TLC sets up a tattoo shop in South Beach to take viewers inside the colorful, painful, intriguing world of tattoo artistry in Miami Ink. In the series, four friends and competitive rivals - a motley crew of cutting-edge, humorous and well-regarded young guys and best friends - open and run a custom tattoo parlor, where they live, work and play together.
The resident artists Ami James, Chris Nuñez, Chris Garver and Darren Brass live and work together to promote the art of tattooing while running a new business. Miami Ink shows the friends - all with world-class talent and dynamic personalities in and out of their workspace from noon 'til night, following their late-night shenanigans, brotherly hazing and camaraderie. Apprentice Yoji Harada is there to soak up all of the artists' knowledge and experience and to meet their every need, desire and whim so he can one day begin his own tattooing in earnest.
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 customer and his or her tattoo tattoo recipient and corresponding tattoo is an emotionally engaging one; in the first episode viewers see a tattoo in the memory of a deceased brother, a tattoo of the alter ego of a drag queen and a tattoo of a notable surfer's homeland, to name just a few. Many people get tattoos to signify some pivotal moment or event in their lives. Viewers gain insight into each Miami Ink customer and the impetus behind his or her choice of artwork.