Kat Von D
Kat Von D
I guess it makes sense to start with the basics. Born on March 8th, 1982, in the town of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, she moved to the States when she was four, settling in Colton, Ca. Her father René Drachenberg and her mother Sylvia Galeano were both born in Argentina, though René’s family origins were German and Sylvia’s Spanish-Italian. Kat’s paternal grandmother played a significant role in shaping her artistic development, particularly in playing piano and exposing her to the great composers, which, as anyone who knows her can attest to, led to her love for the works of Beethoven . Kat maintains a strong relationship with her parents and her siblings, a brother Michael and a sister Karoline, and finding the time to spend with her family is a priority.. Growing up in the Inland Empire, a collision of influences led Kat into our world much earlier than most, her first tattoo came at age 14, an old english “J” on her ankle, a memento of a love gone-by.
Shortly thereafter, realizing her natural art ability, in early 1996 her friends asked her to pick up the machine and get to work on them (her first effort was a Misfits skull with a homemade rig), the tattooing wasn’t easy but she knew it felt right and she knew she wanted to pursue it. In 1998, she began working in her first professional shop, Sin City Tattoo, a local place in her neighborhood. A year and a half later, she moved on to Blue Bird Tattoo in Pasadena for a year then on to Red Hot Tattoo in Arcadia. A little under two years later she started working with the talented bunch at Inflictions, a shop out in Covina, Ca..
This was a great period of growth in her work and led to her eventually moving down to True Tattoo, a chance to work with Clay Decker and Chris Garver. Any tattooist worth their salt can see what an honor and an opportunity this was, and any one who had known Kat over the course of her career to that point knew that not only did she deserve the chance but was sincere and talented enough to add to the already high standards of that shop. In addition, it afforded her the opportunity to live and work in Hollywood, the heart of the city that she loves, Los Angeles. With this group together and the quality of the visiting artists and the additions to the line-up over the years, True Tattoo has become one of the shops that any real enthusiast (whether artist or client) must visit, a place where something great is always happening.
So much for the basics of her biography, let’s move on to the what I think really matters, who I feel she is as a person and who she is as my friend. From the moment we met, I knew she was a bright, talented girl with a true affinity for tattooing and our six years of friendship have offered me a view of her life that not only confirmed my initial impressions but exceeded my expectations. As many of you who have tried to arrange an appointment with her know, she’s booked completely with a long waiting list, but what most people aren’t aware of is that long before she appeared on television, she was one of the busiest artist’s in Los Angeles.
Her work spoke for itself and each piece she finished brought in fresh interest, this in addition to her comfortable bedside manor had her working at a pace that few equaled. To this day, I’m regularly astonished at her work ethic and enthusiasm for every piece she does, and her endurance, I say with lack of any exaggeration, is extraordinary. She is generous to a fault, incredibly loyal to her family, friends, and those in our business who treat her fairly; and despite all the bullshit that is part and parcel of this industry and the demands she is under, she is generally in a good mood and always finds the time to be there for you if you need her.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 January 2017
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