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Kat Von D | Taking Tattooing to a Whole New Level

Updated on August 8, 2014

Season 2 and 3 LA Ink

Kat Von D's Ride to Fame

Kat Von D has in a relatively short time rode to fame on the back of the tattooing industry, becoming well known first in Miami Ink as one of the featured tattoo artists over a two-year period.

What's funny about doing some research on Kat are the funny ways people spell her name, which was Katherine von Drachenberg at birth, and has obviously been shortened to Kat and D.

But with Von D's persona, even that last name could have been fit into a horror type of movie. It almost has the idea of Dracula connected to it when you first say it.

Anyway, some of the interesting ways people have spelled Kat's name have been cat von d, cat von dee, kat von dee, and katvond, among others.

The funniest one to me was cat von dee, where not only the first letter was wrong, but the "dee" that was added as well.

Fun Facts About Kat Von D

Early Life

What's fascinating about Von D is her upbringing, which is so different from who she is today.

Amazingly, she was born of missionary parents from Argentina, but was born in Monterey, Mexico, before the family moved to Southern California.

Kat Von D Girl Next Door?

Kat Von D Showing Off Tattoos
Kat Von D Showing Off Tattoos

Personal Tastes

 A unique aspect of Kat Von D is her diverse tastes. For example, she was trained classically on the piano at an early age, and still enjoys classical music to this day.

While enjoying composers like Chopin and Beethoven, she's also into some of the more radical music like black metal, death metal and power metal.

When talking about her love of movies, she says that more than any other genre she likes comedies, especially romantic comedies. Anything with actress Anna Farris and actor Will Ferrell in she really likes.

Some of her favorite movies are Immortal Beloved, The English Patient and Spinal Tap. Other goofy movies she likes are Super Troopers, Bring It On and Zoolander.

It's funny. After hearing her selection of heavy metal music, you start to think you're going to hear her favorite movies as Saw, and a bunch of other horror types.

Kat Von D is definitely like an onion with a lot of unique layers.

Her Big Break on Miami Ink

The first big break Kat Von D had was of course being one of the featured artists on Miami Ink. Her passion and skill, along with her dark beauty, made her a fascinating and interesting figure which the public connected to.

LA Ink

After the two tumultuous seasons connected to LA Ink, TLC contacted Von D to be the major part of a new show named LA Ink.

She jumped at the chance to be on the show, as she said the idea of an average or mediocre female becoming the face of female tattooing was close to "blasphemy" to her.

Saying she wanted to show that tattooing was a positive and good thing, she would work hard at making that a reality.

Kat says she never had the idea of being in the spotlight or being motivated primarily by money. It's the love of tattooing pure and simple that drives her. I believe she really means it.

What Inspires Kat Von D

Again, drawing on a unique and contradictory childhood, Kat Von D says the motivation behind what she does is 'love.' Other things that inspire her within the parameters of love are her family, Los Angeles, music and her heritage.

She adds that all this is the foundation for how she lives, tattoos, communicates, dresses, draws, shops and paints.

Kat says drawing has always been a part of her life as far back as she can remember, and much of her early work was compiled and saved by her mother.

Amazingly, she did her first tattoo at 14-years-old, and by the age of 16 was hired professionally by a tattoo shop. Although she is quick to add that she had to drop a lot of things she had learned on her own in regard to tattooing.

Who Inspires Kat Von D

In an interview, Kat Von D was asked if there were any specific artists that inspired her. In the usual complexity of her life, she includes traditional masters like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, while including contemporary artists like Shawn Barber and Michael Hussar.

Also a major part of her inspiration is Kore Flatmo, who has been a great friend of Von D, and of who she said she would "sell my soul to have one tenth of the talent in his pinky finger." Flatmo is a talented tattoo artist.

Kat Von D Looking Good Showing Some Skin and Ink!

Gorgeous Photo of Kat Von D
Gorgeous Photo of Kat Von D

Extraordinary Kat Von D

Kat Von D in Gothic, Western Look
Kat Von D in Gothic, Western Look

New Opportunities and Ventures

With her popularity and star growing, Kat Von D has branched out into new ventures as well, as she now owns her own make-up line called Sephora.

Typical of the contradictory Von D, I checked out the website thinking I'm going to find something goth-like or that would cater to the heavy metal crowd, and there I found a make-up website that looks like any regular website you would find.

I think this is one of the secrets behind Von D, in that she can be that rebel-like woman who you find interesting, but at the same time seem like the girl next door.

It appears to be that's why she's so popular, as she can straddle the line between renegade and mainstream without going too far over into either one. That means her audience and fan base is probably larger because of that, along with her popularity.

What I think of with Von D is something similar to Harley Davidson, which also has that unique persona, but in reality sells more bikes to people that fantasize about the biker lifestyle, rather than truly live it.

It's the fun of pretend, and I think that's what Kat Von D sells to many women in mainstream America, and why she's so popular.

Musink Festival Back Tattoo

The Musink Festival

Again, the fun of Kat Von D is just when you think she's mainstream, you check into the Musink festival she personally launched, which in the first year drew over 15,000 people and 200 tattoo artists.

The 2nd annual festival was held in February 2009, and was also very successful.

But again, this is the other side of Kat Von D, as the somewhat risque photos and celebrations were completely different than what she does with part of her other interests the general public sees.

It seems she is able to market herself to both crowds without offending the other. With the more weird stuff as measured by mainstream standards, it seems she is able to market it without them knowing about it or understanding what's under the hood.

Celebrity Clients

A Who's Who list of celebrities and musicians have been and are clients of Kat Von D, and the more well known she has become the more flock to her convenient location in LA to be inked by her and her staff.

A small sampling of those tattooed by Von D include Guns N Roses, Eve and Mira Sorvino, Steve-O, Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, Bam Margera, Kerry King, Ryan Dunn and Rivaldo, among numerous others.

Kat Von D's Book

Book: High Voltage Tattoo

Early in 2009, Kat Von D released her first book named "High Voltage Tattoo," published by Harper Collins.

The book is a personal and intimate look at the history of Von D and the process through which she developed her interest and love of art and tattooing.

She talks a lot about the TV show what her inspirations are, and the LA Ink shop. Not only that, she delves deeply into the art of tattooing itself, giving many examples of the tattoo culture and the processes of the discipline of the art.

The Making of High Voltage Tattoo

Personal Life

Kat has been married once to another tattooer named Oliver Peck in 2003. They divorced in 2007, and since that time Kat has been connected to a number rock music artists, including Alex "Orbi" Orbison. She actually named an eyeshadow in her True Romance Eyeshadow Palette after him.

That relationship is over now, and she confirmed recently that she's currently dating Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.

We will of course see the names change as the years go on, as it seems this is a challenging area for Von D to be successful in, as it is with many celebrities.

What is Kat Von D thinking?

Kat Von D Looking Coy
Kat Von D Looking Coy

The Future of Kat Von D

As with much of Kat Von D, it's really difficult to ascertain the truth about who she really is. She's a living contradiction; at least that's the impression she outwardly gives you.

She definitely has a love and passion for what she does, and you can feel that when she expresses herself about it.

With the rising popularity of tattoos and the ability to bridge the gap between subculture and mainstream, she potentially stands at the pinnacle of an extraordinary business empire if she chooses to continue going that route.

The question which must be answered, and can only be answered by Kat Von D, is whether she burns herself out on a personal lifestyle that could damage her future.

Again, it's hard to separate truth from fiction, and that part of Kat Von D is what makes her so fascinating to study. Personally I would be surprised if she really is a trainwreck, and more than likely a lot of the lifestyle is created by marketers and handlers to make her extremely interesting. They're doing a good job in that regard.

I think Kat Von D has an extraordinary future ahead of her, and it's only limited by how far she personally wants to take it.

Kat Von D Thinks the Future Looks Good


Kat Von D is no doubt now the face of the tattoo world to the mainstream market.

While tattooing is and will be popular with or without her, she is a key part of being a bridge between the subculture that makes up the tattoo world, and those who enjoy hanging out on the fringe of the lifestyle.


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I personally find Kat Von D to be narssasictic and immature. This is especally noticable in the Miami Ink episode when she more or less chucks a tantrum because the guys didn't go out with her every night to party. She started her makeup line without fully thinking what would happen to the shop and the people working there, she then complained about being away from the shop. Shortly after that she wrote a book and went on tour again neglecting her business and her staff. The worst thing is after all her fame and the money she has made she still has astranomical prices at her tattoo shop which prevents your regular customer from being able to get a tattoo in her shop.

      I get the impression that she's only interested in fame and money rather than really using her skill to help regular people get beautiful tattoos.

    • profile image

      Monterrey she was born in Monterrey NL Mexico pls spell it rt people 

      5 years ago

      Miguel Stevens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Kat Von D is an amazing tatoo artist. She is a powerful beautiful women! weather you have tatoos or not you have to reespect her lov for life and her postive attuide! i think she sorta over did i with her tattoos but if she is happy so am i she has a great body and amazing personality!

    • profile image


      7 years ago



    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very important

      The unique name of God

      I am an inventor

      For years I tried to research about the power of gravity

      After 10 years of research I could invent a device thatis unique in the world

      It produces a lot of Electricity so that cities can be freefrom the power supply

      It can be substituted for large ships, engines and power plants, etc. ...... And to generate free electricity

      This device will save the planet from pollution

      Now I need to invest for the registration and operation of this invention

      I invite investors to participate in this project

      I call it persian language

      My email is

      Phone 0098 9355900437

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very important

      The unique name of God

      I am an inventor

      For years I tried to research about the power of gravity

      After 10 years of research I could invent a device thatis unique in the world

      It produces a lot of Electricity so that cities can be freefrom the power supply

      It can be substituted for large ships, engines and power plants, etc. ...... And to generate free electricity

      This device will save the planet from pollution

      Now I need to invest for the registration and operation of this invention

      I invite investors to participate in this project

      I call it persian language

      My email is

      Phone 0098 9355900437

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      For all of you who talk shit, eat your words and shut it. Your opinions mean nothing and all this christian talk about what bible she reads and whatnot,...honestly who gives a flying fuck. How did this even turn into christianity or any type of religious talk? Nobody cares. Leave Kat be, she seems like a free spirited individual who probably wouldn't give 2 shits about negative opinions, its ok she would probably thrive on your negativity and use it and turn it into a positive thing, but really you have your beliefs and your opinions and so does she. And honestly if you dont or didn't like kat why bother looking or reading stuff on her or even bother to finish reading the article about her if all you're gonna do is talk shit on her? Lol I think its funny how people can talk smack so freely and think its ok to do so, put up an article about yourself and see how interesting you are to people, im sure they'll talk more shit on you then someone who is famous. Stop hating and go back to your boring lives or do something productive and make your life a little more interesting and stop hating on those who have a life and make it worth while.

    • profile image

      JFC Carbomb 

      7 years ago

      How the hell did all these comments turn towards Christianity? My question is why would anyone want to claim to be a christian? Have you read your holy book? Its full of racism genocide, hate, jealousy, rape, slavery, not anything I would want to associate my self with.

    • profile image

      Kat T. 

      7 years ago

      To Tania - who are you to judge? The final judgment is God and God alone. If you call yourself a Christian and you stand in judgment, you are a complete hypocrite. Do unto others - Kat probably leads a stronger Christian life than you do - I can tell just by your comments what kind of Christian you are!

    • profile image

      jerry h 

      7 years ago

      she's a pig oing out with jj the loser?? she;ll have to tattoo a tail to put between her legs after he gets caught( again!!!!) doing the mambo with his nazi girlfriend....

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful woman with incredible talent. Well written, diverse article which I don't believe is a platform for arguing the pros and cons or supposed wrong and rights of tattooing. (Christians amuse me when they start bashing each other over who is "more Christian". Sort of makes you lose sight of the whole point, huh?) Anyways, if you don't appreciate the beauty of something, perhaps it's Sunday School 101 ....."If you can't say something nice" .... turn your head, don't look and shut the fuck up.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      enough with the religious bull. who cares what her religion is. the article is not called taking her religion to a whole new world.

      yeah she tattooed her whole body, and people may not like it but too bad. she is beautiful and is comfortable with herself enough to where she can do what she wants with herself.

      tania, you are stuck up and extremely one sided. there is no such thing as a perfect christian. and for you to say all that shit you did say makes you one of the rudest christians i have come across. people like you shouldn't even go on the internet because you will be disappointed time after time. so dont get on Kat's case because you dissagree with what she does in life. do something else with your pathetic time.

      anyway, Kat's tattoos are amazing. i just wish i could pull off that look. its beautiful. not to mehtion she has i perfect body. im pretty jealous.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      She's definitely not a Christian and if she is what bible does she read. I highly doubt a Christian would do a photo shoot with someone holding your boobs. Come on what was the point of Jesus dieng if people are gonna do what they want anyways. Read your bibles people. It's wanna be Christians that give the Christians who try and who sacarafice a bad name. Her parents must be ashamed especially if they were missionaries. So called Christians stop trying to fit it and make a stand for the one who paid a price for your soul so you can make heaven your home.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      She has too much ink and not very classy ones either, but it is an interesting read and she has an interesting personality it would seem. The stars around one eye are really cute though. Probably not so much when she's 60, but they are beautiful right now.

      I wanted to say as well, I am also Christian and I don't really care, nor get offended, at brotheryochanan's comment because it is just one persons opinion and being Christian does not really factor in... May as well say a black man likes basketball. What is the difference that he is black any more than the difference that he is Christian? Doesn't factor in since all kinds of people feel the same way.

      I like tattoo's, classy tattoo's that are not overdone or gross imaging or some other blatant attempt to be offensive. Tattooing has a very long history with a lot of cultural and social background. I may not ever get a tattoo myself but I should still be aloud to appreciate them or scorn them no matter what religion I am. I personally appreciate the best of them (and yeah, I feel a little sick at the sight of some of them too. Anyone would at some that are out there!).

      Still one must be impressed that this woman has done so well. She must be quite good at what she does and really enjoy making such personal, long lasting art. Having a piece on someones skin that they will wear for life is so very cool.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      brotheryochanan: judge not lest ye be judged....your way too outspoken about this stuff...i am a christian and you are the kind of person that gives us a bad name...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Kat Von D doesn't own Sephora, she just did a collection for them with tattoo-themed packaging.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      ewwww. Looks like she has a plague or something hideous. I'd rather see a burn victim. Most of the tattoos are just miscellaneous drawings not even nicely fitted together. It looks like a childs wall drawing gone into the next room lol. What's the point? It's amazing what you heathens will applaud and be all excited over lol.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      9 years ago from Holly, MI

      LOVE her! Fabulously written hub and great photos! Rated up!

    • Connie Ho profile image

      Connie Ho 

      9 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      A good hub on Kat Von D. You presented it nicely by showing her different sides. I like reading it.


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