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People are like, ‘Oh, you’re an author now,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’ve written some books, but I can’t flatter myself by saying that.’” If her tattooing, show, book and make-up collection for Sephora weren’t enough, the Queen of multi-tasking recently opened an art gallery next door to High Voltage Tattoo.
“I’m excited about creating a place that will bring artistic influence into the city,” she says of her Wonderland Gallery.
“I got hanging around this one guy who was tattooing out of his house and he was like, ‘You draw really good, you should tattoo me.’ I had no idea it could even be a career, I just wanted to do it because of the art and there you go.
The first second I started tattooing I knew that I was in love with this and I was like, ‘I need to do this.
Aside from the layout and printing the damn thing, I did everything in that book.” Her deep emotional connection to the project may stem from the fact that journaling has played an important role in Von D’s life.
“I struggle with depression, I’m pretty open about that and so my friend gave me a suggestion to maybe start writing about everything after I’m done with a tattoo, so that I could just filter it out and let it go.
I think this is a male-dominated world to begin with, so I think every woman can relate to it for the most part - I never had any really bad problems, just a few remarks and things that I had to deal with, but I don’t know, maybe I really never paid attention to the knuckleheads.” No matter the challenges, Von D never ceased pursuing her passion and in 2007, when she was just 25-years-old, she opened up her own tattoo shop.
Before Kat Von D became the master of black and grey portraiture that she is today, Katherine von Drachenberg was a tattoo-enamoured teenager with no-one to apprentice under, but convinced that she had found her calling.
“I think I have a hard time with too many chiefs in the teepee, if you know what I mean.
I like my privacy and I like the intimacy that happens when you’re tattooing someone one on one.
I’ve had to learn to really let go of a lot of that stuff.” Filming a single season of LA Ink takes several months and is a five-day a week commitment.
Asked if she ever wishes she could just tell the cameras to leave, Von D laughs, “Every day,” and justifies herself by admitting it affects her work.