The Learning Channel's reality show L.A. Ink is a phenomenon. It's come on the scene and pummeled the ratings of every tattoo television show that came before, and its star, Kat Von D, is the hottest thing in heels right now. Known for her lifelike black-and-gray portraits for more than ten years, the 25-year-old vixen has put her time in. Sadly, a lot of jealous folk in the tattoo world have a problem with the fact that she and the other artists in her shop—Corey Miller, Hannah Aitchison, and Kim Saigh—are glamorizing tattooing (yet they have no problem reaping the windfall their industry is feeling as a result of the show's success). I recently had a chance to talk with Kat and her crew, which also includes Pixie Acia, manager of High Voltage, the shop where L.A. Ink is filmed. We touched upon everything from Kat's sexual fantasies to Pixie's days on the boy's high school wrestling team. Enjoy.
Chris Nieratko: I only have one or two fluff questions, and the rest will be fun. How did you get into tattooing? Kat Von D: I started tattooing when I was 14 and I've been drawing all my life. I was hanging out with a bunch of punk rock kids from around town, and one of the guys had a homemade setup, and he would tattoo all of us. One day he said I should tattoo him. I did a Misfits tattoo on him and I loved it and was hooked. I dropped out of school and started tattooing all my underage friends. There was never a shortage of kids who wanted to get tattooed and didn't care that I sucked. By the time I was 16 I got to my first professional tattoo shop where I had to unlearn most of the things I had been doing for two years.
Do you think during those first two years you gave anyone hepatitis? No. Most 14-year-olds don't have hepatitis. I looked it up. It's hard to start an epidemic when no one has had sex yet, let alone started using intravenous drugs.
I heard you were in a race to get your boyfriend Orbi's name tattooed on you. No, I wasn't. But everything escalated fast with Orbi. It's all or nothing. I'm not gong to pussyfoot around the fact that I'm in love and I get tattooed all the time, so it only makes sense that I would get his name after a short period of time. I have almost 10 Orbi-related tattoos now. I got the letter ‘A' on my hand for his first name, Alex. I got ‘Orbi' right under my boobs. I got ‘Bricks of Brooklyn' on my stomach, which he actually tattooed. It's because we were driving through Brooklyn once and he said to me, ‘I love you more than all the bricks in Brooklyn.' I looked around and there were like a million bricks everywhere. It was the most awesome thing ever, so I told him I loved him more than all the lifted trucks in Orange County. You have to be from here to get that, but that's a lot of trucks.
Kat Von D : http://www.katvond.net/
High Voltage Tattoo : http://www.highvoltagetattoo.com/
The Learning Channel : http://www.tlc.com/
Six Feet Under : http://www.sixfeetunder.com/
Hanna Haitchison : http://www.hannahaitchison.com/
Pixie on MySpace : http://www.myspace.com/cupcakeandpix