My Interview with Kat Von D of Miami Ink

Also check out Miami Ink and Inked: Worth Watching?

Perhaps it is beginners luck, or the constant pursuit of a dream, but luck was by my side when I recently e-mailed Kat Von D from the hit TLC TV show, “Miami Ink“. The show, based in Miami, features the highly skilled tattoo artists that work in the shop. The ink seems so flow so gracefully from the tattoo needles, and Kat’s work is indeed something to take into much awe. The passions that Kat puts into her tattoos are clearly evident. Kat has pursued her dreams, and so, I wanted to pursue mine.

There are a lot of things that I love about Kat. I, as well as many other people, appreciate the fact that she has used her God given talents towards helping others express themselves. The tattoos that she has created are indeed masterpieces time and again, as she gives her all into each and every one. She is best known for the tattoos that look as though a portrait of an individual was copied unto the skin. Her tattoos can create such memorable moments for clients, that when they leave, the pictures are so akin to their loved ones that they often break down in tears. The passion is evident when she tattoos, as she has a keen sense of tapping into what the clients are looking for in the tattoo.

Kat Von D, otherwise known as Katherine Von Drachenberg, was born in Mexico. Having lived in Mexico until she was four, her family moved to America. Due to this, Kat is fluent in Spanish, as it was the first language that she was taught. Although her last name is German (her father is of German decent), both of her parents are Argentinean. Kat has two siblings; a brother and a sister. Her sister’s portrait is tattooed to her left arm, which only adds confirmation that Kat has a deep affection towards family values.

Kat is indeed a well known and loved artist, as she is booked months in advance for tattoo sessions. Although “Miami Ink” is located and filmed in Miami, she does not live there. Instead, Kat lives in Hollywood, with her husband Oliver, and their two dogs, Hollywood ( Holly ) and Lebowski ( Lebo). While in Hollywood, Kat works at True Tattoo (www.truetattoo.net). About once a month, Kat and Oliver travel to Dallas, Texas, where they have another home.

The work does not end when Kat is in Dallas, though. Instead, she still cranks away at the tattoos while working at Elm St. Tattoo (www.elmstreettattoo.com). Aside from the classical music that she plays on her pianos (she loves Beethoven), Kat is a huge fan of Motley Crue ( hence the star tats around her eye , which derived from the song ” Starry Eyes”).

There was so much more that I wanted to get to know about Kat. I have such a sincere interest in her work, and wanted to get to know her more as an individual. I decided to take the step to e-mail her and ask her for an interview. Pursuing my dreams has always been important to me, and to have an interview with Kat would be a dream well fulfilled. To receive such a fast response from Kat was so cool of her, and only proved how much love she has for her work, as well as how genuine of a woman she really is.

My first question for Kat was what inspired her to use her talent in art towards tattooing. Kat responded, “Growing up with a punk rock background and being an artist all my life, tattooing was something that naturally came to me I guess. Tattooing just kinda landed in my lap and I gravitated towards it”. With all of hundreds, if not thousands of tats that she has created, I could not help but wonder if there was a tattoo that always sticks out in her mind- one that truly moved her.

“People always ask me this question and I always have a hard time answering it because I guess every tattoo is super special to me”, she replied. “I put 110% into every tattoo I do, so it is really hard to choose just one”. The passion that Kat and Oliver has is clearly evident. Kat told me that she “met Oliver through some mutual friends in the tattoo industry on one of his trips out here to Los Angeles…and it was love at first sight!”

Being as Kat gives such motivation to other individuals thru her tattoos, I asked Kat who (or what) motivated her. “Lots of things motivate me: my coworkers (Chris Garver) motivate me to work harder and always strive to be a better artist. My dad motivates me to be an honest and loyal person. And loud techno music motivates me to run f,m aster on the treadmill!”, Kat replied. Kat started to tattoo at a very young age (14). Her first tattoo was of a Misfits skull.

Since she started tattooing at such a young age, I asked if she has ever found that it has been difficult for her to make a name for herself in such a male-dominated society. Kat’s answer was an excellent one! Kat said, “Making a name in a male dominated industry isn’t the first thing on my list of priorities…I think that we live in a male dominated world, and it should be important to just be the best you can be regardless of gender”.

Kat is not all about tattooing. There are hobbies that she enjoys other than music, movies, tats and skateboarding. “Lately I’ve been obsessed with the gym. I have learned to love working out and learn how to use every machine in the gym. Sounds dorky, but it’s true!” Being the hard and dedicated worker that Kat is, I wanted to know how and where she went to unwind. ” I can pretty much unwind anywhere as long as I have my ipod”, Kat replied, “music is the total unwinder for me!”

Just as many people have pet peeves, Kat has a few of her own too. “I have LOTS of pet peeves”, she says. “Some major ones are crying babies on airplanes, obnoxious rap music, people who wear earpieces to talk on the phone but refuse to take them off when they’re not on the phone, namedroppers, and haters”. Kat has a ton of beautiful tats on her body. When asked if she created any of the tats that are on her, she mentioned that “I have tattooed myself, yes, but only when I was really young. I don’t tattoo myself anymore…I’m running out of room and it just hurts way too much to try and focus and concentrate on tattooing when you’re feeling pain”.

People come and go in our lives, and Kat is for certain a beautiful and talented artist that will be remembered by many. I asked Kat how she wished to be remembered. “I guess it would be nice to be remembered as a good friend to everyone and a dedicated artist to tattooing”, she replied. “I definitely want to be remembered as a person who believes in family…and it would also be nice to be remembered as a party animal”! Kat Von D loves to add friends to her myspace account, located at http://www.myspace.com/katvond. Kat also has her own website, where her current schedule is also posted. There are various Kat Von D shirts that can be purchased at www.katvond.net as well. She can also be seen on “Miami Ink”, which airs on TLC, Tuesday nights at 10 PM EST.

Thank you, Kat, for being the wonderful woman that you are. You have proven that with hard work and dedication, dreams really can come true! Rock on!

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