trouble with the law. The tattoo artist had a short stint in jail, and that was what made him decide to live a sober life. Peck said it was "the perfect amount of jail" that gave him just enough time to realize that he needed to live on the straight and narrow to be able to fulfill his dreams.

Despite his sobriety, Peck is still the life of the party. Initially, he stayed away from his friends who consumed alcohol, but he quickly discovered other ways to have fun without drugs and drinking. He goes to parties and drinks root beer, lemonade, or coffee and is able to spend his time with other people who drink without being tempted. "The trick is learning how to act stupid on purpose," he said.