Kathrine von Drachenberg, better known as Kat von D, is possibly the most popular and versatile tattoo artist in contemporary American culture. Although Mexican-born, Kat von D has taken the world by storm by making herself well known in much more than just tattooing. She is known to be involved with a wide array of organizations and she has won acclaim for setting records in the Guiness Book Of Records. This lady is no average tattoo artist but a rising icon in the industry, as well as many other avenues.Not only is Kat a major tattoo artist but she is also a model, actress, television personality and musician. On top of that, the great Kat is also the creator of many different clothing and make-up lines.
She was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico but moved to the United States at the age of 4 where she grew up in Colton, California. Growing up she was interested in many types of art. Kat’s grandmother, Clara Von Drachenberg, trained her in playing classical piano as a child, as she was always a very big fan of Beethoven in particular. Von D credits her grandmother for the passion she has for music and art now. She started listening to bands like The Ramones and Misfits at the age of 12, got her first tattoo at the young age of 14 and dropped out of school by the age of 16 to get into the tattooing industry.
She got her first big break when she was asked to tattoo at 305 Ink in Miami when Darren Brass from Miami Ink broke his elbow. It was then that she started her career as a television personality, appearing on two seasons of the TLC channel’s reality show, Miami Ink. She was a resident tattoo artist at 305 Ink until her falling out with Ami James and a few other artists where after she was asked to leave the studio as well as the show. She subsequently started her own show on the same network, LA Ink.
LA Ink revolved around her day-to-day life at her shop, High Voltage Tattoo, relating to her clients and their stories about the tattoos they are getting done by her. On her show Kat managed to get into the Guinness Book Of World Records for most tattoos done by one person in 24 hours, slamming a total of 400 tattoos! Later on, her ex-husband, Oliver Peck, beat her record with a total of 415 tattoos.
Her show, LA Ink, ran for a total of 4 seasons before TLC announced the cancellation of the show on August 18, 2011. Kat maintained on her Twitter page that it was her choice not to continue with LA Ink.
Her first book, High Voltage Tattoo, was released in January 2009. This publication was a big compilation of of her art works, normal art and tattoos alike, with the foreword by Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. After it was released it reached number 6 on the New York Times Best Seller list for that year. She describes her book to be a picture driven outline of her career as an artist and not an autobiography, as she believes she is still too young to have one. It contains all her works, from drawings she did as a child, starting at the age of 6, right through to her tattoos and designs that have never been seen before. Her second
book, The Tattoo Chronicles, is an illustrated diary following a year in her life and was released on October 26, 2010. The Tattoo Chronicles reached number 3 on the New York Times “Hardcover advice and Misc” best seller list.
Making sure that she is not only known for her art and tattooing skills, Kat launched a make-up line for Sephora in 2008. Since then she has released new collections every year and has expanded her line to include various fragrances as well. Shortly after, in 2012, through Sephora, her New American Beauty Art Tour benefitted the Art of Elysium charity organization. She is also the creator of MusInk Tattoo Convention and Music Festival that had its inception in 2008. It is an all ages music and arts festival located in South Carolina. On September 2, 2010, she opened an art gallery and boutique called “Wonderland” next door to High Voltage Tattoos. Von D also launched the clothing lines KVD Los Angeles and Kat Von D Los Angeles in the US and Canada in the fall of 2011 with the latter expanding
internationally in the following year.
Kat Von D constantly involves herself in every kind of relative industry that she possibly can, making sure her name appears liberally in all things pertaining to tattooing, clothing and even to art galleries and charity organizations across the board. With her track record, it is not hard to see that such talent in so many different avenues deems her the celebrity status that she had already achieved thus far.