kat von D tattoos | la ink tattoos
Last week I picked up Kat Von D's first book entitled High Voltage Tattoo, I was pretty excited to flip through it because I've been wanting her to release a compilation of her tattoo work for a long time. I think the skills she has in terms of rendering realistic imagery onto the skin are just mind blowing.
I first became familiar with her work on the TLC show Miami Ink, on that show she was the only female crew member of an all male tattoo shop, although the men on the show had some great skills of their own hers really stood out to me. Before I saw her work I didn't give much thought to the artistry that really goes into tattooing, I didn't know much about it or had any respect for it, but seeing the things she was able to accomplish with a needle, ink and skin, were really amazing to me. It made me look at tattooing on a whole other level and her attention to detail, the intricacy and Baroque inspired artistry that she puts in her work are really inspiring to me.
Memorial tattoo by Kat Von D
Kat Von D now has her own show on TLC, called L.A Ink, for her shop she focused on hiring a mostly female and very talented main crew. The contents of the book range from the biographical to her portfolio of work. I wasn't that interested in the bio stuff as much, but I loved the portfolio section more than anything.
I can't really put into words how beautifully designed this book is, its something that you have to see for yourself. Conceptually its very Gothic and has many little intricate details that totally reflect the artistic and personal style and lifestyle of Ms. Von D herself. It makes for a great coffee table book and an awesome reference piece if you're an illustrator interested in tattoo work, or just someone who is a fan of hers and her work.
She specializes in Black & Grey work, which she thinks allows for more realism. My favorite thing about her work are all the little details she adds like the filigree and her use of shading to add volume and dimension. When I first started illustrating my work was very minimal but that was more because I was lazy and not a chosen aesthetic. Her work inspires me to take more time and really add those details that will make my work look like a completed piece instead of something half way done. You can always tell when you work needs that extra something to make it pop.
I love the fact that drawings she did as a kid are included in the book. I still keep a lot of my early drawings from when I was around 5 or 6, and some of the sketches I did in school while bored lol. Its great to look back on that stuff and see how much you've grown as an artist over the span of your life.
I highly recommend checking out the book if you're a fan of hers or you want to see some great examples of tattoo work if you're interested in getting one done yourself. The book has advice on how to go about selecting your tattoo, finding an artist, what you need to communicate to your artist, what the process will entail and what to do to take care of your tattoos. She also has a section where she busts some tattoo myths. There's a 3 page layout chronicling all the individual tattoos on her body, and at the end of the book the work from some favorite fellow tattoo artists is featured.
Its a great book, filled with rock n roll and some of the best tattoos in the world!
Kat Von D will be doing a book signing at Borders Bookstore on Broad Street in Philadelphia on March 7th! So look out for her in a bookstore near you.